Tuesday, March 02, 2010

1st National Bank & Bunky

In 1939 the 1st National Bank published an excellent 64 page booklet called Fifty Years Forward which not only commemorated its 50th anniversary as an Oklahoma City banking institution but also contained lengthy excerpts from "Bunky's" The First Eight Months of Oklahoma City (McMaster Printing Company 1890), a then-contemporary history of Oklahoma City's 1st 8 months, published in 1890. This booklet is one of the neat purchases I made at the Abalache Book Shop on Exchange Avenue a couple of weeks ago.

This article presents all 64 pages of 1st National's commemorative booklet. Beyond that, it presents information about Bunky and contains the full content of his 1890 publication. To read all of Bunky's work, go to this later post for the full booklet.

Fifty Years Forward. 1st National's booklet consists of two parts. First, following a brief introduction, pages 3-45 contain excerpts from the booklet, The First Eight Months of Oklahoma City by "Bunky" (McMaster Printing Company 1890). Second, pages 46-64 trace the history of the First National Bank from the Land Run through 1939. Every page in the booklet contains either a drawing of a historical scene, building, or person, OR it contains a photograph of 1st National as it existed in and around 1939.

The constraints of blogger software aren't good for presenting larger scale single-topic presentations like this one is meant to be. My work-around is to create files external to the blog which present 1st National's booklet in both HTML and PDF formats both of which are linked to in this article, after the explanation below.

The HTML presentation contains a home page with links to each separate page, allowing you to move page by page through the booklet.

The PDF version is fully bookmarked and presents everything in a single file and one that you can save to your computer. It is best for printing should you want to do that. But it is large ... 34.5 MB ... and it will take some time to download.

Click a link below for what you want to do ...

Open HTML version   Open PDF version
Only Look at Photos   Just Read Bunky's Stuff

Photos From Fifty Years Forward. In addition to the sketches of people, places, and events shown on each page, the booklet contains eight photos showing First National (or its president) in 1939. Click on any small image below for a 1024 px wide version of the same.
1st of 4 Cameron Murals
The Run

2nd of 4 Cameron Murals
The Run

3rd of 4 Cameron Murals
Louisiana Transfer

4th of 4 Cameron Murals
Sunset Trail

Christmas At Night
1st National
Hugh M. Johnson, President
Great Banking Hall

Full Text of Bunky's First Eight Months of Oklahoma City. First things first: Who Was Bunky? The author's real name was Irving Geffs. Luther B. Hill's 1908 A History of the State of Oklahoma, Vol. I (1908), pages 218-219, says this about the author of First Eight Months of Oklahoma City:
This unique little book, printed at Oklahoma City in 1890, containing 110 pages in pamphlet form, was written by "Bunky," and aside from this name the historian gave no hint of his own individuality. His real name was Irving Geffs. Some time before the incidents which he describes he had taken too much liquor, and on recovering his senses found that he was a regularly enlisted soldier of the United States army, a position for which he had no special liking, but it was several years before he was able to get out. He was with the infantry that camped at Oklahoma City the day before the opening, and on leaving the army remained in the city for some time. He was a left-handed scribe, a clever writer, and was in the employ of some of the first newspapers of the city, especially with Frank McMaster.
McMaster was publisher of early-day newspaper, The Oklahoma Gazette, and was publisher of Bunky's booklet.

A reader of Bunky's work would do well to differentiate between what Bunky reports as fact and what he reports as opinion. It is easy enough for an objective reader to see that he was a "homer" – his reports are much too glowing and also report much too little on any negative aspects of the 1st 8 months in Oklahoma City to be taken at face value as literally correct. He also wholly misstates facts in at least one instance -- his closing description of the attempt to create a successful electricity-producing canal was written as though it was a huge success, but the truth is that it proved to be a huge failure. So, read Bunky with your eyes wide open.

Readers should understand that the PDF file linked to below may not exactly contain the exact original document published by McMaster Printing Company in 1890, even if it almost completely does so. After the 1890 publication, the work was republished in 1939 by the Trave-Taylor Company, and, most recently in 1989 was republished by HISTREE in a rendition by Larry S. Watson. Excerpts from the original document appear in various sources, notably in the First National Bank's Fifty Years Forward in 1939.

The original was also republished in 1988 by the Women's Posse of the Westerners and since writing this piece I've come to own a copy, have scanned it, and it is available for you here.

Additionally, at www.okgenweb.org/books/okc/index.htm, Bill Hallman has reduced to text what is presumably (although it is not so stated) the original version of the booklet — and from Hallman's rendition the file produced here, with substantial formatting and modest technical corrections, is derived and is presented.

Click here to open the PDF file, or click the image below.

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Dwayne "the canoe guy" said...

I nabbed this in a thrift store last year for 10 cents. It was an awesome find.

Doug Dawg said...

Which booklet did you get? Either way, for 10 cents ... amazing!

Felcy said...

What an exciting experience!/Hilarious! Delightful! True!/wonderful stuff! thank you!
Booklet Printing