Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Guide to the American Bank Note Company Records

Collection ID:
American Bank Note Company
Physical Description:
4 Cubic feet

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection includes correspondence with various banks and foreign governments, especially those of Canadian provinces, regarding their banknotes or postal stamps; client files, mostly with various companies that contracted with American Bank Note Company to engrave their stock certificates, but also including files regarding two engravers, Herman Ochs and Charles Brooks, who worked for ABNC; framed items including photographs and letters of appreciation; photographs and photograph albums, showing interior scenes of the ABNC's plants, shop floors with employees at work in various aspects of production, plant facilities such as the cafeteria and the hospital, plant expansion or renovation, and exteriors of the plants.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
First founded in 1795 as Murray, Draper, Fairham & Company, the American Bank Note Company developed into the United States' foremost high security engraving and printing firm in the years prior to the Civil War. It produced paper money, postage stamps, stock and bond certificates. After the Civil War, it produced paper money and stamps for foreign governments, including Canada and Haiti. In 1879, it merged with the National Bank Note and Continental Bank Note companies.

NMAH Staff
Film preservation funded by a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation.
Custodial History
In 2003, the American Bank Note Company contacted the National Museum of American History about surplus objects such as dies, printing plates and other three-dimensional objects, regarding a possible deaccession, and inquiring whether the National Numismatic Collection was interested in acquiring these items. NMAH volunteer Peter Huntoon surveyed the items proposed for deaccession, and acquired a large number of objects for the NNC. Along with these objects, Mr. Huntoon was also allowed access to archival materials, and brought back this collection of correspondence, business files, photographs and photograph albums, and a motion picture film.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by the AB Note Company of Fort Lee, New Jersey in 2012.
Processing Information
Collection is unprocessed.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research but the films are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at or 202-633-3270.
Preferred Citation
American Bank Note Company Records, undated, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012