Henry Whitefield Yates [RG2854.AM]


RG2854.AM:  Henry Whitefield Yates, 1837-1915

Papers:  1856-1915
Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska:  Banker
Size:  0.75 cu.ft; 1 box; 1 oversize volume; 1 reel of microfilm


Henry W. Yates, son of William Joseph and Julia Norris Yates, was born at Leonard Town, Maryland, in January of 1837.  He attended common schools in Washington, D.C., and worked as a clerk in a country store from age fourteen until he reached the age of twenty-one.  He then headed west, working as a bookkeeper in mercantile houses in St. Louis and St. Joseph, Missouri, from 1858 until 1861, when his employer, Nave, McCord & Co., sent him with a steamer load of groceries to open a branch store in Omaha.  In 1862, he returned to the main offices in Missouri, and there he married Eliza Barr Samuel.  In 1863, he entered the banking firm of Kountze Bros. in Omaha, as a bookkeeper and cashier. In this capacity, he drew up the papers for organization under the national banking laws, and was awarded a share of bank stock.  The First National Bank opened for business in August 1863.  Yates remained with the firm as director and cashier until 1882, when he sold his interests, resigned and organized the Nebraska National Bank in partnership with A.E. Touzalin, general manager of the Burlington & Missouri River Railway. 

In 1883 he became president of the Nebraska National Bank, and remained in that position until his death.  Yates, again served continuously in different capacities with that firm as well.  He was a charter member of the Omaha Club, the Commercial Club, and the Omaha Board of Trade.  One of the earliest members of the American Bankers Association, he was the Nebraska vice-president for several years.  He was an organizer of the State Bankers Association of Nebraska, and an officer of the Omaha Clearing House Association.  Henry Yates was an able and ardent supporter of bimetallism, and wrote pamphlets, delivered addresses, and wrote articles on the subject over a long period of years.  He also wrote the chapter on “History of Banking in the United States,” and the history of Nebraska banking included in Morton’s “History of Nebraska.”  Henry W. Yates died at his home in Omaha in 1915.


This collection consists of the papers of Henry Whitefield Yates, mostly relating to his career in banking.  The material consists of scrapbooks, personal and business papers, and various materials relating to Dome Lake, Wyoming.  The materials in the collection date from 1856 to 1976.

The bulk of the collection consists of two scrapbooks in which are assembled pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and copies of correspondence.  All of this material up to the last eight pages of the second scrapbook relates to the monetary issue, and particularly to Yates’ own views on the subject.  The pamphlets are by Yates, and the clippings reflect a running debate, which Yates carried on with others through the newspapers.  The last part of scrapbook 2 is devoted to biographical material and obituaries of Henry W. Yates.

Also included in the collection, are folders containing correspondence, receipts, miscellaneous writings, stock certificates made out to Yates, and legal papers relating to construction and lands of railroad lines in which Yates apparently had an interest.  Included in the stock certificates is a $1,000 share in the stock of the Omaha City Company, undated.  The last folder of miscellany includes Yates’ certificate of membership on the Omaha Board of Trade, dated January 1867.

Received after the bulk of the collection was processed is a minute book for the board of directors of the Nebraska National Bank dating from 1882 to 1918.  Also added later was a reel of microfilm containing materials relating to Yates’ visits to Dome Lake, Wyoming.

Note:  See the photo and audio components [RG2854.PH/AU] for related items.


Box 1

  1. Scrapbook 1 (Pamphlets, addresses and related material only are listed; pagination is not original but has been assigned to assist in locating materials)

p. 9 - “The Silver Question - Its Relation to Our National Finances,” Iowa Bankers’ Association, Proceedings, 1893
p. 13 - “Silver and Democracy,” Omaha, 1894
p. 15 - “Early Nebraska Currency and Per Capita Circulation,” Nebraska State Historical Society, Proceedings and Collections, Volume 1, No. 2, 2nd series, October 1, 1894
p. 17 - “Free Silver Fallacies,” The American Banker, June 5, 1895
p. 18 - “The Money Question in the West,” The American Banker, July 10, 1895
p. 22 - Copy of a letter to S.A. Robinson of New York relating Yates’ views on financial legislation, dated December 7, 1895
p. 22 - “Capital and Currency,” The New Nation, Volume 1, No. 9-10, April and May 1896
p. 28 - “National Banking,” apparently a draft of an article published in the Omaha Bee, October 11, 1896
p. 28 - “Money and Business,” delivered to the Non-Partisan League in Omaha, October 26, 1896
p. 29 - Remarks on the St. John Resolutions, delivered to an unspecified meeting of the American Bankers’ Association
p. 29 - Copy of a letter to Sen. Charles N. Fowler disagreeing with his proposed currency legislation, dated June 29, 1897
p. 29 - “Funding the Debt - Credit Currency,” Bankers Magazine, August 1897
p. 30 - Copy of a letter to Sen. D.H. Mercer containing remarks on the proposals of the Indianapolis Monetary Convention, dated February 9, 1898
p. 35 - “Early Currency Banking in Nebraska,” The Chicago Banker, n.d.
p. 38 - “Central Reserve Banks - Asset Currency - Emergency Circulation,” Bankers Magazine, 1902
p. 39 - “Against Branch Banks,” address to the Joint Bankers Associations at Kansas City, 1902
p. 39 - Address on branch banks and asset currency, delivered to the Indiana Bankers Association in 1902
p. 40 - “The Fowler and Aldrich Bills and the Public Credit,” address to Nebraska Bankers Association, 1903
p. 42 - “Group Systems of Bank Associations,” address to Colorado Banker’s Association, 1905

  1. Scrapbook 2

p. 2 - “Panic Preventions and Cures,” The American Academy of Political and Social Science, Annals, March 1908
p. 2 - “Against Deposits Guaranty,” address to Group One Nebraska Bankers Association, June 17, 1908
p. 7 - “Against a Central Bank,” reprint from the Chicago Banker, 1909, 1910
p .7 - “A Negative View of the Central Bank Question,” Banking Law Journal, 1909
p. 8 - “Money, Credit and Currency,” remarks on the Aldrich Plan, 1911
p. 10 - “Objections to the Aldrich Banking and Currency Plan,” a condensation of Yates’ remarks, 1911
p. 10 - “The New Aldrich Currency Plan,” reviewed and criticized, 1911
p. 10 - “The Aldrich Plan and the Farmer,” delivered to the Farmers’ Congress, published January 1912
p. 10 - “Reply to the National Citizens League,” Chicago Banker, 1912
p. 10 - “Separate Reserve Associations,” Chicago Banker, 1912
p. 10 - Copy of a letter to Dr. Flavious J. Van Vorhees relating to the currency question, dated October 22, 1912
p. 12 - “Lost Landmarks,” address to the Mississippi Valley Historical Association, May 1913
p. 13 - “Country Banks and the Currency Bill,” reprint from Omaha World-Herald, September 1913

  1. Correspondence, 1856-1865
  2. Railroad land and construction agreements, 1876 and 1877
  3. Stock certificates, 1883-1904 and n.d.
  4. Miscellaneous writings, 1892, 1976
  5. Receipts, 1865-1869
  6. Miscellany, 1866-1896

Nebraska National Bank, Board of Directors minutes, 1882-1918 (see oversize)

Microfilm reel of Dome Lake, Wyoming materials including:

  1. History of Dome Lake, 1891-1915
  2. Diaries of Henry W. Yates, Jr. concerning trips to Dome Lake over 1899, 1900, 1901 and 1902.  Including notes on the climbing of Clouds Peak, 1902
  3. Three photo albums on Dome Lake area, 1899-1947 and 1962
  4. Map of Dome Lake Club
  5. Miscellany


Subject headings:

Banks and banking -- Nebraska
Currency question -- United States
Dome Lake (Wyoming) -- Description and travel
Douglas County (Nebraska) -- History
Nebraska National Bank (Omaha, Nebraska)
Omaha (Nebraska) -- History
Silver question
Yates, Henry Whitefield, 1837-1915


DAB/HEK/ab       01-30-1967
Revised TMM      11-19-2019

Become a History Nebraska Member Today

Learn More