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Finding Aid to the Atlas Savings & Loan Collection, 1979-1990
GLC 48  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance
  • Historical note
  • Scope and Contents note
  • Arrangement

  • Title: Atlas Savings & Loan Collection
    Date (inclusive): 1979-1990
    Collection Identifier: GLC 48
    Creator: Atlas Savings & Loan
    Physical Description: 1 carton 1.0 cubic ft.
    Contributing Institution: James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library
    100 Larkin Street
    San Francisco, CA, 94102
    (415) 557-4567
    info@sfpl.org
    Abstract: The collection contains a small amount of Atlas Savings & Loan business correspondence and records including bylaws, publicity, promotional materials, mailings to shareholders. Atlas Savings & Loan Association was the first financial institution established by and for gays and lesbians in the United States.
    Physical Location: Collection is stored onsite.
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.

    Access

    The collection is open for research. Please call the San Francisco History Center for hours and information at 415-557-4567.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Atlas Savings & Loan Collection (GLC 48), Gay and Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library.

    Provenance

    The Atlas Savings & Loan Collection was donated to The San Francisco Public Library by Lester Bruno in 1997. Subsequently, Jim Van Buskirk donated a bank book, Roy Johnson donated a $1 bill signed by Atlas board members and 2 T-shirts were added courtesy of the San Francisco Gay, Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Historical Society of Northern California. In April 2011, Donald R. Reed donated two stock certificates.

    Historical note

    Atlas Savings & Loan Association was the first financial institution established by gays and lesbians in the United States. John Schmidt, its chairman, along with ten gay directors, including two women, formed Atlas in 1980 in San Francisco. The savings and loan opened for business in November 1981 and identified the gay and lesbian community as its primary market. In August 1982 Atlas opened a branch on 18th and Castro Streets and by January 1985 had three branches in San Francisco. By June 1985 Atlas began to suffer as a result of bad construction loans, joint ventures and shared loans with two other savings and loans. In August 1985 Atlas was declared insolvent. The Federal Home Loan Bank Board took control of the savings and loan in July 1986 and its assets were sold to Empire Savings of New York.
    In September 1986 the Federal Bureau of Investigation began conducting an inquiry into allegations of wrong-doing by former senior management as part of its investigation into three other failed savings and loan associations in Northern California. A group of former Atlas shareholders sued John Schmidt and its auditing firm, Price Waterhouse, in 1989 claiming that they were misled as to Atlas' financial condition. In 1990 Empire of America Bank (formerly Empire Savings of New York) was placed in conservatorship.

    Scope and Contents note

    The collection contains a small amount of business correspondence and records including bylaws, publicity, promotional materials, mailings to shareholders and stock certificates. There is good press coverage of Atlas through the years especially its opening in 1981 and its financial difficulties in 1985 and 1986. In addition there is a lot of memorabilia and giveaways with the Atlas logo.

    Arrangement

    The collection is arranged in three series: Series 1: Business Records and Communications; Series 2: Subject Files; and Series 3: Memorabilia. The material in each series is organized alphabetically by title.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Atlas Savings & Loan. -- Archives
    Bruno, Lester
    Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Historical Society of Northern California.
    Johnson, Roy
    Reed, Donald R.
    Schmidt, John A.
    Van Buskirk, Jim
    Financial institutions--California--San Francisco
    Gay business enterprises--California--San Francisco
    Savings and loan association failures--California--San Francisco
    Savings and loan associations--California--San Francisco