P. Targett Adams, medical practitioner, was the son of M.A. Adams, a surgeon of Maidstone, Kent, and was educated at Epsom College, some 22 km southwest of London, during 1876-1880. He received his medical training at Guy's Hospital, London, and the Newcastle School of Medicine, qualifying as a licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries of London in 1886, a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) of England in 1887, and was awarded the Diploma in public health of the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons of England in 1892. During the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) he was a Surgeon Major in the South African Medical Corps. On 31 May 1903 he was appointed deputy medical officer of health, as well as analyst and bacteriologist, of the Orange River Colony (now the Free State), serving under Dr G.P. Yule*. He was stationed in Bloemfontein, was registered to practice in the Orange River Colony on 7 August 1903, and still held his posts in 1910. After the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910 he was appointed assistant medical officer of health, a post he held until his retirement in 1923. Thereafter he served as government medical officer of the Bechuanaland Protectorate (now Botswana) from 1924 to 1926.
In 1903 Adams became a member of the Philosophical Society of the Orange River Colony, founded that same year, and served on its management committee from 1904 to 1909. During this time he delivered a paper on "Water, its purification and preservation", which was published in the society's Transactions (Vol. 1, p. 46). He also contributed a paper on "The value of the practice and teaching of hygiene in schools" to the 1909 meeting of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science (Report, pp. 181-186). He was nominated to be a member of the Medical and Pharmacy Council of the Orange Free State province in 1914. Two years later he was co-author of a paper by D.C. Rees on "The transmission of plague by human carriers", which was published in the South African Medical Record (1916, Vol. 14, pp. 315-317). He also published several papers on public health matters in British medical journals.