Central States President Mitch Ernst notified us this week that Larry Adams (the curator of the Higgins National Bank note museum in Okoboji, IA) was killed in a car accident Monday morning. He was 75. Very sorry to hear the news. Rick Hickman confirmed his first name and birth year.
Pete Smith kindly located this recent photo of him from the Iowa Great Lakes Rotary club.
Larry Adams, Curator at The Higgins Museum of Money
A nice number of Rotarians attended this week's meeting which was held in Okoboji at the Higgins Museum. Curator Larry Adams, was the speaker. He is originally from Boone but has been a resident here since 2007.
The museum has two Libraries and holds the largest collection of National Bank Notes on display anywhere.
The Des Moines Register published a nice article. Here's an excerpt.
When Larry Adams shared Boone County or presidential history with tourists or Iowa residents, he shared parts of himself, his friends said after the Boone County historian died in a car crash Monday near Granger.
Adams, 75, served as the director of the Mamie Doud Eisenhower Birthplace Museum from 1980 until his retirement in 2006. Adams outlived his father and brother, so he relied on a close group of friends in the central Iowa city of 12,500 residents for support.
Larry Adams demonstrates a vintage telephone in the kitchen of Mamie Doud Eisenhower's birthplace.
His life was this stuff, said his friend of more than 30 years Mel Pins.
Larry was the nicest, most affable person anyone would want to be, but he was also probably one of the more eclectic, eccentric individuals you'd ever meet as well."
Adams grew up in Boone. His father Larry managed a local Fareway store and was on Fareway's board of directors. Adams' brother Jon managed several Fareway stores in the area. Jon Adams died in 2005 at age 55.
He really didn't have a family, Pins said.
His family was the care about the community.
Neil Goeppinger, a Boone farm manager, met Adams drinking beer in the back of Duffy's Appliance Store at 822 Story Street in Boone around 1977. At that time Adams worked as a private investigator. Adams lived in a second-floor apartment of a downtown Boone building owned by his family.
He did not live high, Goeppinger said.
He always dressed with a tie, always walked where he went.
He collected so many documents and books in his apartment that people worried the floor may collapse, Goeppinger said.
When you went up to his apartment you walked in corridors between stacks of periodicals, Goeppinger said.
They were stacked on steps going up to his apartment."
In 1980 Adams became the curator and director at the Mamie Doud Eisenhower Birthplace Museum. The museum houses many artifacts from her life in her childhood home.
Adams struck up friendships with their grandson David Eisenhower and his wife Julie Nixon Eisenhower, daughter of former President Richard Nixon.
He just loved history, Goeppinger said.
He knew everything there was to know about the Eisenhower family.
During summers after his 2006 retirement from the Doud Eisenhower Museum, Adams served as the curator of the Higgins Museum of National Bank Notes in Okoboji. The museum preserves and displays banknotes, which were legal currency printed and issued by banks.
That was Larry Adams, Pins said with a laugh.
He knew a whole lot of stuff about a whole lot of things that were fascinating, but most people probably didn't care."
To read the complete article, see:
Friends remember longtime Mamie Doud Eisenhower Museum director's love of history
Peter Huntoon passed along the above photo of Adams at the Iowa Numismatic Convention, October 12-13, 1973 when he was 26 years old. Benny Bolin penned the below notice for the Society of Paper Money Collectors (SPMC).
We were very saddened as a Society to hear of the recent passing of Larry Adams. Mr. Adams of
Boone, IA was member number 2278, having joined in 1967. He started collecting stamps in
1955 and then coins in 1960 and moved to paper money in the mid-1960s. At the time of his
death, he was the curator of the Higgins Museum in Okoboji, IA and was curator and director of
the Mamie Doud Eisenhower museum in Boone. He served the Society in many different roles.
He was on the Board of Governors from 1976-1984; Vice-President from 1979-1983 and
President from 1983-1987. He also served as awards chair from 1976-1979 and publicity chair
from 1979-1983 and 1987-1988. He published 30+ articles in Paper Money and in 1985 he
recruited 49 new members for which he was awarded the Vice-President's Recruitment Award.
He joined the ANA in 1965 and was a co-founder of the Check Collectors Round Table (now the
American Society of Check Collectors).
Mark Anderson writes:
"Larry was indeed a long term fixture in the US paper money world, and basically lived on premises in Okoboji during the Higgins Museum's annual Memorial Day to Labor Day season. Truly a one man band, opening, closing, caretaking, curating, tourguiding, and handling so much of the day to day activity at Higgins.
"I did not know him well personally. He had already been SPMC President at the time I started to become involved with the Society, so most of my exposure was in his role at the Museum. And that role was perfect for Larry. He enjoyed the museum and the people it attracted. He understood serious, sophisticated collectors and what they were about, particularly those who had made
the great Hejira to National Bank Note Mecca. He also understood first time visitors without any serious grounding in bank history, collecting, or the National Banking Act.
"A very nice guy, eager to accommodate. The Museum will not be the same without him, and he will be much missed. "
To read the Rotary article, see:
August 9, Meeting at HIggins Museum of Money
American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this
updated biography based on these and other sources.
Larry Don Adams (1947-2022)
Larry D. Adams, curator at the Higgins Museum of National Bank Notes, was killed in a car
accident on Monday, October 10, 2022.
Adams was born in Boone, Iowa, on August 31, 1947. He graduated from Boone High School in
1965, and had a two-year A.A. degree from Boone Junior College in 1967. He took additional
courses for professional advancement. Adams worked as a private investigator from 1969 to
2016. He also worked as a forensic document examiner.
He collected checks from Boone, Iowa. was a co-founder of the Check Collectors Round Table
in 1969 and membership secretary in 1972. He was vice president of the Society of Ration Token
collectors in 1979. Another membership was with the American Play Money Society.
Adams was an authority on Boone history and the history of Boone County. He was president of
the Boone County Genealogical Society and a board member of the Boone County Historical
Society. He was editor of Trail Tales for the historical society.
He joined the Society of Paper Money Collectors (SPMC) in 1967, was elected to the board for
1975 to 1978, served as vice president 1979 to 1983 and served as president during 1983 to
1987. He was also membership secretary in 1972, chair of the awards committee in 1976, and
publicity chairman 1979 to 1983.
He was a board member and manager of the Mamie Doud Eisenhower Birthplace in Boone,
Iowa. He was appointed curator in 1980 and served until retirement in 2006.
He began working as curator at the Higgins Museum of National Bank Notes in Okoboji, Iowa,
in May of 2007. The museum was founded in 1978 by William R. Higgins, Jr. The collection
centers around National Bank Notes of Iowa, Minnesota, and Missouri.
Adams was killed in a head-on collision of a Semi-Trailer truck and a passenger car near
Granger, Iowa. He has no surviving siblings or children.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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