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Banknote History (1782-1935)

Project Overview

The purpose of the Banknote History Project is to stimulate research and help organize historical information related to U.S. Banknotes that were issued during the National Banknote Era (1863-1935) and Obsolete Banknote Era (1782-1866). This project is specifically focused on two of the primary historical aspects of these 'Hometown' Banknotes: The Banks that issued them, and the Bankers who signed them.

The project is sponsored by the Society of Paper Money Collectors ( as part of its educational mission to promote the study and appreciation of paper money and related financial history.

The Banknote History Project consists of 2 online components: The Banks & Bankers Database and the Banknote History Wiki.

Banks & Bankers Database

The Banks & Bankers Database is a structured, searchable database with historical data on all 14,348 National Banks that were chartered between 1863 and 1935. It also includes all of the National Bank Officers (Presidents & Cashiers) listed in the OCC reports from 1867-1935, as well as many other potential banknote signers (VPs & Asst Cashiers) based on data from Bankers Directories, etc. Many Obsolete Banks and Bankers from 1782-1866 are also available with more being added over time. A website provides an easy-to-use and powerful search interface into the data. The search website also links into the Banknote History Wiki (as well as other online sources) to make that historical information for Banks and Bankers easily available. The search website requires SPMC membership to access the database.

Banks & Bankers Database Overview and User Guide

Banks & Bankers Database Search website

Banknote History Wiki

The Banknote History Wiki (which is where you are now) is a crowd-sourced, searchable content website (very similar to Wikipedia) for creating and organizing historical information on the National/Obsolete Banks and Bankers from 1782-1935. This is a Public/Open access Wiki, so no user login is required to View information. But only Logged-In Users (with a confirmed email address) are allowed to Add new pages or Edit existing wiki pages. See the 'Contributing Content' section below for information on how to setup a login account, if you are interested in helping us with content for this wiki.

The Banknote History Wiki is primarily focused on two topics: Bank Histories and Banker Biographies (for examples, click on the Bank and Banker links in the caption of the Featured Banknote above). In addition, an Index page has been setup for other Banknote History related articles that don't fit into the Bank History or Banker Bio topics. A Banknote History Home page can also be setup for each State, focusing on the Banks, Bankers and Banking History of that State.

Bank Histories

Use the Bank History Index to find the Bank you are looking for.

Banker Biographies

Use the Banker Bio Index to find the Banker you are looking for.

Other Banknote History Articles

An Index page has been setup for other Banknote History related articles that don't fit into the Bank History or Banker Bio topics. This index will be organized by State, where applicable.

Index to Other Banknote History Articles

State Banknote History Home pages

A Banknote History Home page can be setup for each State. These Home pages consolidate historical information on that State's National/Obsolete Banks, Bankers and Banking History. It also highlights new wiki content for that State, along with some famous Bankers, and lists helpful Research Resources for the State.

(Have a link to a State Banknote History Home page Index here).

Featured Banknotes

A 'Featured Banknote' will be shown on the Main Page, as well as each State's Banknote History Home page, to highlight the Banknote, with links to the Bank History, and Banker Bios for the note signers. This clearly illustrates the type of historical information we are creating and organizing on this wiki. These featured Banknotes will be changed every couple of months, to highlight new content on the wiki. To be eligible as a Featured Banknote, the associated Bank History and Banker Bios must be available. (We will also provide a link to view Past Featured Banknotes).

Contributing Content to our Wiki

  • This is an Open/Public access Wiki. No user login is required to View information.
  • Only Logged-In Users (with a confirmed email address) can Add new pages or Edit existing pages.
  • Users who want to help us with content for this wiki will need to Create a Login Account (link in upper right hand corner).
    • When creating an account, for your login name we recommend using First (or First&Middle) Initial plus Last Name (ie JSmith). This makes it easier for everybody to see who is creating and editing wiki pages, when looking at the 'View history' tab at the top of each wiki page.
    • Users must also enter their email address and then confirm it via email, before they will be able to add/edit content.
  • This Wiki is based on MediaWiki software, the same software that runs Wikipedia. So it uses the same wiki markup language.
    • If you are just getting started, check out this Beginner's Guide to MediaWiki markup language.
    • Consult the User's Guide for information on using the MediaWiki markup language to edit wiki pages. (The 'Help' link on the left panel will also go to this User's Guide).

Content Licensing and Copyright Legalese

  • The contents of this wiki is licensed to the public under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (same as Wikipedia). This license grants free access to our content, which can be copied, modified, and redistributed if and only if the copied version is made available on the same terms to others and acknowledgment of the authors of the Wiki article used is included (a link back to the article is generally thought to satisfy the attribution requirement). Copied Wiki content will therefore remain free under an appropriate license and can continue to be used by anyone subject to certain restrictions, most of which aim to ensure that freedom.
  • Never use materials that infringe the copyrights of others. This could create legal liabilities.
    • If in doubt, write the content yourself, which can be included in the Wiki without trouble.
    • Note that copyright law governs the creative expression of ideas, not the ideas or information themselves. Therefore, it is legal to read an encyclopedia article or other work, reformulate the concepts in your own words, and submit it to the Wiki, so long as you do not follow the source too closely. Also be sure to cite the original source as a reference.
    • You can go to Wikipedia's Copyright FAQ for further information.