Bank of North America records

The Bank of North America was the first chartered bank in the United States, created by the Second Continental Congress in 1781. It was established primarily to aid Congress in providing supplies and money for the continuation of the Revolutionary War. In 1916 the bank bought the assets of the Natio... Full description

Record Source: Archival Materials
Collection Information: Bank of North America Records (#1543)
Corporate Author: Bank of North America
Format: Manuscript
Language: English
Subjects and Genres: More/Less
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Physical Description: 145.8 Linear feet ; 29 boxes, 672 volumes
Access: Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact HSP's Rights and Reproductions department with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce the material.
Summary: The Bank of North America was the first chartered bank in the United States, created by the Second Continental Congress in 1781. It was established primarily to aid Congress in providing supplies and money for the continuation of the Revolutionary War. In 1916 the bank bought the assets of the National Bank of the Northern Liberties; in 1923 it merged with the Commercial Trust Company to form the Bank of North America and Trust Company; six years later the merged institution was itself absorbed by the Pennsylvania Company. The minute books are a complete run from the very beginning of the bank until its merger with the Commercial Trust Company in 1923, with brief records of meetings of the Board of Directors and some of meetings of stockholders. The loose documents (housed in boxes, as opposed to bound in volumes) include formal bank communications, memoranda, announcements, and copies of letters, financial statements, and the like. One of the most interesting documents is a long report from the Joint Committee of the Philadelphia banks dated April 13, 1816, recommending that specie payments be resumed as soon as the Bank of the United States commenced giving discounts, that each bank pay out its own notes only (except those for less than $10), and that the banks refrain from an immediate reduction of discounts. The boxed materials also include many portraits of bank presidents and other officials, as well as portraits of American political and war heroes. These include Robert Morris and the first seven presidents of the bank: Thomas Willing, John Nixon, John Morton, Henry Nixon, John Richardson, James Dixon, and Thomas Smith. Miscellaneous items include: deeds of sundry lands contracted for in 1793 and 1794 by Robert Morris, John Nicholson, and James Greenleaf, totaling over 3.5 million acres in Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky, at an average price of over a shilling an acre; the letter book of John Nixon, Philadelphia merchant; checkbooks and bank books of individuals who had accounts at BNA; a scrapbook, 1904-1920; unclassified books and pamphlets on finance; and an extra-illustrated, three-volume folio edition of Lawrence Lewis' History of the Bank of North America. [Some of the above information was taken from McClurkin, A.J. "The Bank of North America and the Financial History of Philadelphia," P.M.H.B., 64 (1940).]