Finding Aid to the Atlas Savings & Loan Collection, 1979-1990

Finding aid prepared by Tim Wilson
James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA, 94102
(415) 557-4400
info@sfpl.org
2011


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

 

Series 1 Business Records and Communications, 1979-1986

Physical Description: 14.0 folders
Folder 1

Atlas News ["employee newsletter"], 1984

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 2

Brochures, 1980-1981, undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 3

Bylaws, 1979

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 4

Bylaws, includes adopted changes of November 11, 1981 1981

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 5

Condominium Project Proposal, 1986

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 6

Correspondence, 1980-1986

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 7

Correspondence, "confidential," May 1985

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 8

Invitations, 1980-1982 1984 undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 9

News from Atlas, 1981

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 10

Offering Circular, 1980

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 11

Press Releases, undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 12

Promotion. $3 bill. Herb Caen articles, 1982

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 13

Promotion. Visa Card, 1982

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 14

Stock certificates, 1981 1984

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
 

Series 2 Subject Files, 1979-1990

Physical Description: 4.0 folders
Folder 15

California Savings & Loan. DataBook, 1980

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 16

Empire of America, 1985

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 17

Newspaper and Magazine Clippings, 1979-1990

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 18

San Francisco. Mayor. Proclamation Welcoming Atlas, 1980

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
 

Series 3 Memorabilia, 1982-1986

Physical Description: 17.0 items
Folder 19

$1 bill signed by Atlas board members, undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 20

Balloons, undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 21

Bank account books, 1986, undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder 2 items
Folder 22

Bank cards, undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder 2 items
Folder 23

Business cards, nametags, undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 24

Buttons, undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 25

Clock, undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 26

License plate frame, undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 27

Matchbooks, undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 28

Money bag, undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 29

Paperclip, undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 30

Pens, n.d.undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 31

Photographs, 1981, undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 32

Stationery (blank), undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 33

T-shirts, undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder 2 items
Folder 34

Wallet calendars, 1982 1984-1986

Physical Description: 1.0 folder
Folder 35

Whistle, undated

Physical Description: 1.0 folder