Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Douglass Adair Symposia Collection SC2010.04 SC2010.04
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (60.07 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Contents
  • Scope and Content
  • Douglass Adair Symposium History
  • Douglass Adair Biographical Note

  • Title: Douglass Adair Symposia Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: SC2010.04
    Contributing Institution: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 2.5 Linear feet
    Date (inclusive): 1982, 1984-1987
    Collection Description: The Douglass Adair Symposia Collection was donated by John Allphin Moore, Jr., Professor Emeritus of History at Cal Poly Pomona and Director of the Douglas Adair Symposia. The collection contains all the programs for the symposia, news items, minutes of planning meetings, correspondence with a wide and interesting variety of individuals, photographs, copies of the two published anthologies, business cards and two awards.
    Location: Room 4434, Shelf E-2


    Box 1 Proclamation of the City Council of the city of Pomona to Douglass Adair, 1986. Award from Charles W. Bader, State Assembly Member, 1986
    Box 2 John A. Moore’s business cards for the Douglass Adair Symposia Book: A Grand Experiment: The Constitution at 200. Book: Three Beginnings: Revolution, Rights and the Liberal State Folder: Memorandums and Letters Folder: Press clippings Folder: 1987 Teleconference Notes Folder: Symposia Photographs Folder: Douglass Adair Symposia flyers and programs

    Scope and Content

    The Collection includes two awards. The first was presented to Cal Poly from the City of Pomona, California. The Second was presented to the Douglass Adair Symposia by the Honorable Charles W. Bader of the Sixty-Fifth Assembly District. The collection also includes two books. They are:
    Moore, J. & Murphy, J. (Eds.). (1984). A Grand Experiment: The Constitution at 200. Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources Inc..
    Englehart, S. & Moore, J. (Eds.). (1994). Three Beginnings: Revolution, Rights and the Liberal State: Comparative Perspectives on the English, American, and French Revolutions. New York, New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc..
    Also within the collection is a box of John A. Moore’s business cards for the Douglass Adair Symposia, memorandums and letters detailing the planning of the symposia, press clippings, teleconference notes from 1987, photographs from the events, and flyers and programs from the events.

    Douglass Adair Symposium History

    The Virginia and Douglass Adair Symposia began in 1982 with long-term plans to commemorate the Bicentennial of the American Constitution, which took place nationwide in 1987. Initially the name of the Symposia was linked only to Douglass Adair. In 2001, in acknowledgment of the help Mrs. Adair had given to the Symposia over the years, as well as in recognition of her stature as a major American poet, the title was extended to The Virginia and Douglass Adair Symposia. Virginia Adair had a long career as a professor of English at Cal Poly Pomona and, after her retirement, realized national prominence as an accomplished poet; she published three collections of well-received poetry, was featured in distinguished journals (such as The New Yorker), and was interviewed on national television.
    The Adair Symposia has concentrated on commemorating special historical birthdays. The initial, and most ambitious, project organized seven major symposia during the winter and spring of 1986. These symposia brought to Cal Poly Pomona and to the Claremont Colleges major historians, political scientists, lawyers, judges, activists, and essayists from across the nation. Each presenter and each commentator spent two days in the Pomona Valley, presenting lectures and commentaries at meetings held on this campus or in Claremont, engaging with interested larger audiences, meeting with civic groups and students, and, finally, participating in television interviews that were conducted by Dr. John Allphin Moore, which were taped and used later for a statewide cable broadcast to teachers across California. In addition, a course through Cal Poly Pomona’s Continuing Education was offered for regional high school teachers, which was keyed to each of the seven symposia. In the following year (1987) Dr. Moore assisted in publishing, on the exact 200th birthday of the Constitution, an anthology with all of the presentations and commentaries. In the fall, he moderated two statewide cable television broadcasts to California teachers- one edited from the 14 interviews conducted in the old TV studios in Building 5 and another interviewing Tim Hallinan and Mary Ellen House. Hallinan was from Tel Ed, which had produced a curriculum guide for the nation’s high school teachers to help teach the Constitution during the celebratory period (Moore was a consultant and writer for Tel Ed), and Ms. House directed the Los Angeles Times “Constitution in Our Times” project (in 1987 Dr. Moore served as Chair of the Advisory Board).
    Also in 1987, Dr. Moore traveled to Paris to attend an historic conference on the U.S. Constitution (the program is in the collection), where he reported about the Adair Symposia activities and recruited three speakers for the next Adair Symposium, held in 1989.
    From 1982 until into 19895 Dr. Moore helped put together a Planning Committee and a distinguished Advisory Board that energetically sought substantial funding, and dealt with myriad logistical details. The Exxon Education Foundation provided $25,000, which became the core fund for the project. Other funding was provided by the California Council for the Humanities and various units at the University. (The Planning Committee, Advisory Board, and funding agencies are all shown in the program for the Symposia included in this collection). Dr. Moore traveled on several occasions to the East Coast and once overseas to meet with potential participants, to try to raise money, and make connection with Project ’87, the main body coordinating the nation’s bicentennial activities, which was located in Washington, D.C. Richard Morris and James McGregor Burns (former presidents, respectively, of the American Historical Association and the American Political Science Association) were co-chairs of the Project ’87,and were also presenters at the symposia.
    These activities received welcome kudos with two awards: a Resolution of Commendation from the California Assembly in 1986, and an Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Bicentennial Celebration of the Constitution, from the Council for the Advancement of Citizenship and the Center for Civic Education in 1988.
    Other symposia followed the original series. None was quite as complex and demanding, but two- the 1989 conference “Three Beginnings” and the 2008 conference on Herbert Croly- were challenging. These, along with the first series of symposia, resulted in published anthologies: A Grand Experiment: The Constitution at 200 (Scholarly Resources, 1987) call number KF4541.A2.D68, Three Beginnings: Revolution, Rights and the Liberal State (Peter Lang, 1994) call number JC491.T493, and Herbert Croly’s The Promise of American Life at Its Centenary (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009) call number JA84.U5.M66.
    Other than helping to sponsor two modest meetings on campus- poetry readings by Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Dunn and another by Virginia Adair- the Symposia’s major undertakings, in chronological order were the following:
    Winter and Spring, 1986, Seven Symposia featuring nationally prominent guests discussing the U.S. Constitution.
    January 1989, “Revolution, Order, and the Liberal State,” a symposium on the tricentennial of the English Glorious Revolution, the bicentennial of the French Revolution, and the bicentennial of the beginnings of the American government under its new Constitution.
    March 1990, “Revolution, Reform , or Crisis? Perspectives on East and Central Europe.”
    October 1991, “Positive Rights and Natural Rights,” commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights.
    December 7, 1991, “A Democracy Goes to War,” on the 50th Anniversary of America’s Entrance into World War II
    January 1992, “Coming Apart and Coming Together; Constituting New States for A New Century”
    February 4, 1995, “Yalta at 50”
    September 1996, “F. Scott Fitzgerald at 100”
    January 2008, “Herbert Croly’s The Promise of American Life at 100”

    Douglass Adair Biographical Note

    Douglass Greybill Adair was born in New York City in 1912. Adair grew up in Birmingham and Mobile, Alabama. He attended the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee and majored in English. He subsequently received his M.A. at Harvard and his Ph.D. at Yale. After teaching at Princeton he joined the faculty at the College of William and Mary in 1946 and became editor of the William and Mary Quarterly. From 1955 until his death in 1968, he was a professor of history at the Claremont Graduate School. Adair is the author of seminal essays on the late eighteenth century, many of which have been collected in Fame and Founding Fathers, an exposition of the years of America’s founding. Adair is also recognized as having definitively identified the authors of each of the anonymously written Federalist papers. The Symposia is named for the late Douglass Adair and the topics addressed are in the spirit of Professor Adair’s inquiries and studies. The widespread dissemination of these symposia and related discussions correspond to his commitment to broaden and deepen the discourse about our country, its origins, and its prospect. He married Virginia Hamilton Adair in 1936. Douglass Adair committed suicide in 1968.
    Moore, J, & Murphy, J. (Eds.). (1984). A Grand Experiment: The Constitution at 200. Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources, Inc.
    Douglass Adair Symposia. (1986). The Douglass Adair Symposia: A Celebration of the Bicentennial of the Constitution.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
    United States. Constitution