Archive of catalog material and correspondence between the Stow-Davis Furniture Company and First National Bank in Binghamton, New York, regarding the furnishings for their new building (1929-1939)
A trove of correspondence between C. B. Lord, President of the First National Bank in Binghamton, NY, and E. W. Hurd (et al.) at Stow-Davis Furniture Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Accompanied by around 25 photographic plates, some tinted, many featuring chairs, several with desks, and a healthy sampling of trash cans, for which there is some dedicated correspondence (and extra photos) for furnishing the Ladies' Room. Various additional plates and illustrations, and one large fabric swatch.
The archive relates to the newly constructed First National Bank building at 95 Court St in Binghamton, built by Halsey, McCormack & Helmer in 1929. The firm's stamp appears on some of the paperwork as they remained involved in preparing the building--the timeline of which is nervously called into question once in a letter from Stow-Davis. Otherwise, the looming spectre of the Great Depression goes unmentioned.
Given the timing, the bank President C. B. Lord seems excessively involved in the minutiae of interior furnishings—ordering (and returning!) furniture, squabbling over an extra few inches of desk depth. The furniture plates are quite spectacular on their own, but the collection offers a powerful and unexpected point of perspective at odds with the overwhelming failure of banks during that acute period. First National Bank ultimately survived the Great Depression by merging with City National Bank during the 1930s, becoming First City National Bank.
The collection also includes promotional material from the Remington Rand Business Service Inc. regarding their latest fireproofing technology. A 2-page letter followed by a 12-page photo-illustrated brochure of fireproof products miserably burnt down--and the product spec sheet for the No. 8195 Safe-File Check File the company recommended for the new bank, which is still standing (vacant) today.