Adams, Evangeline

Adams, Evangeline

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Evangeline Adams, born February 8, 1868, in Jersey City, New Jersey, was the premier American astrologer of the early twentieth century. She was the daughter of George and Harriet E. (Smith) Adams and was related to U.S. presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Raised in Andover, Massachusetts, she was educated there and in Chicago. She became part of the elite metaphysical community in the larger Boston area and was introduced to astrology by Dr. J. Heber Smith, a professor of medicine at Boston University. Adams also studied Hindu philosophy under Swami Vivekenanda. She eventually became so interested in the science of the stars that she chose it as her life’s work.

In 1899, Adams visited New York City and stayed at the fashionable Windsor Hotel. Her first client was Warren F. Leland, owner of the Windsor. After casting his chart, she told him that he was under a planetary combination that threatened immediate disaster. The next afternoon, on March 17, 1899, the hotel burned to the ground. Adams subsequently gained much newspaper coverage, which led to her becoming an astrological superstar, and she gained many rich and powerful clients. She eventually established her studios at Carnegie Hall and was consulted by financier J. P. Morgan, tenor Enrico Caruso, playwright Eugene O’Neill, mythologist Joseph Campbell, and actress Mary Pickford, among many others.

In 1914, Adams was arrested and charged with fortune-telling. She went to court armed with reference books and proceeded to explain the principles of astrology. She concluded her defense by reading a chart of an individual unknown to her. Impressed with the accuracy of her reading, Judge John H. Freschi remarked that “the defendant raises astrology to the dignity of an exact science” (New York Criminal Reports, volume XXXII, 1914 ed.). He found Adams not guilty, and the case set a precedent on how similar cases would be tried in New York City in the future.

Adams continued to practice and promote the science of the stars to the general public. She marketed monthly forecasts featuring her predictions about political and economic events (including a 1931 prediction that the United States would be at war in 1942). During the last decade of her life, she wrote some of the most popular astrology books ever published: The Bowl of Heaven (1926), Astrology: Your Place in the Sun (1928), Astrology: Your Place Among the Stars (1930), and Astrology for Everyone (1931). Much of her published work on astrology was originally done in collaboration with the English magician and occultist Aleister Crowley. On April 23, 1930, Adams began to broadcast on radio three times a week. As a result of this show, she received 150,000 requests for astrological charts over the course of the next three months. As much as a year later, requests and letters were still being received at the rate of 4,000 a day. Adams was a major contributor to the popularization of astrology in the United States. She died on November 10, 1932, in New York City.

—Karen Christino

Sources:

Adams, Evangeline. Astrology for Everyone. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1931.
Adams, Evangeline. Astrology: Your Place Among the Stars. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1930.
Adams, Evangeline. Astrology: Your Place in the Sun. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1927.
Adams, Evangeline. The Bowl of Heaven. New York, Dodd, Mead & Co., 1926. Reprint, New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1970.
Christino, Karen, Foreseeing the Future: Evangeline Adams and Astrology in America. Amherst, MA: One Reed Publications, 2002.