Adams, William George Stewart (1874–1966), economist, academic, and public servant, was born 8 November 1874 at Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland, youngest child of John Adams, headmaster of St John's Grammar School, Hamilton, and Margaret, daughter of John Stewart, Glasgow cotton manufacturer. He was educated at Hamilton, Glasgow University, and Balliol College, Oxford, in classics and history. In 1905, having lectured in economics at Chicago and Manchester, he came to Dublin as superintendent of statistics and intelligence in the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, and became a friend of Horace Plunkett (qv). From 1910 to 1949, his career lay chiefly in Oxford, as a gifted lecturer and fellow of All Souls (1910–33; warden, 1933–45; honorary fellow from 1945), but in 1911 he was on the Primrose committee examining financial relations between Britain and Ireland with home rule in view – indeed, till the chief secretary, Augustine Birrell (qv), insisted on the appointment of two Irishmen to the committee, Adams was its only member with Irish experience. He later served also (1916–18) as personal private secretary to Lloyd George; within the cabinet secretariat Adams had chief responsibility for the format and working of the Irish convention of 1917–18. He was later a member of many commissions and similar bodies, with special interest in education, social service, and the life of the countryside. On retirement Adams returned to Ireland (Fahan House, Fahan, Co. Donegal), where he took an active interest in Magee College, Derry, and died 30 January 1966.
He married (1905) Muriel (d. 1956), daughter of William Lane, treasury solicitor, of Stonehurst, Killiney, Co. Dublin; they had one son.