The Provident Bank Donates at 19th Century Map, Books & Other Materials to the NJ Room

JERSEY CITY, NJ   June 12, 2012 – Pieces of the historical puzzle that bind The Provident Bank and the City of Jersey City now become part of the Jersey City Free Public Library, for their preservation and for all to see.

All items being donated to the New Jersey Room of the Jersey City Free Public Library are property of The Provident Bank and were accumulated in the course of its 173 years of banking.

“Provident and Jersey City share more than a connection with Dudley Gregory, Provident’s first acting president and Jersey City’s first mayor. The Provident Bank shares a rich history with the City of Jersey City: its businesses, its peoples, its successes and its challenges. We take pride in this shared history, and we are delighted that we can share our treasure trove of historical information with the residents of Jersey City through the Jersey City Public Library,” said Jean Quinn, vice president, public relations, The Provident Bank.

Also representing The Provident was Nicholas Cavaluzzi, vice president and area manager, Jersey City.

“The Provident Bank has been with us from the beginning, so it’s only fitting that we preserve its history,” said Library Director Priscilla Gardner. “The Provident continually offers the Library support through donations to various capital improvement projects.” In recent years, The Provident Bank Foundation has donated the following: $5,000 for the Five Corners Branch computer training center and $10,000 toward the capital improvement plan, both in 2004; $20,000 toward the 2008 purchase of the custom-designed and –built Bookmobile, and $15,000 toward purchase and installation of security cameras throughout the system in 2009.

For the latest on programs, events, and special announcements please follow the Library on Facebook or Twitter at Jersey City Free Public Library. Visit us on the web at www.jclibrary.org for all information on the Library, including all press releases in The Press Room. As of today, June 12, 2012, the Jersey City Free Public Library has 214,249 valid card members.

 

BACKGROUND – THE PROVIDENT BANK: The Provident Institution for Savings in Jersey City was founded in 1839 to meet the needs of the residents of the fledging city and its growing immigrant population. It was a difficult time for banking and it is highly doubtful the founders were thinking beyond survival the first few months and years.

While these archival documents would have been found laughable if someone had predicted the bank would be in existence 173 years hence, certainly it would seem that no thought was given to preserving the records and tools used in their normal work-a-day world beyond the legal requirements of the day.

The Provident Bank historical collection came into existence in late 2008. Preparations were underway to celebrate its 170-year anniversary in February 2009, and this heighted the collective sense of history. It began with a telephone call received during a departmental holiday lunch. A man asked if Vice President, Public Relations Jean Quinn had a key to a Santa Claus bank that Provident had distributed to customers, possibly in the 1950s. She did not have a key. Ms. Quinn shared the story with The Provident’s then-Chairman Paul Pantozzi. It prompted him to ask her to gather the old bank ledgers that were scattered throughout their numerous Hudson County branches. This began the preservation of Provident’s history. This new responsibility piqued Ms. Quinn’s interest in the Bank’s history and led to an interest in the history of Jersey City.

Provident and Jersey City share more than a connection with Dudley Gregory, The Provident’s first acting president and Jersey City’s first mayor. The Provident Bank shares a rich history with the City of Jersey City: its businesses, its peoples, its successes and its challenges. We take pride in this shared history, and we are delighted that we can share our treasure trove of historical information with the residents of Jersey City through the Jersey City Public Library.

HISTORICAL LINK BETWEEN THE PROVIDENT AND THE LIBRARY:

Chronicled in the commemorative book, Fifty Years of Service 1891-1941, A brief history of the Library compiled by the Librarian for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the opening of the Library, held on November 6 and 7, 1941, the Jersey City Free Public Library reveals a little-known fact: Provident was instrumental in establishing one of the Jersey City’s most cherished institutions.

“On December 1, 1890 the ground floor of the building of the Provident Institution for Savings on Washington Street was rented for a library….About this time the books of the Public School Free Library, numbering about five thousand volumes which had been kept in the High School, were transferred to the Trustees of the Public Library and were placed in the new library rooms on Washington Street….

“All of the library departments except the reading room were located in the basement of the building of the Provident Institution for Savings. This basement was about four feet below the sidewalk with an entrance on Washington Street….Because of its location and small size this space was dubbed “the coop” a distinction which continued until the library was moved. The librarian’s office was to the right of the entrance….The basement was lighted by windows along the south side facing and on a level with the adjoining park which occupied the corner of Grand and Washington Streets. At night time the book stacks and the rooms were lighted by gas. The fixtures were fitted with Welsbach burners. These burners gave an excellent light when properly adjusted….”

According to the book written in 1895, History of Jersey City, N.J., A Record of Its Early Settlement and Corporate Progress, by Alexander McLean, the library began from interested parties from within the school system after passage of a law in 1873 for boards of education to be authorized for establishment of free libraries. In November 1890, the “….old public school library, consisting of 5,631 volumes, was transferred to the public library trustees. These books formed the basis for the new library. The labor of buying and catalogueing (sic) the books required time, ….”

 

Donation to be made to the Jersey City Library on Tuesday, June 12, 2012

MAP

Topographical Map of Jersey City and Hoboken and Adjacent Area

From an actual survey dated 1841

Published by Benj. Demarest, 170 Fulton Street, New York 1876

Framed color map under glass measures 54 inches wide by 34 inches high

 

BOOKS

The Provident Institution for Savings in Jersey City 1839 – 1939:

The Old Bee Hive (Hardcover)

A chronological history of the growth and development of the Provident Institution for Savings Commemorating its one hundred years of service savings in Jersey City

Author:  The Provident Institution for Savings in Jersey City

Publisher: Self Published

Copyright: 1939

 

An American Success Story 1839-1989 (2 copies - Paper)

Author: The Provident Savings Bank

Publisher: Self Published

Copyright: 1989

 

The History of Jersey City (2 copies –one Hardcover, one Paper)

Author: J. Owen Grundy

Publisher: Walter E. Knight

Copyright: 1976

 

New Jersey-Crossroads of Commerce (2 copies - Hardcover)

Author: Helen-Chantal Pike

Publisher: Cherbo Publishing Group

Copyright: 2008

 

PAMPHLET

Murals in Main Office of The Provident Institution for Savings in Jersey City

Author: The Provident Institution for Savings in Jersey City

Publisher: Self Published

Copyright: 1949 (to be confirmed)

 

PHOTOGRAPHS

8 x 10 black & white photographs of 239 Washington Street

8 x 10 black & white photographs of murals depicted in Pamphlet described above

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The Main Library & all branches will be closed Wednesday, December 24 & Thursday, December  25, 2014 for the Christmas Holiday.

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