John A. Adams NAFTA Collection

Identity elements

Reference code


Name and location of repository

Level of description



John A. Adams NAFTA Collection


  • 1982-1999 (Creation)


19 boxes (19 linear feet)

Name of creator


Biographical history

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This collection contains materials collected and assembled by John A. Adams, Jr. as an active United States participant in the negotiations and agreement to permit free trade among the United States, Canada, and Mexico in what became the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1987. As a trained historian, Adams recognized the importance of documenting as much of the process as a single active participant could. In that process, he accumulated a wide variety of materials that include clippings, magazine articles, books, reports, correspondence, notes, newswire reports, pamphlets, leaflets, conference papers and programs, and other types of documents that shed light on the process of negotiating an international treaty.

After the treaty was formally approved by all parties involved, Adams boxed all of the documents he had collected, produced a report in which he briefly described the contents of each of the twenty-one boxes, and then gave them to the Political Sciences and Economics Library (PSEL) of the Texas A&M University Libraries where they were then house in three filing cabinets. A copy of Adams' report has been cataloged with a call number of HF 17456. A33.

During the 2005-2006 academic year, the materials were removed from the filing cabinets in PSEL and placed into 19 cubic foot archival boxes by Archivist Charles R. Schultz, who at the time also created a report of his own which included an inventory description of the contents used in the creation of this collection record. After the materials were rehoused and inventoried, they were deposited into the Cushing Memorial Library & Archives where all of the archives and special collections materials are housed.

The materials have been kept in the original folders in which Mr. Adams had them when he presented them to Texas A&M University. Some of the materials were not in folders when they were rehoused from the filing cabinets into boxes at PSEL and are still not in folders. In those cases where materials were not in boxes, that information is included in the descriptions of the folders in each of the nineteen boxes.

System of arrangement

The following has been copied from Charles Schultz's 2006 report.
"After examining and making notes on contents of each folder in each drawer of each of the three cabinets from which I transferred the materials into new boxes, I have drawn the following preliminary conclusions: The materials seem to have become disorganized overall as well as within individual boxes and folders. The folders generally appear not to have been originally consistently labeled or identified even by dates of the contents. Dates of materials recorded on the outsides of some folders were not always in accord with the dates of materials in the folders. Many folders are not labeled at all. Contents of individual folders are often poorly organized. It is impossible to tell at this point if that is the result of someone having looked at the contents of at least some of the boxes or if it is the result of Adams’ inconsistent filing. There are multiple copies of some items in individual folders. There are also copies of certain items in more than one folder or box. Trying to eliminate this second type of duplication would probably not be appropriate or effective use of processing time. There are many FAX transmissions some of which are from somewhat to almost completely faded.

John Adams did provide a master list of boxes with some description of the contents of the original 21 boxes. Based upon his number of 21 boxes and my number of 19 boxes, I will speculate that at least some of his original boxes might not have been standard cubic foot records center boxes or something similar to them and/or Adams might not have filled all his boxes to capacity. With some effort it may be possible of at least partially reconstructing Adams’ box contents by comparing his descriptions of his 21 boxes that seem to have been arranged chronologically with my descriptions of the 19 new boxes in which I put the materials after taking them from three filing cabinets. This would be time consuming. This assumes that there was some logic to Adams’ initial organization."

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Physical access

These materials are stored offsite and require additional time for retrieval.

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Languages of the material

  • English
  • Spanish

Scripts of the material

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

John A. Adams, Jr.


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Related descriptions

Notes element

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)

Description control element

Rules or conventions

Sources used

Archivist's note

Finding Aid created by Charles R. Schultz, in February 2006.

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