History of A.S. Pratt & Sons
A.S. Pratt & Sons dates back to 1867, when Adam S. Pratt started in business as a Washington agent for national banks. The National Bank Act, enacted during the Civil War, required each national bank to maintain an agent in Washington, in part because the Treasury issued currency with each national bank's name printed on it. The amount of such currency each bank could legally issue was closely controlled, and the bank's agent personally witnessed the printing of new currency and the destruction of old currency, so the Treasury and the bank were always in accord on how much currency each bank had outstanding.
As time on, the use of checking accounts largely superseded the practice of banks issuing their own currency, and the practice of printing currency for individual banks was finally ended during the Depression. By that time, the company had entered other lines of business, including advising banks on investment policies; compiling and publishing laws, rulings, and regulations of interest to banks: and (during the Depression) serving as a consultant in the liquidation of failed banks. Only the publishing function continues today.
The late C. Harrison Mann (a name some of our older subscribers may remember) started writing Pratt's Letter as a young attorney during the Depression, originally as an employee of AS Pratt & Sons. He gradually acquired stock in the business from Pratt family members until he owned it all; it was from his heirs that Sheshunoff Infomation Services bought the company. The company was always small, so small, in fact that the publication of Pratt’s Letter was simply suspended for a time during World War II for the simple reason that Mr. Mann was called to military duty. He wrote a letter to his subscribers announcing that "Pratt’s Letter has gone to war," and they all accepted his offer to fulfill the remainder of their subscriptions after he returned from service as a Marine Corps officer in the South Pacific.
The Federal Banking Law Service grew out of a nineteenth-century publication called Pratt’s Digest (meaning a digest of the rulings of the Comptroller of the Currency). That book, first published annually, eventually evolved into today's Bank Compliance Expert - CD ROM reference tool. Bank Wage-Hour and Personnel Service was developed about 1950 by Mr. Mann.
In July 1997, A. S. Pratt & Sons acquired 38 banking-related publications from Warren, Gorham & Lamont, including the industry's classic Brady on Bank Checks. By combining WG&L’s banking publications with the existing A.S. Pratt publications, we are able to provide expanded resources to our clients.
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