Over 160 Years of Success

The closed-end equity funds that compose Adams Funds – Adams Diversified Equity Fund, previously known as The Adams Express Company, and Adams Natural Resources Fund, previously known as Petroleum & Resources Corporation – are two of the nation’s oldest and most respected closed-end funds.

Operating under the Adams Express® name, Adams Diversified Equity Fund has thrived for more than 160 years, its first 75 years as one of the nation's leading independent express companies, and in subsequent years as one of the largest closed-end investment funds. The Adams Express® story parallels much of America's business history, from the early days of transportation and manufacturing through expansion across our continent and the oceans.

Adams Natural Resources Fund’s history dates back to 1929 when it was incorporated as a closed-end fund under the name Petroleum Corporation of America. The Fund’s name was changed to Petroleum & Resources Corporation in 1977 and it was renamed Adams Natural Resources Fund, Inc. in March 2015. The Fund is the oldest closed-end fund specializing in energy company stocks.

History Timeline


Petroleum & Resources Corporation changed its name to Adams Natural Resources Fund. The Adams Express Company changed its name to Adams Diversified Equity Fund. Both closed-end funds became part of a newly formed Adams Funds platform and continue to be managed by an experienced team of portfolio managers and analysts.


The Adams Express Company celebrated its 150th year anniversary. A ringing of the bell ceremony at the NYSE occurred July 1, 2004. Petroleum & Resources celebrated its 75th anniversary.


The Adams Express Company paid its 50th consecutive annual dividend.


Petroleum & Resources Corporation paid its 50th consecutive annual dividend.


Eighty-six principal U.S. railroads formed a new monopoly company, Railway Express Agency, by purchasing shares of AREC held by Adams Express, American Express and Wells Fargo. With the cash from AREC, Adams Express had amassed a significant investment portfolio and emerged as a closed-end investment company by the end of 1929. Total Assets at the end of 1929 were $72 million. Also in 1929, Petroleum & Resources Corporation (initially named Petroleum Corporation of America) began as a closed-end investment company listed on the NYSE, and is a non-controlled affiliate of Adams Funds today.


Government control over the American Railway Express Company expired in 1920. American Railway Express Co. continued operating railroad and express companies.


As World War I raged, in response to the need to move massive amounts of troops and materials around the country, the government briefly nationalized railroads and express service with the formation of American Railway Express Company (AREC). Adams Express, like its two other peers, American Express and Wells Fargo, received stock for their operations and became investment funds.


Alvin Adams died at age 73. Adams Express was worth $27 million at that time.


Civil War begins. Adams Express delivered the messages, documents and securities that underpinned economic and social movements of the 19th century, including the westward migration, the California Gold Rush and the Civil War.


The Adams Express Company was formally incorporated on July 1. Adams Express was a combination of Adams & Company plus eight other express companies. The initial public offering was July 1, 1854. The Adams Express company was valued at $1 million.


United States government prohibited express companies from delivering letters for a fee. Only the U.S. post office was authorized to carry letters after 1845.


Alvin Adams, an enterprising business man starts a new company with little more than “two men, a boy and a wheelbarrow”. The primary business was the carrying of small parcels, bank drafts and other valuables between Boston, Worcester, Norwich, New London and New York City utilizing steamboats and railroads. The business routes expanded rapidly and at the start of the gold rush, a new trans-continental business venture was started.