The Lillian Adams papers include correspondence, family papers, talks given by Lillian Adams, newsletters, and memorabilia. Personal papers include correspondence, mostly dating after 1960, including letters from daughter Jane and son Jim, as well as letters she or her husband Ed received from politicians they supported, including a sympathy letter to Ed from American Socialist Party leader Norman Thomas, birthday greetings to Ed from Bill and Hillary Clinton, letters from Senator Paul Simon, birthday greetings she received from then Senator Barack Obama in 2007. Two linear feet of material covers Lillian's involvement with the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship, including her editorship of the fellowship newsletter and sermons and talks she gave at the fellowship. Another two linear feet document her civic and political involvement, including letters she wrote to newspaper editors, her membership in the Carbondale and Jackson County Leagues of Women Voters and the Pro-Choice Alliance, her work with the Women's Center of Carbondale and the ACLU, and campaigns she volunteered in, including those of Illinois politicians Carol Mosely-Braun, Dawn Clark Netsch, Barbara Brown and Barack Obama. Memorabilia includes political buttons from these and other campaigns.
There is a scrapbook from a labor protest she participated in Indiana in 1935, and a notebook kept by Ed Adams of a trip to Nicaragua in 1985. There is also a cassette tape recording meetings on this trip with Nicaraguan clergy and officials. Other cassette tapes record correspondence between Lillian, her daughter Jane and granddaughters Arwen and Dawn; a lecture on women at SIU by Elizabeth Eames; and a meeting concerning the Women's Center. There are some photographs from events at the Unitarian Fellowship and official photographs taken with President Bill Clinton and Senator Carol Mosely-Braun on a visit to Southern Illinois.