Human Nature As Seen In A Safe Deposit Vault

In this article, an officer in charge of safe deposit vaults at a large bank discusses the various personalities he encounters at the bank. One example:

“A man prominent in the New York business world — you’d know him, too, if I were to mention his name — came here and rented a box. Unquestionably he had others elsewhere, but he took one here just the same, and among the things he put in it was a package of new-crisp bank bills — there was probably $30,000.

“I don’t know — nor care, for that matter — what people place in their boxes. It’s not my business to know; but this particular man did not hesitate to let me understand just what was in his. In fact, I rather think he wanted me to know that he had money in it, for it subsequently developed that he felt there would come a time during the panic when ready cash would be mighty hard to get and he was taking time by the forelock, as it were.

“Well, he would come in very often — about once a week — get out his box and place it before him on my desk instead of going to one of the booths as most people do.

“Then he’d take out the bills and count them over a couple of times, a smile on his face during all of the procedure. When finished, he would return the box to its little space, but before actually locking the door would pull out the box about three times, lift the lid, gaze fondly at the stack of bills, and then gently, even lovingly, pet them.”

Another man kept an “old-fashioned daguerrotype” photo of his mother in a safe deposit box. He would visit the photo and get teary-eyed. “It was the picture of one of the sweetest and quaintest looking women I have ever seen, and dressed in the style of half a century ago.”

HUMAN NATURE AS SEEN IN A SAFE DEPOSIT VAULT: Queer Traits of Character Shown by Owners of Boxes That Furnish an Odd Series of Stories (PDF)

From June 12, 1910

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