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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Nineteenth Ward Bank: 1908

Nineteenth Ward Bank: 1908

        The idea behind the 19th Ward Bank, run by the Provident Loan Society, has been described as "a government-approved pawnshop for the indigent." The building, designed by William Ralph Emerson (cousin of Ralph Waldo), survives largely intact.

New York circa 1908. "19th Ward Bank, 72nd Street Branch." A curiously teensy bank scaled like a cemetery monument. 8x10 glass negative. View full size.

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Emerson architects

This building was designed by New York architect William Emerson (1873-1957) and built in 1906. He should not be confused with William Ralph Emerson (1833-1917), also an architect who practiced in Boston and was a cousin of Ralph Waldo Emerson; he was known as the “Father of Shingle Style Architecture.” William Emerson studied at Harvard College and was trained in architecture at Columbia University; he later served as the first dean of the School of Architecture at MIT. Emerson’s great uncle was Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American essayist, lecturer, and poet.

Provident Loan Society and 19th Ward Bank

I'm Head of Marketing for The Provident Loan Society of NY. Yes, indeed, we're still there on 72nd street, still open, we're still America's only not-for-profit pawnshop and you're welcome to pop in and have a look. It looks stern, but the people inside are very nice.

I have a request. Our records on the history of this building in the early part of the century (before we bought it), are kind of spotty. Does anyone have more information on 19th Ward Bank? We bought the building from Security Bank of NY in 1914. If anybody knows more we'd LOVE to hear it!

Scott Watson
Provident Loan Society of NY

Provident Loan Society

New York Times article here.

Money Mausoleum

Where cash goes to die.

The Rich And Famous

The building still stands and when Googling The Provident Loan Society, they list a branch at 180 East 72 St. So it's still be there albeit with a slightly different number. The block can't have too many indigents residing there, it is one of, if not the most expensive streets in the city. Our Mayor Bloomberg, high up on the list of World Billionaires lives on East 72nd Street about a block or so further east.

["Slightly different number"? The bank's address has always been 180 East 72nd. - Dave]

Still there. Not as nice anymore

Here it is. Still there.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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