The Hamilton National Bank Collection contains a variety of materials relating to the history of HNB and its predecessor banks, ranging from 1889 to 1972.. The first series contains a number of scrapbooks and loose clippings. These mainly contain newspaper clippings of advertisements and statements of condition of Hamilton National Bank and its competitors, from 1929 until 1972. Also included are a number of newspaper articles concerning the bank and its employees from 1949-1952 and 1969-1972. The second series is composed of ledgers and record books, the earliest ones probably coming from HNB predecessor South Chattanooga Savings Bank. Series three contains a number of letters and internal memos. Series four is a number of pamphlets and histories of Hamilton National Bank. Series five contains a number of photographs. Many are of branch buildings, but there are also photographs from early bank anniversaries and community sites. There are several photographs of a Rossville knitting mill taken during the late 1920s or early 1930s. The last series contains miscellaneous unpublished articles, address lists, and administrative collection materials from the original recipient, the Chattanooga Area Historical Association.
In 1889, the South Chattanooga Savings Banks was founded and T. R. Preston (later President of HNB) earned an entry level position there. The SCSB grew and in 1903, changed its name to Hamilton Trust and Savings Bank. Only two years later, in 1905, Preston created the Hamilton National Bank to serve the need for additional banking facilities in the city of Chattanooga. In 1920, Hamilton National Bank purchased the stock of Hamilton Trust and Savings Bank, and in 1929 Hamilton National Bank absorbed Hamilton Trust and Savings. Hamilton National bank continued to expand, maintaining 24 different branches by 1973. Despite its past success, economic declines during the 1970s led to the eventual collapse of the bank. It was declared insolvent after loans made by a partner institution collapsed (in reaction to the collapse of the real estate market in general). This resulted in the third-largest bank failure in U.S. History. Hamilton National Bank was purchased and absorbed by First Tennessee Bank in 1976.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Hamilton National Bank records collection was deposited in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on 1979 February 1.