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In an effort to better meet the needs of African American soldiers and civilians after the Civil War, John W. Alvord, an abolitionist and Congregational minister, proposed the establishment of a permanent savings bank in 1865. The Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, colloquially known as the Freedman's bank, operated thirty-seven branches in seventeen states and the District of Columbia by 1871. This collection consists of correspondence, loan papers, and bank books sent to commissioners by depositors. Scattered throughout this edition are deeds and conveyances, dividend checks, wills, powers of attorney, and other legal documents that reveal significant detail about African American personal finance in the decades following the Civil War.

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