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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 24, June 11, 2006, Article 11

PNC BANK INVENTORIES RIGGS BANK ARCHIVES

At least one bank's archives have been kept intact for posterity.
As part of its purchase of Riggs Bank of Washington, D.C., PNC
Financial Services gained control of the bank's archives, a
treasure-filled store of materials from Riggs Bank and its
predecessors, dating back to 1803.  Archivist Mary Beth Corrigan
is reviewing the materials in a basement one block from The White
House.

"A few months after buying Riggs, PNC hired Ms. Corrigan part
time to cull through 1,200 ledger books, some weighing as much
as 40 pounds and dating back to 1803 -- covering the history of
Riggs, which was founded in 1836 by William Corcoran, and several
predecessors. Many books had been neglected, relegated to a damp
basement.

She also has tried to get a handle on more than 100 letters from
U.S. presidents -- many of them former Riggs clients -- countless
signature cards, stock certificates and currency that predates the
establishment of the Federal Reserve."

"The records show how Riggs collected $7.2 billion in gold for the
federal government's purchase of Alaska, that it financed the 1909
North Pole expedition led by Robert Peary, that it handled arrangements
for Elizabeth II's first trip to the United States as queen of England
and that it funded the renovation of the Capitol dome during the Civil
War -- work that Mr. Lincoln insisted be done as a way of restoring
national confidence."

"PNC wants a full accounting of what it has by the end of the year
so it can make a decision about what to do with the collection --
which also includes checks signed by non-Riggs clients George Washington,
Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Those documents were acquired
by Riggs in the 20th century. All options are being considered -- from
donating the artifacts to a museum to preserving the collection in a
PNC building. But the bank promises something will be done."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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