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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

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Sharman, William, 1894-1978
Title: William Sharman papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1916-1965
Abstract: A small collection documenting the military service and banking career of native New Yorker William Sharman. In 1916–17 Sharman served with the 71st New York Infantry, National Guard, in Texas during the border skirmishes spawned by the Mexican Revolution. He subsequently enlisted in the 106th Regiment Field Artillery, United States Army, 27th Infantry Division, and saw action in France during World War I. Back in New York, Sharman worked for a number of banks, rising from messenger to cashier to officer. Most notably he managed the world's first airport bank, a branch of the Empire Trust Company that was later controlled by Manufacturers Trust Company, at La Guardia Airport, between 1941 and 1949.
Quantity: 0.417 Linear Feet (in 1 document box and 1 oversize folder)
Call Phrase: MS 3068

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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.

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Scope and Contents

This small, sometimes disparate collection includes material from William Sharman's military service, such as his National Guard and World War I U.S. Army discharge papers (folder 1), ephemera (folder 2), publications (folders 3 and 4), and brief, broken runs of four periodicals, including the Wadsworth Gas Attack and the Rio Grande Rattler (folder 5). Three panoramic photographs document Sharman's time at McAllen, Texas, in 1916, during the Border War (oversize folder), and another large-format photograph taken in 1919 shows 10,000 officers and enlisted men of the 27th New York Division posed to form the division's "living insignia" (oversize folder).

Material from the World War II era includes letters to Sharman from the Office of Price Administration thanking him for his rationing efforts, and three gasoline ration cards (folder 10 and oversize). USO ephemera includes membership cards and "A Spiritual Almanac for Service Men" (folder 11).

Sharman's long banking career is represented by scattered correspondence, photographs, clippings, and ephemera (folders 13–18 and oversize). Of note are the items from the Empire Trust Company's branch office at La Guardia Airport, touted as the world's first airport bank, which Sharman managed between 1941 and 1949. See, for instance, the guest register (folder 15), and the photographs of Sharman and the bank (folder 16). One photograph shows Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and banker David Rockefeller (1915–2017) at the opening.

The collection includes various pieces of unrelated ephemera. Of note are the "Program of Events, New York Municipal Airport Dedication" of 15 October 1939, and the contemporary promotional booklet, "New York Municipal Airport, North Beach" (both in folder 19). Also present are Sharman's licenses to carry a pistol in New York City (folder 21), and a 1943 postcard advertising the "Mailomat," an automated postage printing machine designed for installation in lobbies and transportation terminals (folder 23). Refer to the container list, below, for more complete descriptions.

Arrangement

The collection is divided into four series:

Series I. Border War & World War I, 1916-1920 (8 folders + 4 oversize photographs)

Series II. World War II, 1942-1946 (3 folders + 1 oversize document)

Series III. Banking, 1929-1957 (6 folders + 3 oversize photographs)

Series IV. Ephemera & Photographs, 1930-1965 (6 folders)

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Broadsides
  • Ephemera.
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Menus.
  • Periodicals
  • Photographs
  • Postcards.
  • Press clippings.

Subject Organizations

  • New York (State). National Guard. Regiment, 71st
  • United Service Organizations (U.S.)
  • United States. Army. Field Artillery Regiment, 106th
  • United States. Army. Infantry Division, 27th
  • United States. Office of Price Administration

Subject Topics

  • Banks and banking -- United States
  • La Guardia Airport
  • New York World's Fair (1939-1940 : New York, N.Y.)
  • New York World's Fair (1964-1965 : New York, N.Y.)
  • World War, 1914-1918

Subject Places

  • Camp Wadsworth (Spartanburg, S.C.)
  • McAllen (Tex.)

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Open to qualified researchers.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.)

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is owned by the New-York Historical Society. The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. Unpublished materials created before 1 January 1978 cannot be quoted in publication without permission of the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as the William Sharman Papers, MS 3068, The New-York Historical Society.

Related Materials

The New-York Historical Society museum division holds a helmet and flag that belonged to William Sharman, both bearing the 27th Division insignia. The helmet, a Model 1917 (or M1917 Helmet), is thought to have been created in conjunction with the return of the American Expeditionary Forces from World War I. Troops were ordered to paint their insignia on their helmets to render them easy to identify while on parade. For information, write to responses@nyhistory.org.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Estate of William A. Sharman, 2017. [William A. Sharman (1926-2015) was the son of William Sharman (1894-1978).]

Processing Information

Archivist Joseph Ditta processed this collection in September 2018.

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Container List

Series I. Border War & World War I, 1916-1920

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Discharge papers

Scope and Contents

Contains Sharman's discharge papers as Private First Class, Company K, 71st New York Infantry, National Guard (5 August 1917), and as Corporal, Headquarters Company, 106th Regiment Field Artillery, United States Army (31 March 1919).

1917, 1919
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Ephemera

Scope and Contents

Contains a partial newspaper clipping dated 25 September 1917 on the departure of the First Regiment for Camp Wadsworth, South Carolina; a 1919 postcard with the pre-printed message "Hello- Just Got Back Am Feeling Great Will Write Soon Again"; and an official menu for the "Welcome Home Dinner Tendered by the City of New York . . . on Tuesday, March 25, 1919 to the Gallant 27th Division, American Expeditionary Forces."

1917, 1919
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Publication | 71st Regiment Farewell Benefit Performance, Hippodrome, Sunday Evening, September 23rd [1917]
1917
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Publication | The War Book of the One Hundred and Sixth Regiment Field Artillery, United States Army
1917-1919
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Publication | Official Commendations of the 27th American Division, Belgium and France [publication]
1918
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Publication | Why Soldiers Go Wild: Those "Mayme" Letters of Effie Jane Smith
1918
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Publication | Headquarters, 52nd Field Artillery Brigade, American Expeditionary Forces. Belletin [Bulletin] No. 1
1919 January 2
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Periodical | Wadsworth Gas Attack and the Rio Grande Rattler

Scope and Contents

Contains five issues:

Vol. 1, no. 3 (1917 December 8)
Vol. 1, no. 10 (1918 January 26)
Vol. 1, no. 11 (1918 February 2)
Vol. 1, no. 12 (1918 February 9)
Vol. 1, no. 13 (1918 February 16)

The New-York Historical Library holds some duplicate and additional issues of this periodical under call number D570.3.A1 27th Oversize.

1917-1918
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Periodical | Gas Attack of the New York Division 27th Div. U.S.A.

Scope and Contents

Contains eight issues:

Vol. 1, no. 14 (1918 February 23)
Vol. 1, no. 16 (1918 March 9)
Vol. 1, no. 17 (1918 March 16)
Vol. 1, no. 18 (1918 March 23)
Vol. 1, no. 19 (1918 March 30)
Vol. 1, no. 20 (1918 April 6)
Vol. 1, no. 21 (1918 April 13)
Vol. 1, no. 22 (1918 April 20)

The New-York Historical Library holds some duplicate and additional issues of this periodical under call number D570.3.A1 27th Oversize.

1918
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Periodical | The Hatchet, Published on the High Seas

Scope and Contents

Contains ten issues:

Vol. 3, no. 1 (1918 May 9)
Vol. 3, no. 2 (1918 May 10)
Vol. 3, no. 3 (1918 May 11)
Vol. 3, no. 4 (1918 May 12)
Vol. 3, no. 5 (1918 May 13)
Vol. 3, no. 6 (1918 May 14)
Vol. 3, no. 7 (1918 May 15)
Vol. 3, no. 8 (1918 May 16)
Vol. 3, no. 9 (1918 May 17)
Vol. 3, final issue (1918 May 18? undated)

1918
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Periodical | The Home Sector, A Weekly for the New Civilian

Scope and Contents

Contains four issues:

Vol. 2, no. 8 (1920 February 21)
Vol. 2, no. 9 (1920 February 28)
Vol. 2, no. 15 (1920 April 10)
Vol. 2, no. 16 (1920 April 17)

The New-York Historical Society Library holds earlier issues of this periodical under call number D501 .H6 Oversize.

1920
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Photographs (2 prints)

Scope and Contents

Contains a photograph of William Sharman in uniform, and one of enlisted men pointing to a recruitment poster reading "Rally 'Round the Flag with Co. K, 71st N.Y. Inf. N.G." [National Guard]. Sharman appears to be the man standing left in the second photograph.

[1916-1919]
Oversize: medium Folder : 1 (of 1) Photographs (4 prints)

Scope and Contents

1. [panorama] McAllen Tex. 1916 | Photo by Murff [showing "First Field Artillery, N.Y."; "71st Inf., N.Y."; "12th Inf., N.Y."
2. [panorama] McAllen Texas | July 6, 1916 | Co. K. 71st Inf. New York
3. [panorama] Camp 71st N.Y. Inf. N.G.U.S. McAllen Texas Sept. 1st 1916
4. Living Insignia | of the | Twenty-Seventh Division | "New York's Own" | Breakers of the Hindenburg Line. | Formed of 10,000 Officers and Enlisted Men | Major-General John R. O'Ryan, Commanding. [Copyright Mole and Thomas, 915 Medinah Bldg., Chicago, Ill., March 18-'19.]

1916, 1919

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Series II. World War II, 1942-1946

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Office of Price Administration

Scope and Contents

Contains three letters to William Sharman thanking him for his work on the Ossining War Price and Rationing Board, and three gasoline ration cards (with a mileage ration identification folder) issued to Sharman.

1942-1945
Oversize: medium Folder : 1 (of 1) Office of Price Administration | Award

Scope and Contents

War Service Award issued by the Office of Price Administration to William Sharman "for voluntary service in the successful operation of price control and rationing."

1944 July 1
Box: 1 Folder : 11 USO

Scope and Contents

Contains William Sharman's membership cards in the "Greater New York USO Joint War Appeal" and "The Army Behind the Army and Navy" (both 1942), an undated postcard showing "Activities at the USO Club, 1 East 65th St., N.Y.C.," and "A Spiritual Almanac for Service Men" (1943)

1942-1943
Box: 1 Folder : 12 War Bonds

Scope and Contents

Contains two testimonials issued to William Sharman: a certificate from the United States Treasury War Finance Committee recognizing his services in the Second War Loan, April 1943 (dated 1 May 1943), and a small, rectangular, embossed tin plate (approximately 3.5 x 1.75-inches) in appreciation of his "volunteer service in financing World War II through sale of United States Bonds to 85,000,000 Americans" (issued January 1946).

1943, 1946

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Series III. Banking, 1929-1957

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Colonial Bank & Bank of the United States | Miscellaneous

Scope and Contents

Includes letters documenting Sharman's appointment as assistant cashier of the Colonial Bank (corner of Columbus Avenue and 81st Street, Manhattan) in 1929, and the bank's merger with the Bank of the United States, which took place in April 1929. The condition, officers, and staff of the latter (including Sharman) are given in a pamphlet dated 29 May 1930.

An anomaly in this folder, perhaps kept by Sharman as a curiosity, is a draft for $100,000, dated 24 January 1871 and issued by the Bank of New York to Lees & Waller.

1929-1930
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Empire Trust & Manufacturers Trust, La Guardia Airport | Miscellaneous

Scope and Contents

Includes correspondence, William Sharman's business card, and a brochure describing the Empire Trust Company's branch at La Guardia Field, "The World's First Airport Bank." Manufacturers Trust Company assumed control of the branch on 24 September 1945.

1931, 1943-1949
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Empire Trust, La Guardia Airport | Guest register
1941-1949
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Empire Trust & Manufacturers Trust, La Guardia Airport | Photographs (8 prints)

Scope and Contents

Includes a photograph of Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and banker David Rockefeller (1915-2017) at the opening of the bank.

[circa 1941-1949]
Box: 1 Folder : 17 Manufacturers Trust, Featherbed Lane (Bronx) | Miscellaneous
1949-1957
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Manufacturers Trust, Featherbed Lane (Bronx) | Photographs (2 prints)

Scope and Contents

Contains two photographs, one showing William Sharman at his desk, the other showing him posed with Marie Gagne, a 9-year-old polio survivor who, accompanied by her grandmother, Mrs. H. Cordes, was the first customer of Manufacturers Trust Company's newly opened Featherbed Lane branch in The Bronx on 18 June 1949. For newspaper reproductions of this image, with fuller accounts, see the clippings in folder 17.

[1949]
Oversize: medium Folder : 1 (of 1) Manufacturers Trust, Featherbed Lane (Bronx) | Photographs (3 prints)

Scope and Contents

Contains three publicity shots by Rudy Arnold Photos (545 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y.) of William Sharman, with a secretary, in his office of the Featherbed Lane (Bronx) branch of Manufacturers Trust Company. With original Rudy Arnold mailing envelope.

[1949]

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Series IV. Ephemera & Photographs, 1930-1965

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Aeronautics

Scope and Contents

Includes four items relating to La Guardia Airport (formerly New York Municipal Airport):

1. "Program of Events, New York Municipal Airport Dedication" (15 October 1939)
2. "New York Municipal Airport, North Beach" (promotional booklet, circa 1939)
3. "PAA Yankee Clipper in Flight, La Guardia Field" (postcard, mailed 1944)
4. "One of American Export Airlines' 'Flying Aces', La Guardia Field" (postcard, mailed 1944).

Another postcard (mailed 1951) shows New York International Airport, today's JFK. And an undated photo shows William A. Sharman (1926-2015), son of William Sharman, with other men and boys inspecting a plane on display at the New York Museum of Science and Industry in the R.C.A. Building, 30 Rockefeller Plaza. (The museum occupied the Rockefeller Center space between 1935 and 1949.)

circa 1935-1951
Box: 1 Folder : 20 Automotive

Scope and Contents

Contains a circa 1930 broadside for "New York's 1st Outdoor Automobile Carnival," at which William Sharman was one of three judges of the "Kiddie Kontest," and a brochure for the 1934 Aerodynamic Hupmobile.

circa 1930, 1934
Box: 1 Folder : 21 Gun permits

Scope and Contents

Contains William Sharman's "license to carry a pistol" issued by the New York City Police Department on 1 January 1930, 10 February 1941, and 9 March 1943. All three have Sharman's photograph.

1930-1943
Box: 1 Folder : 22 New York World's Fair

Scope and Contents

Contains:

1939 | "Your Guide to General Motors Highways and Horizons Exhibit"
1939 | photograph of fountain outside Westinghouse exhibit

1964-65 | "Seagram's World's Fair Map and New York City Guide" (2 copies)
1964-65 | "The Triumph of Man" as presented by the Travelers Insurance Company (a 45-rpm record in a folding, illustrated sleeve)

1939, 1964-65
Box: 1 Folder : 23 Miscellaneous Ephemera

Scope and Contents

Contains a 1931 newspaper clipping of an aerial photograph of Baker Field and Isham Park in the Inwood section of Manhattan, a 1937 postcard of ukulele-playing actor Tom Patricola (1891-1950), and a 1943 postcard advertising the "Mailomat," a self-service, automated postage machine designed for use in railway terminals, post office lobbies, and other public spaces.

1931-1943
Box: 1 Folder : 24 Miscellaneous Photographs (3 prints)

Scope and Contents

Contains a snapshot of the tower of Madison Square Garden at night, July 1924, and two undated photographs of the Duke of Windsor (formerly Edward VIII) (1894-1972) on a visit to New York City.

1924, undated

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