"SHSI Certificate of Recognition"
"Best on the Web"

Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

ADAMS, Waldo

From Encyclopedia Dubuque
Jump to navigationJump to search

ADAMS, Waldo. (Dubuque, IA, Oct. 31, 1899--Dubuque, IA, Dec. 30, 1986). Adams was a grandchild of Austin ADAMS. Waldo Adams was named after Ralph Waldo Emerson, a literary giant, who was one of many to visit Austin Adams and join in the lively discussion of the Dubuque Round Table Club. (1)

Employed as a junior executive of the ADAMS COMPANY (Encyclopedia Dubuque) in 1921, Adams left eight years later to become an insurance agent. Adams was the local manager of the Dubuque Thrift Plan, Inc. as well as a director beginning in 1931. By 1949 in addition to being a director, he served the company as secretary-manager.

He became president of FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF DUBUQUE in October, 1954 and expected his officers to also serve the community. (2) During his term as president, bank assets grew from $25 million to $44 million, the staff doubled, and the new bank was constructed at 7th and Locust. (3) He retired in 1966 as president of the bank and then assumed the position of chairman of the board. He was succeeded by Charles A. FIRZLAFF.

Adams was active in the Dubuque Chamber of Commerce. In 1928 he was a member of the Chamber's daylight savings time committee which discussed ways of adopting Dubuque business to the change of time in the summer. (4) In 1949 he was a leader of the Dubuque Credit Rating Bureau which was outlining a plan by which delinquent accounts were reported to the bureau on a periodic basis making Dubuque the "prompt pay" city of America. The plan whose organization and management was outlined by Adams, was unanimously accepted. (5) He was the Chamber's chairman of the Industrial Expansion Committee in 1960. (6)

Adams served as a park commissioner beginning in 1935 and was a leader in the Boy Scouts. In 1930 he was among those who signed the articles of incorporation of the Dubuque Community Chest and became a director. (7) He was active in the Community Chest during WORLD WAR II serving on the Special Gifts Committee.

In 1966 Adams was a recipient of the chamber's Distinguished Civic Service Award. (8)



1. Slichter, Harry, "The Adams' Round Table," Telegraph Herald, May 19, 1966, p. 3

2. Leitner, Jim, "Former CEO Always Answered the Phone," Telegraph Herald, September 15, 2008, p. 70

3. "Adams Retires at 1st National," Telegraph-Herald, January 23, 1966, p. 13

4. "Daylight Savings Idea is Discussed," Telegraph-Herald, March 18, 1928, p. 27

5. "Credit Men Discuss '49 Outlook," Telegraph-Herald, February 24, 1949, p. 21

6. "Chamber Lists Committee Chairmen," Telegraph Herald, January 24, 1960, p. 10

7. "Community Chest Articles Filed," Telegraph Herald, January 24, 1930, p. 4

8. "R. T. Walker is Elected Head of C of C., Telegraph-Herald, December 2, 1966, p. 1