Alvin Philip Adams (1905-1996)

Alvin P. Adams, of New York; Vice-President of Pan-Am Airways

"A Dreamer, An Executive, an Inveterate Chaser of Good Times": Alvin P. Adams grew up between Grand Junction and Denver, Colorado. He was educated at Exeter College in New Hampshire and went on to Yale but when his father fell from grace and ended up in prison, Alvin resorted to playing cards against wealthier classmates to help pay his way. He started his career in 1926 as The Wall Street Journal's first aviation specialist. Eight years later, he was President of an airline and his career rose in similar style and pace. He was largely responsible for encouraging Pan-Am to build their 58-story headquarters in Manhattan - despite all the sensible reasons for doing this, the real reason was to open the Sky Club where he and his old Yale classmate, Juan Trippe, could hold court at the top of the building. He also founded the Conquistadores del Cielo (Conquerors of the Sky) for the most senior members of the aviation industry, that continue to meet today. Club life for him started with frequenting the "21" club and other New York speak-easies, jazz clubs and strip joints, where he rubbed shoulders with high society and royalty and other rogues. He was, "a banjo-playing amateur boxing champion... the very embodiment of the flapper era: a man so devoted to the pursuit of wine, women and song that when the 1920's ended he refused to let them go". Late night jam sessions often ended up in his Manhattan apartment, "an indispensable feature of jazz age social life, attracting the likes of Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Marian McPartland and Dizzy Gillespie". After his first marriage to the daughter of Nathan L. Miller, he turned Norwich House into into a, "Gatsby-like party pad". The marriage ended in divorce, giving Adams the freedom to chase girls wth Howard Hughes (among other he dated the likes of Grace Kelly and Anne Baxter), play golf with W.C. Fields, and partying with the likes of Cab Calloway and William Randolph Hearst etc.