Collection Spotlight: Wanamaker State Bank

Previously, our Collection Spotlight focused on items from the Acton State Bank. Now let’s take a look at some of the many extant artifacts from its neighbor, the Wanamaker State Bank.

Many of the promotional items distributed by the bank advertise its membership in the then-recently-created Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which was established by the Banking Act of 1933 as a response to the failure of over 9,000 banks during the early years of the Great Depression.

Fun fact: During the Depression, when many banks were closing due to customer panic and cash shortage, Wanamaker State Bank president George Bowen managed to save his bank from disaster by persuading depositors that their money was safe, and simply on loan to their neighbors.

3 Comments

  1. Mark Smith

    This is so interesting, and brings back memories. As a child, I watched my father, on many weekends, sitting at our dining room table, helping to balance a customer’s troublesome checking account statement. Dad was Lester Smith, who joined the Wanamaker State Bank in 1929, when he was 20 years old. Working for George Bowen, he rose in the ranks of leadership, until he was named Executive Vice President in the early 50’s. When the bank was sold to AFNB, Dad became manager of the Wanamaker office, then later was promoted to manage the Meadows office, and finally ended his career in the downtown Indy office as Senior Vice President of all branches. Dad’s was a true hard work story for a kid from a small town. He passed away in 2003, at the grand age of 94.

    Reply
  2. Janet Emery

    Is it possible to purchase the sturdy paper envelopes?
    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Alena (Post author)

      The envelopes shown are the only ones in our collection. While we sometimes will sell artifacts when we have a large surplus of the same item, we likely won’t offer any of these for sale unless someone donates more of them.

      Reply

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