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Oct 10

Kansas Bank Commissioner's Report on Panic of 1893

Posted on October 10, 2019 at 12:45 PM by Bill Sowers


"The Panic of 1893 was a serious economic depression in the United States that began in 1893 and ended in 1897. It deeply affected every sector of the economy, and produced political upheaval that led to the realigning election of 1896 and the presidency of William McKinley." [from: Wikipedia]

In October, 1893, the Kansas Bank Commissioner, John W. Breidenthal, issued a special report in which he defended the state of banking in Kansas. In his letter of transmittal to the governor he states:

"While there is no provision of law requiring a report from this department at this time, the fact that there is a general demand for information in regard to the condition of the banks of Kansas which are under the control of this department, and the further fact that there exists in the minds of many people, particularly in the eastern states, an impression that Kansas has been more seriously affected by the recent financial panic than other portions of the country, lead me to conclude that a report showing the condition of our banks in detail will have a tendency to correct this erroneous impression. I therefore submit a special report, showing the condition of all national, state and private banks doing business in the state of Kansas on the third day of October, 1893, together with a summary of the condition of such banks at other periods during the year, and a statement showing the condition of all banks that have been forced to suspend business during the year."

Breidenthal's report is primarily financial statements of banks across the state: national banks, state banks, private banks, and a list of suspended and closed banks. It's not too interesting other than seeing the scramble of state government to try to quell fears that were very real and the runs on banks occurring throughout the country.

You can find this publication online at the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library:

Special report of the Bank Commissioner of the State of Kansas
to His Excellency the Governor of the State.
October 3, 1893


Here are a few other online resources on the Panic of 1893:

speech by C.W. Trickett, Wyandotte National Bank, Kansas City, Kansas
[online at Kansas Historical Society's Kansas Memory website]

Federal Reserve System History website

by Hugh Rockoff
Journal of Political Economy, vol.98, 1998
(The article includes references to possible influences of the 1893 Panic on L. Frank Baum's writings)