Scope and Contents note
Title: Atlas Savings & Loan Collection
Date (inclusive): 1979-1990
Collection Identifier: GLC 48
Atlas Savings & Loan
1.0 cubic ft.
James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA, 94102
The collection contains a small amount of Atlas Savings & Loan business correspondence and records including bylaws, publicity,
promotional materials, mailings to shareholders. Atlas Savings & Loan Association was the first financial institution established
by and for gays and lesbians in the United States.
Collection is stored onsite.
Language of Materials: Collection materials are in
The collection is open for research. Please call the San Francisco History Center for hours and information at 415-557-4567.
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission
for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.
[Identification of item], Atlas Savings & Loan Collection (GLC 48), Gay and Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library.
The Atlas Savings & Loan Collection was donated to The San Francisco Public Library by Lester Bruno in 1997. Subsequently,
Jim Van Buskirk donated a bank book, Roy Johnson donated a $1 bill signed by Atlas board members and 2 T-shirts were added
courtesy of the San Francisco Gay, Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Historical Society of Northern California. In April 2011,
Donald R. Reed donated two stock certificates.
Atlas Savings & Loan Association was the first financial institution established by gays and lesbians in the United States.
John Schmidt, its chairman, along with ten gay directors, including two women, formed Atlas in 1980 in San Francisco. The
savings and loan opened for business in November 1981 and identified the gay and lesbian community as its primary market.
In August 1982 Atlas opened a branch on 18th and Castro Streets and by January 1985 had three branches in San Francisco. By
June 1985 Atlas began to suffer as a result of bad construction loans, joint ventures and shared loans with two other savings
and loans. In August 1985 Atlas was declared insolvent. The Federal Home Loan Bank Board took control of the savings and loan
in July 1986 and its assets were sold to Empire Savings of New York.
In September 1986 the Federal Bureau of Investigation began conducting an inquiry into allegations of wrong-doing by former
senior management as part of its investigation into three other failed savings and loan associations in Northern California.
A group of former Atlas shareholders sued John Schmidt and its auditing firm, Price Waterhouse, in 1989 claiming that they
were misled as to Atlas' financial condition. In 1990 Empire of America Bank (formerly Empire Savings of New York) was placed
Scope and Contents note
The collection contains a small amount of business correspondence and records including bylaws, publicity, promotional materials,
mailings to shareholders and stock certificates. There is good press coverage of Atlas through the years especially its opening
in 1981 and its financial difficulties in 1985 and 1986. In addition there is a lot of memorabilia and giveaways with the
The collection is arranged in three series: Series 1: Business Records and Communications; Series 2: Subject Files; and Series
3: Memorabilia. The material in each series is organized alphabetically by title.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Atlas Savings & Loan. -- Archives
Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Historical Society of Northern California.
Reed, Donald R.
Schmidt, John A.
Van Buskirk, Jim
Financial institutions--California--San Francisco
Gay business enterprises--California--San Francisco
Savings and loan association failures--California--San Francisco
Savings and loan associations--California--San Francisco