Richard H. Adams

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Richard H. Adams (b January 9, 1836 in Minden, Germany; d July 13, 1925, in New York City) was an importer and school commissioner and served as President of the Liederkranz for three terms: 1883-84, 1886-87, and 1893-94.(4)

The son of a school principal,(5) Richard Adams completed school in Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1853 at age 17.(6)(8) In 1864, he founded the import firm, Adams & Bendix. When Mr. Bendix retired, the company was renamed Richard H. Adams & Co. Adams withdrew from the company in 1893 and devoted most of his time to social and welfare activities.(5)

Richard Adams joined the Liederkranz in 1859.(4) He served as Vice President during the 1882-1883 term when William Steinway was President. The first ten diary entries mentioning Richard Adams all note that William let him preside, both at general meetings and at Board meetings, between 1882 and 1883. On October 13, 1883, Richard Adams was elected president of the Liederkranz.(Diary, 1883-10-02) Later, William would often consult with Adams and Julius Hoffmann about the presidency of the Liederkranz, (e.g., Diary, 1885-10-03, 1887-08-16, 1891-03-07).

Richard Adams was a trustee of the German-American School in the 19th Ward of New York for many years.(5) He and William Steinway met with the Superintendent of Schools to support Phil Gruenenthal for Assistant Superintendent (Diary, 1891-02-17). On March 16, 1895, Richard Adams was appointed a school commissioner by Mayor Strong. Herman Ridder of the German-American Reform Union accompanied Richard Adams to the Mayor’s office when he was sworn in.(1) Adams was reappointed as School Commissioner for the term beginning in 1897 and served until 1908.(7)(6) He also served as the Chairman of the Building Committee of the Board of Education for several years.

Richard Adams was one of the founders of the Yorkville Bank and served on its Board.(6) He was also on the Board of the German Hospital, on the Admissions Committee of the Isabella Home, and a member of the German Society.(5)

On October 15, 1884 Richard Adams married at Liederkranz Hall, and William wrote the next day that the wedding was "nicely given." William also noted that he sent Adams a wedding present of glass finger bowls costing $89 and that Richard Adams thanked him warmly for this generous gift. (Diary, 1884-10-14)

Adams played many rounds of Skat with William at the Liederkranz. He was a pallbearer at William’s funeral at the Liederkranz in 1896.(2) In 1908, Adams resigned his positions as school commissioner and chairman of the Building Committee of the Board of Education because the work became too arduous.(6) A serious fall in 1923 rendered him an invalid.(5) Richard H. Adams died on July 13, 1925. (3)(6)



1." Appointed School Commissioner," The New York Times, March 17, 1895, p. 16. 

2. "Funeral of Mr. Steinway," The New York Times, December 2, 1896, p. 2.

3. German Genealogy Group New York City Death Index. accessed Feb. 6, 2012.


4. Mosenthal, Hermann. Geschichte des Vereins Deutscher Liederkranz in New York. New York: F.A. Ringler Company, 1897, Vol I – p. 40, 48, Vol. II – p.10.

5. "One arrived, the other goes," New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung, March 17, 1895, p. 1.

6. "Richard H. Adams dies in 90th year," The New York Times, July 16, 1925, p. 19.

7."The Mayor’s appointees," The New York Times, November 19, 1896, p. 9.

 8. United States Census 1900, New York State, New York County, Borough of Manhattan, Ward 12, Series T623, Roll 1109, Page 297.