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Guide to the Albert M. Bender Papers, 1920-1941
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The archive consists mainly of correspondence to Albert M. Bender; generally there are no carbons or copies of his letters.
Albert M. Bender was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1866 and died in San Francisco, California in 1941. He came to San Francisco when he was sixteen and started out as an errand boy in the insurance business. Bender was an insurance broker by profession, a patron of the arts, and trustee of Mills College. He was so widely known and respected that a letter addressed simply "Saint Albert of San Francisco" once reached him through the U.S. Mail. He had friends of distinguished reputation throughout California and indeed throughout the world."This brings up the matter of AMB's correspondence. He probably gets more letters from a greater variety of people and on a wider variety of subjects than anybody else in the country. Visitors to his office frequently have trouble finding him at all, so high are the accumulations of correspondence on his desk, his table, the tops of his bookcases and filing cabinets and, not infrequently, on all the chairs. The overflow he stuffs into his pockets, which are, consequently, always bulging. AMB professes to find this avalanche of mail a sore trial, but one observes that whenever the postman brings in a new batch his eyes light up and he can't open it fast enough. The new letters are tossed on top of those that came in the last mail, and they are covered up in turn when the next arrive.... His letters are not only read and lost; they are also answered, and not with perfunctory notes. His replies probably average about a page and a half each, single-spaced. All this refers to his normal correspondence. Around Christmas time the flow both of incoming and outgoing mail much increases. AMB's orders for Christmas cards are said to run into the thousands."
Contact the Special Collections Curator, F.W. Olin Library, Northeastern University (Oakland) for copyright information and permission to publish.
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