The Savings Bank of Baltimore, 1818-1866: A Historical and Analytical Study

The Savings Bank of Baltimore, 1818-1866: A Historical and Analytical Study

The Savings Bank of Baltimore, 1818-1866: A Historical and Analytical Study

The Savings Bank of Baltimore, 1818-1866: A Historical and Analytical Study

Excerpt

In the fall of 1954 the authors were discussing the financing of early American industry with Professor G. Heberton Evans, Jr., and he suggested that we might look into the records of the Savings Bank of Baltimore to see whether they shed any light on this relatively neglected subject. Shortly thereafter arrangements were made by Mr. S. Page Nelson, the President of the Bank, to enable us to study these records.

A cursory examination of the Bank's archives made it apparent that there was not only sufficient material to achieve our original purpose of assessing the role played by the Bank in assisting Baltimore's economic development, but also a wealth of information on the early history of the Bank, its organization, its portfolio policy, and the influence of cyclical fluctuations and panics on the behavior of the small saver. We therefore decided to make an intensive investigation of the two main components of the Bank's records: the Minutes and Proceedings of the Board of Directors and the Minutes of the Bank's Investing Committee. A supplementary set of ledgers provided complete information on the deposits and withdrawals made by the Bank's clientele.

This essay is the result of this investigation. It contains eight chapters. The first three are concerned with the historical background and the nature and organization of the institution. The fourth and fifth chapters deal with the Bank's reactions to economic fluctuations and panics, and with the information that can be derived from the cyclical patterns evident in the monthly volume of deposits and withdrawals. The sixth and seventh chapters present the results of our investigation of the Bank's portfolio policy and show the part played by the Bank in providing capital for Baltimore's growing industry and trade. The last chapter both summarizes the developments apparent in the Bank's organization and policy in the first forty-eight years of its existence and contrasts the position of the Bank at the close of the Civil War with that which it holds today.

We acknowledge our indebtedness to Mr. S. Page Nelson for his kindness in granting permission to use the Bank's . . .

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