Records (1910-1856) including correspondence, financial records, minutes, legal papers, estate records, World War I and II, pamphlets, and miscellaneous.
Cashier Walter M. Hollowell (1919-c.1953) was a central figure in Hobbsville and he took care of the majority of bank business. His personal letters, intermixed with the bank's correspondence, usually relate to financial matters and his position. He was a member of the School Board (1919) and Mintonville Township Road Commission (1925); was a Deacon in the Hobbsville Baptist Church; advised the Agricultural Credit Corporation on loan applications (1933); was appointed to the N.C. Commission on Interracial Cooperation (1938); was a representative to the Agricultural Committee of the N.C. Bankers Association (1939); and was a member of the Boy Scouts Troop Committee (1940s) before his retirement in the mid-1950s.
The bulk of this collection consists of general files concerned with the bank's financial dealings with other North Carolina banks; regional Federal Reserve Banks; state and federal agencies; and local bank patrons (1910-1956). Correspondence between commercial customers and the bank concerned individual accounts; currency and silver requests; registered bonds and notes lists; fund transfers; and loans. Ledger books contain financial information for various bank holdings and activities, including customer estate records; bond, certificate, and stock registers; liabilities; and stockholders lists. Scattered throughout the files are annual reports to the Corporation Commission of N.C. and bank meeting minutes.
Major topics in the bank's files include financial matters connected to World War I and World War II. Information (1919) related to World War I in correspondence and bank ledgers relate to Liberty Loan Bonds, War Savings and Thrift Stamps; payments on Victory Liberty Loans; new bond and note issuance; anti-scalping campaigns; and War Savings Certificates presented for redemption (1918-1919). The post-war U.S. Blind Veterans of the World War program (1924) is also described. World War II related information (1942)includes war bond sales reports; war risk property insurance within U.S. territories and possessions; efforts to achieve "Regulation V" war industry loans; capital and labor limitations; Federal Reserve actions requiring freezing of accounts of persons of German and Japanese extraction; United Service Organization fund-raising drives; Office of Price Administration local price surveys, weekly price letters, and rationing programs (1942-1946); price and salary controls (1943-1944); black market activities (1943-1945). Correspondence also mentions veterans programs and war bond redemption (1946).
During the post-World War II transition period, bank correspondence greatly concerns the power and influence of the Federal Reserve Bank. Various speeches, reprints, articles, and banking publications discuss Federal Reserve measures to curb inflation (1947); the Federal Reserve's continued war-time power control (1948); the expected post-war economic slump; the Housing and Small Business Acts (1950); Korean War investment policies; price regulation effects on bank service charges; lists of regulated products; inflation and anti-inflationary measures; credit restraints; and interests rates.
Beginning near the end of World War I, bank correspondence chronicled changing local and national financial conditions, its relation to a heightened awareness and incidence of crime, and the increased poverty of American citizens. Subjects mentioned in these materials include farm loans and the Farm Loan Act (1919); the decision to increase capital and not pay dividends (1920); the over-extension of banks; crop price fluctuations; bank robberies, attempted robberies, theft, counterfeit bills and gold certificates, fraud, and forgery (1922-1953); teacher voucher payments (1923); loan problems (1929); lower taxes and tax relief organizations (1930-1931); and bank closures (1927-1932). Many mailings discussed the Lindbergh, Urshel, and Stall kidnappings (1932-1935), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation lists of serial numbers of bills used as ransom. Other crime-related materials document two embezzlement cases, one in Hendersonville (1931) and the other at the Bank of Hobbsville (1946). The Hobbsville case involved a female employee and correspondence concerns a confession, insurance coverage, a settlement, and Hollowell's detailed memorandum of the crime's chain of events.
Another economic issue addressed in the correspondence pertains to gold and its regulation, exchange, licensing, and export, including an Executive Order banning gold hoarding (March-May 1933). The restructuring of banking regulations was detailed (1933-1934), as were the financial recovery activities and plans of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. The N.C. Bankers Association published regular bulletins concerned with proposed and approved banking legislation. Also discussed were the increase in prominence of the Federal Reserve Banks (1934); the reduction of the dollar's gold content (1934); the Works Progress Administration's efforts to secure the cashing of worker's paychecks (1935); and the implementation of Social Security (1935).
Legal matters were discussed in a series of letters (February 1921-March 1922) concerning the par clearance exchange fight between N.C. banks and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Much of this correspondence originates with the Bankers Protective Association of N.C. and the N.C. Bankers Association and includes a list of plaintiff banks in the injunction suit (February 1921). Other similar controversies were mentioned such as the Supreme Court decision involving the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and a pamphlet on the Coventry Banks Case with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (June 1921). Par clearance decision commentary continues with a copy of the Supreme Court decision on appeal involving. the Federal Reserve Bank (July 1921); a Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond comment on the Atlanta par clearance decision (March 1922); and comments and a pamphlet from the Banker's Protective Association about the "par clearance case" and the Federal Reserve Bank's renewal of the par fight (1923).
Daily bank correspondence, cashier's minutes, and director's minutes deal with specific issues such as account service charges (1928, 1932); country bank financing difficulties and bank closings (1928, 1932); consolidation of Gates County banks (1929-1930); and the National Bank Holiday (March 6-8, 1933). The Bank of Hobbsville was cited for non-compliance with Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation regulations (1936) and was subsequently criticized and audited by the N.C. State Banking Commission for violation of specific acts (1937).
Throughout the correspondence political issues were noted including the Smith presidential campaign (1928) and various N.C. campaigns (1931-1942). Local concerns were often about Post Office consolidation issues and personnel. Several cashiers from Gates County townships enlisted the aid of politicians Josiah Bailey, Robert R. Reynolds, and Lindsay Warren to work against local postal consolidation (1938).
Hollowell's business correspondence often related to his personal interests in education, the Hobbsville Baptist Church, and the Boy Scouts of America. Issues discussed include teacher's employment, housing, and salaries (1919-1920, 1926); Gates, Pitt, and Rockingham County school bond reports; Gates County Board of Education notes including loan concerns for school improvements (1921-1923, 1927); Board of Deacons minutes (1921); Thomasville (later Mills Home) and Oxford Orphanages funding (1922, 1945); and Southern Baptist Convention information (1933). Many letters (1942-1946) pertain to Boy Scout fund-raising activities and possible financial assistance from the bank.
Other materials pertain to Hollowell's appointment to the NC Commission on Interracial Cooperation.. His papers indicate that the Gates County Farm Bureau invited "every white man and his wife" and the "adult public, white" to meetings and dinners (1937, 1944). Other related correspondence chronicles the Commission's reorganization and efforts to establish "better race relations. The Commission's bulletin noted some changes that included a new full-time director; ties to the Southern Regional council, equal Veteransservices for Negroes; increased Negro police officers throughout N.C.; and support for local commissions (1946-1947). Despite the Commission's efforts, correspondence indicates that a joint Cooperative Extension Service / N.C. Bankers Association high school speaking contest (1948) was only open to "all white high school students." Another program offered separate contests for students of both races (1949-1950), and the N.C. Bankers Association finally sponsored a "negro public speaking contest" with promotional support from the N.C. Agricultural and Technical School (1953).
Other materials included are estate ledgers (1911-1919) and individual estate records of Hobbsville area residents for which Hollowell served as executor. Other records include stock, bond, and reconcilement ledgers; various certificate, draft, and expense account books; and a Liberty Loan register.
Miscellaneous items include correspondence pertaining to a university hospital in Berlin (1933); a pamphlet and information on rural electrification in North Carolina (1936-1937); a letter from a physician in Mexico describing native doctors and the general condition of the country (1946); pamphlet and correspondence concerning the American Red Cross blood program (1949); information on the conservation program, "Keep North Carolina Green" (1949); a pamphlet on "The Bank Wire," a Western Union telegraph connection between banks around the country (1950); and a letter from "National Negro Credit Counselors" concerning delinquent accounts (1951).
Gift of Mr. Randy C. Lassiter
Processed by M. Boccaccio, March 1994
Encoded by Apex Data Services
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.