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Francis Bannerman family photographs

circa 1870-1970 bulk 1969-1970
Accession: 2001-229


Francis Bannerman Sons 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, Nelly Boyce Bannerman, and his sons, David and Francis. The collection also includes photographs of Bannerman's Island Arsenal, including images of the 1969 fire in full blaze and its destructive aftermath.


  • circa 1870-1970
  • bulk 1969-1970



0.25 Linear Feet

General Physical Description

167 photographic prints : b&w ; 24 x 28.7 cm or smaller.

Biographical Note

Francis Bannerman (1851-1918) was a major purveyor of military goods to sportsmen and collectors in New York City, a business his family operated for three generations. Bannerman orginally worked for his father, who had purchased surplus military goods at scrap prices in the demobilization at the end of the Civil War. Bannerman went into business for himself in October 1872. Bannerman prospered and moved his store from Brooklyn to Manhattan in 1897, turning it into a showpiece 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 in 1908 erected a summer residence and Bannerman's Island Arsenal, patterned after the castles of the family's native Scotland.

On January 1, 1917, Bannerman conveyed the business to his sons Francis (1873-1945) and David (1875-1957) as Francis Bannerman Sons. The business was downsized and moved to Long Island in 1959. Pollepel Island was sold to the state in 1967, but 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.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Related Material

Francis Bannerman Sons, Inc. photograph collection (Accession 1998.284), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Bannerman family records (Accession 2210), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Language of Materials


Additional Information

Related Names


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Francis Bannerman family photographs
Lisa Gensel and encoded by Karen Hansen
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Audiovisual Collections Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA