Hartford National Corporation Records
Scope and Content
Much of the material in this collection complements and fills in gaps in the records of the Hartford National Bank and Trust Company (HNB&T) also located in Archives & Special Collections. Records dating from 1792-1976 should be used in conjunction with its materials and finding aid. Records dating from 1977-1995 document the bank's consolidation with the Hartford National Corporation and its subsequent merger with the Shawmut National Corporation in 1988. The Hartford National Corporation (HNC) collection also documents its merger with the Connecticut National Bank (CNB) in 1982. As a result of this merger, the HNC collection possesses over 80 linear feet of records produced by that organization.
Because of the important roles played by the HNC and the CNB in Connecticut's banking history, the records of both banks have been classified as separate series even though the CNB was one of the HNC's many merger banks. All records produced by other banks that eventually merged with either the HNC or the CNB constitute the third series of this collection. Series I and II are divided chronologically into five subseries that represent the numerous titles assumed by each bank since its establishment. Series III consists of two alphabetically arranged series that list banks absorbed by the HNC and the CNB, as well as several unidentified records and items.
- undated, 1792-1995
The collection is open and available for research. Materials containing personnally identifiable information regarding customers of the institution may be restricted. Please contact the curator for more information.
Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.
Hartford National Corporation(1792-1988)
In 1969, the Hartford National Bank and Trust Company became the first completely owned subsidiary bank of the newly established Hartford National Corporation (HNC). After this merger, the HNC could boast assets totaling over $1.1 billion. Soon, the HNC expressed interest in purchasing the Connecticut National Bank (CNB), a merger that would almost double the number of banks under its management and increase its assets from $2.8 billion to over $4 billion.
In December 1981, shareholders from each bank voted in favor of the merger and in 1982 the merger took place. Now among the largest banking interests in southern New England, the HNC began looking for markets north of Connecticut. Changing interstate regulation laws allowed for a merger with Shawmut National Corporation, a Boston-based “Super-Regional” banking conglomerate, in 1988. Now amongst the largest twenty five banking concerns in the nation, the Shawmut National Corporation enjoyed assets totaling over $26 billion. Hartford, CT remained one of the two dual headquarters for the corporation until its eventual merger with Fleet Bank (now Bank of America) in 1995.
Note: For a detailed history of the Hartford National Corporation from 1792-1976, see the history provided in the introduction of the Hartford National Bank and Trust Company finding aid.
Connecticut National Bank
The Bridgeport Bank was founded by a small group of prominent Connecticut men on 20 November 1806. The citizens of the young borough of Bridgeport recognized that in order to facilitate their growing trade with the West Indies and Europe, they needed the stability of currency and financial assistance that could only be provided by a local bank. On 3 February 1807, the Board of Directors selected Isaac Bronson to fill the office of bank president. This wealthy and influential citizen lent his reputation to the bank and insured its survival when the British blockade all but suspended trade along the Atlantic seaboard during the War of 1812.
The Bridgeport Bank helped guide the borough, which became a city in 1836, from its early days as a center of trade through its emergence as a manufacturing center in the ante-bellum years. This period of the bank's history was marked by several financial panics resulting from over speculation. Yet when as a result of these recessions numerous Connecticut banks were forced to liquidate, the prudence and experience possessed by presidents such as Sylvanious Sterling (1837-1848) and Sherman Hartwell (1849-1869) insured the Bridgeport Bank joined the recently created National Banking System and became the Bridgeport National Bank.
A dramatic rise in manufacturing occurred in the Bridgeport area after the Civil War. During the twenty years between 1886-1906, the bank's deposits mushroomed from $60,000 to just over $1,000,000. This remarkable success fueled a series of mergers between the Bridgeport National Bank and its local rivals. In 1909, the bank merged with the First National Bank to become the First Bridgeport National Bank. Twelve years later after a merger with the Connecticut National Bank, the bank changed its name to the First National Bank of Bridgeport. Afterwards the bank developed trust and personal savings account services and in 1929 changed its name to the First National Bank and Trust Company of Bridgeport.
In 1933, the First National Bank and Trust Company of Bridgeport opened a branch office in Newfield after its merger with the Newfield Bank and Trust Company. No other Connecticut bank had opened a branch office since 1865, but soon most banks were following the First National Bank's initiative. More and more bank patrons were moving from city centers to reside in their surrounding suburbs. Banks could no longer rely solely on one downtown office to conduct business.
The First National Bank and Trust Company changed its name to the Connecticut National Bank in 1955 shortly after its merger with the Westport First National Bank. In that year, the Connecticut National Bank could boast deposits of over $100 million. Shortly before its controversial merger with the Hartford National Corporation, the Connecticut National Bank was worth over $700 million, making it one of the largest banking operations in the state.
After its merger with the HNC in 1982, the name of the Connecticut National Bank replaced that of the Hartford National Bank and Trust Company in every one of the 115 branches owned by the HNC. This situation changed when the HNC was purchased by the Boston-based Shawmut National Corporation in 1988.
180 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
In 1969, the Hartford National Bank and Trust Company became the first completely owned subsidiary bank of the newly established Hartford National Corporation. After this merger, the HNC had assets totaled over $1.1 billion. The purchase of Connecticut National Bank would almost double the number of banks under its management and increase its assets drastically. The HNC merged with Shawmut National Corporation. Hartford remained one of the two dual headquarters for the corporation until its eventual merger with Fleet Bank in 1995.
Series I: Hartford National Corporation
- A. Hartford National Bank (1792-1915)
- B. Hartford-Aetna National Bank (1915-1927)
- C. Hartford National Bank And Trust Company (1927-1969)
- D. Hartford National Corporation (1969-1988)
- E. Shawmut National Corporation (1892-1995)
Series Ii: Connecticut National Bank
- A. Bridgeport National Bank (1806-1908)
- B. First Bridgeport National Bank (1909-1921)
- C. First National Bank Of Bridgeport (1921-29)
- D. First National Bank And Trust Company Of Bridgeport (1929-1955)
- E. Connecticut National Bank (1955-1982)
Series III: Merger Banks
- A. Hartford National Corporation (1792-1988)
- B. Connecticut National Bank (1806-1982)
Each subseries in Series I and II is divided into several section that delineate Records sharing common functions. Most of these subject headings are also used in the Hartford National Bank and Trust Company collection. These sections are: Financial Records, Corporate Records, Customer Records, Loan Records, Reports, Statements, and Condensed Statements of Condition, Reports on Examination, Advertisements and Promotional Publications, Currency, and Memorabilia.
Section 1: Financial Records, consists of records that document routine accounting and bookkeeping transactions. Such information is normally recorded in day books, fiscal ledgers, account books, income tax records, and cash books.
Section 2: Corporate Records, includes most materials relating to bank ownership and management. These records include charters, articles of association, by-laws, minute books, directors' records, capital stock records, stockholder records, annual reports, merger and consolidation proceedings, stock transfer records, agreements and contracts, insurance policies, miscellaneous subject files, and deeds.
Section 3: Customer Records, primarily consists of correspondence, but may also include checks, checkbooks, or deposit books.
Section 4: Loan Records, includes all documents related to loan transactions such as appraisals of loans, resumes covering loans and related correspondence.
Section 5: Reports, Statements, and Condensed Statements of Conditions, is composed of annual summaries of a bank's resources and liabilities. Resources are cross referenced with liabilities in order to insure that a bank possesses sufficient funds for its various commitments.
Section 6: Reports on Examination, consists of reports produced by professional bank examiners and accountants. A bank employs the services of these outside firms in order to possess clear and concise accounts of their financial transactions. These examinations are then normally used for tax and audit purposes.
Subseries 7: Advertisements and Promotional Publications, includes anniversary materials, newspaper articles, photographs, scrapbooks, published and unpublished works on banks and banking, and related subject files. These records document the important role played by banks in their communities and the image they hoped to portray to their patrons.
Section 8: Currency, consists of printed legal and counterfeit bank notes and currency plates.
Section 9: Memorabilia, includes items such as banks seals, paper weights, coin banks, and plaques.
Both Subseries in Series III contain the records of banks that eventually merged with either the HNC or the CNB. Although these banks also have possessed different names since their initial establishment, only the name that appears most often in the collection's records has been used. Unidentified records and items are located at the end of the second series.
The records of the Hartford National Corporation were donated along with the Hartford National Bank and Trust Company Records to Archives & Special Collections by the Shawmut Corporation in November 1995 at the time of its merger with Fleet Bank (now Bank of America). Later in May 1996, Archives & Special Collections received a smaller shipment of records from Fleet Bank that were integrated with those received during the previous year.
Location of Copies or Alternate Formats
Digital reproductions of materials in this collection may also be found in the Archives & Special Collections digital repository.
- Administrative records Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Banks and banking Subject Source: Fast
- Connecticut (state) Subject Source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
- Corporations Subject Source: Fast
- Correspondence Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Financial records Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Monographs Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Notebooks Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Photographs Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Hartford National Corporation Records
- Archives & Special Collections staff
- 1996 June
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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