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Donald M. Karp's Broad National Bank Collection (1833 - 2004)
RepositoryNewark Public Library, Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center
Collection IDMG BNB
Size17.2 linear feet (19 boxes)
Collection Description
Broad National Bank of Newark was incorporated in 1925 as the Labor Co-Operative National Bank. Arthur A. Quinn, of the American Federation of Labor and a New Jersey State senator from Middlesex, was the bank's first President and Chairman. Among the other twenty-seven incorporators were Newark Police Commissioner William J. Brennan (father of Chief Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.), and various labor leaders including one woman, Melinda Scott of the Organized Textile Workers of America. The original capitalization of the bank was $250,000 and the bank's headquarters were at 9-11 Franklin St., Newark.

Over the years the name of the bank changed several times, as did its headquarters, until it merged with the Independence Community Bank in 1999. Labor Co-Operative National Bank became the Labor National Bank (1927); Union National Bank with headquarters at 214 Market St. (1929); Broad National Bank, Newark when it moved to a newly constructed building at 903-905 Broad St. (1961); and Broad National Bank (1980), which was eventually part of the holding company Broad National Bancorporation. In 2006 Independence Community Bank was sold to Sovereign Bank.

The first officers of the bank included, along with President Quinn, Vice-Presidents Henry Hilfers (Secretary of the NJ State Federation of Labor), Adam Zusi (President of the Essex Trades Council), Silas Scudder, Cashier Charles E. Barthe, and Assistant Cashier William Dunkel, who soon succeeded Barthe and later became Executive Vice-President. Henry Carless, first General Counsel for the bank, was active in drafting state legislation related to the rights of workers and unions, including workmen's compensation regulations.

Among the bank's presidents were Arthur A. Quinn (1925-1947), Newark Mayor Vincent J. Murphy (1947-1951), Edward Slater (1951-1959), Edward Moore, Oliver Herttua, Clair G. Bradley (1970-1975), and Richard P. Garber. Chairmen of the Board were Quinn (1925-1956), William Egan (1956-1960), Milton J. Lesnik (1960-1970), Stanley J. Lesnik (1970-1985), and Donald M. Karp (1985-1999).

Donald M. Karp (b. 1936), a native of Newark and a graduate of the University of Vermont (BA, 1958) and Cornell Law School (JD, 1961), spent the bulk of his career associated with Broad National Bank and its later iterations. Although he practiced law privately until 1991 when he became the Chief Executive Officer of BNB, Karp had been a member of the bank's board since 1972 and had served as BNB's General Counsel. Karp was elected Vice-Chairman of the Board in 1976 and Chairman in 1985. When BNB merged with Independence Community Bank in 1999, Karp continued on the Board as Vice-Chairman. In 2006, when Independence Community Bank was sold to Sovereign Bank, Karp retired, but remained on the board of Sovereign Bank's Divisional Board of New York.

Karp has long been a Newark history buff and a Newark booster. He actively supported Newark's cultural, civic, educational and philanthropic endeavors, as well as Newark business development and he encouraged the officers and employees of the bank to participate in community affairs as well. Among the many institutions with which Karp is or has been involved are: the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (Council of Trustees), Newark Museum (Board member), New Jersey Historical Society (Chairman of the Board), Newark Public Library, Newark Preservation and Landmarks Committee, Newark Conservancy, and New Jersey College of Medicine (Advisory Board).

Milton J. Lesnik (ca.1915-1970), whose daughter Margery is married to Karp, led the transformation of Union National Bank to Broad National Bank, Newark. Lesnik, who was CEO of BNB from 1960 until his death in 1970 had earlier served as counsel of the bank. In the mid-1950s Lesnik purchased a controlling interest in the bank and became Chairman of the Board.
Collection Contents
This collection consists of Federal Bank Examiner's reports, newsletters, scrapbooks, photographs and ephemera related to Broad National Bank.

Newark-related material in the collection includes the following:

Federal Examiner's Reports (1926-1956), frequently including lists of loans with the name of borrower, address, employer and amount and type of loan and collateral; and lengthy comments regarding large loans, especially loans "exceeding legal limit" or real estate loans of "the least desirable / most hazardous categories."

Newsletters include BNB's in-house publication "Broad Views" (1989-1998, with gaps) and newsletters related to two other organizations with which BNB was involved: the Greater Newark Chamber of Commerce (1987-1993, with gaps) and the Ironbound Manufacturers Association (1971-1976, with gaps).

Scrapbooks that largely comprise clippings (regarding the business of the bank, staff, and social affairs related to employees' such as weddings or births); but also include newsletters, those of BNB and other organizations if BNB was mentioned; press releases; advertisements; photographs, including snapshots of BNB parties and outings and more formal photographs of BNB boards, local politicians, and business people.

Photographs taken by professional photographers for publicity or other purposes, the bulk of which are 8" x 10" prints in black and white or color, and snapshots, taken by Donald M. Karp. Subjects include board members, branch openings and staff, and bank buildings under construction or renovation. Also included are photographs of parades, festivals, races, exhibits, and other events in Newark sponsored by BNB or in which BNB staff and their families often participated.

Two videos of Caucus NJ programs related to Newark, and a video related to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) are among the audio/visual material.

Ephemera related to UNB or BNB including cards and invitations, checkbooks, deposits books, pass books, promotional material and stock certificates; and checks, deposit books and pass books related to other banks, particularly Newark banks.
FormatsAudio materials; Moving images; Photographic materials; Textual materials
SubjectsBusiness / Commerce; Labor History; Property / Urban Development
Time Periods19th Century; 20th Century; 21st Century
LanguagesEnglish; Portuguese; Spanish
Access policyOpen for research
Finding AidYes
Finding Aid URL