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Guide to the William Sharman Papers
1916-1965
 MS 3068

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Joseph Ditta

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on October 04, 2018
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical Note

Banker and World War I veteran William Sharman was born to British immigrant parents in New York City on 30 June 1894. He began working in banks from a young age—the 1910 United States federal census records him, just sixteen, employed as a bank messenger—but a stint in the armed forces put his career on hold.

On 7 March 1916 Sharman enlisted as Private 1st Class, Company K, in the 71st New York Infantry, National Guard, and between June and October of that year was stationed at the Texas border during the so-called Border War, the series of skirmishes between U.S. troops and Mexican revolutionaries. Discharged from National Guard service on 5 August 1917, he enlisted the same day as Corporal, Headquarters Company, 106th Regiment Field Artillery, United States Army, 27th Infantry Division. Sharman saw action in France: at the Battle of Verdun (9 and 25 September 1918), Battle of Saint-Mihiel (12 September 1918), and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive (26 September, 21 and 28 October, and 11 November 1918). He was honorably discharged on 31 March 1919, and approved for a victory medal on 1 July 1920.

Once home Sharman resumed bank work. The 1920 United States federal census lists him as a "pay teller," and in 1929 he was appointed assistant cashier of the Colonial Bank, at the corner of Columbus Avenue and West 81st Street on Manhattan's Upper West Side (see letter of 6 February 1929 in folder 13). The Colonial Bank merged with the Bank of the United States in April 1929, and Sharman continued in his position of assistant cashier with the latter institution (see his name on the list of officers in folder 13) until 1931 or 1932, when he became executive assistant for the Empire Trust Company. In 1941 he assumed management of Empire Trust's office in the administration building at La Guardia Airport. Touted as the "world's first airport bank," the La Guardia branch promised services designed for the convenience of the traveling public. (See the brochure in folder 15.) Manufacturers Trust Company assumed control of the La Guardia office on 24 September 1945, and Sharman remained with them, continuing as manager of the airport bank until 1949. In June of that year he left to open and manage Manufacturers Trust's new Featherbed Lane office in the Bronx (see folder 17), and apparently worked there until retirement.

William Sharman married Margaret Anders in Manhattan in 1924, and by her had one son, architect William A. Sharman (1926–2015), whose estate donated the present collection to the New-York Historical Society. The elder Sharman died on 25 October 1978.