Francis Bannerman family photographsCreation: circa 1870-1970 Creation: Majority of material found within 1969-1970
Francis Bannerman Son was a major purveyor of military goods to sportsmen and collectors in New York City over three generations. The collection consists of photographs of Francis Bannerman and his family, including his wife, Helen "Nellie" Boyce Bannerman (1852-1931), and his sons, Francis VII (1873-1946) and David (1875-1957). The collection also includes photographs of Bannerman's Island Arsenal, including images of the 1969 fire in full blaze and its destructive aftermath.
- Creation: circa 1870-1970
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1969-1970
0.25 Linear Feet
General Physical Description
167 photographic prints : b&w ; 24 x 28.7 cm or smaller.
Francis Bannerman Son was a major purveyor of military goods to sportsmen and collectors in New York City over three generations.
The firm was founded in 1865 by Francis Bannerman VI (1851-1918) and his wife Helen "Nellie" Boyce Bannerman (1852-1931) as an offshoot of his family's ship chandlery and military salvage business located near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. His father, Francis Bannerman V (circa 1820-1872), had first purchased military goods at scrap prices in the demobilization at the end of the Civil War. Francis VI began by selling potatoes and apples in season, along with hardware purchased at government auctions. By 1880, he was selling mostly government surplus arms and military supplies. Around 1890, Bannerman acquired the Spencer Arms Company, manufacturers of repeating shotguns. He moved his store to Manhattan in 1897, where it soon became noteworthy as a museum of modern and antique weaponry and military memorabilia. To store his vast quantities of arms and ammunition, Bannerman bought Pollepel Island in the Hudson River Highlands in 1900 and erected Bannerman's Island Arsenal and a summer residence, patterned after the castles of the family's native Scotland.
On January 1, 1917, Bannerman turned the business over to his sons Francis VII (1873-1946) and David (1875-1957) as the partnership of Francis Bannerman Sons. In 1958, David's son Charles S. Bannerman (1905-1976) incorporated the business and became president, but he was a relatively passive representative of the family interest, the day-to-day affairs being in the hands of career employees. The business was downsized and moved to Long Island the following year. Pollepel Island was sold to the state in 1967, and the buildings were gutted by fire in 1969.
Scope and Content
Fewer than twenty pictures in this collection feature Francis Bannerman or his family. Among these are individual portraits of Francis at his Broadway office, several group shots of Bannnerman's sons and grandchildren and portraits of Bannerman's wife and son David. The majority of the images in this collection depict Bannerman's Island Arsenal, the castle-like warehouse and summer retreat built by Francis Bannerman on the Hudson to house his collections of military memorabilia. These photographs were taken after the island and castle had been sold to the State of New York and had been gutted by a massive fire in 1969. A few of the photographs show the arsenal in full blaze, while the majority focus on the post-fire damage and disrepair of the island in the early 1970s.
No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
Bannerman family records (Accession 2210), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.
- Bannerman's Island Arsenal (Fishkill, N.Y.) (Organization)
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Francis Bannerman family photographs
- Lisa Gensel and encoded by Karen Hansen
- Description rules:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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