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A 1958 ad shows a mother smiling at her daughter and the words: Happy Mother's Day.
Services like banking by mail, seen in this 1958 ad, were introduced to save time for busy mothers.
Photo Credit: Wells Fargo Corporate Archives

Helping generations of moms support their families

This Mother’s Day, find out how Wells Fargo has helped moms for 166 years manage their finances and support their families.

May 11, 2018
Alyssa Bentz
Alyssa Bentz

Alyssa Bentz is a Wells Fargo historian.

For 166 years, mothers have turned to Wells Fargo to help them support their families — by sending money, saving for the future, and staying involved in their children’s lives. In celebration of Mother’s Day, we reflect on some of these stories.

In 1887, Sarah Bullard, an African American woman living in Sacramento, California, received a telegram from her son. Robert Bullard had moved to find work in Winnemucca, Nevada, but his message to his mother reflected that things were not going well. “Send twenty-five dollars immediately. Am sick,” read his telegraph. Sarah Bullard left no records of how his telegram made her feel, but most parents can relate to worrying about their child and wanting to find a way to help. Fortunately, Wells Fargo offered a way for Sarah Bullard to get money to her son for medicine quickly and securely.

The 1887 telegraph from Robert Bullard to his mother, Sarah Bullard, and the receipt for the money she sent him for medicine.
The 1887 telegraph from Robert Bullard to his mother, Sarah Bullard, and the receipt for the money she sent him for medicine.
Photo Credit: Wells Fargo Corporate Archives

She used Wells Fargo’s fast money by telegraph service to have the money wired to her son in Winnemucca the following day, instead of waiting days for the money to travel through the mail. Robert Bullard recovered and later moved back to Sacramento, where he lived near his mother for many years.

A mother and child banking at Wells Fargo in the 1970s.
A mother and child banking at Wells Fargo in the 1970s.
Photo Credit: Wells Fargo Corporate Archives

Like Sarah Bullard, other moms also used Wells Fargo to stay connected to their children across long distances. In 1901, 16-year-old Garrie Buckner left home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to attend the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama — today known as the historically black college Tuskegee University — which officially opened on July 4, 1881, with 30 students and Booker T. Washington as its first principal. Buckner’s mother, Eva, bridged the miles between her and her son by sending care packages using Wells Fargo’s express services.

The receipt for the package sent by Eva Buckner to her son Garrie in 1902.
The receipt for the package sent by Eva Buckner to her son Garrie in 1902.
Photo Credit: Wells Fargo Corporate Archives

When daughters and sons moved away from home or were serving in the military, their mothers might also turn to Wells Fargo to help continue holiday traditions. In November 1916, a mother in Harpers Ferry, Iowa, went to a Wells Fargo office to send a chocolate pie with whipped cream topping to her daughter who had moved away to Sioux City, Iowa, on the opposite side of the state. The pie arrived safely, giving the daughter a taste of home on Thanksgiving.

A 1916 ad uses an illustration of a mother sitting at a dinner table with the words: A Thanksgiving Dinner - by Wells Fargo to the Boy at the Front.
This 1916 ad encouraged mothers to use Wells Fargo to reach family during the holidays, including sending packages to children serving abroad in the armed forces.
Photo Credit: Wells Fargo Corporate Archives

Even if their children still lived at or close to home, mothers wanting to save for college expenses or needing extra financial flexibility for things like braces and holiday shopping often looked to Wells Fargo and other banks for guidance.

Louise Albrecht at the Bank of Sheboygan in Wisconsin in 1948.
Louise Albrecht at the Bank of Sheboygan in Wisconsin in 1948.
Photo Credit: Wells Fargo Corporate Archives

Louise Albrecht opened a savings account with the Bank of Sheboygan (today Wells Fargo) in Wisconsin on its opening day in 1873. Seventy-five years later, still a loyal customer, the bank, her accounts, and her family had all grown. During that time, she helped her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren open their own accounts at the bank.

Today, the products and services mothers use may have changed from sending money by telegraph to digital transfers, but one thing remains constant: Wells Fargo continues to provide moms with the tools they need to manage their finances and support their families.

A 1958 ad appearing in Sunset Magazine has a photo of a mother smiling at her child and the headline: To every woman who wishes she had more time for her children.
Services like banking by mail, seen in this 1958 ad, were introduced to save time for busy mothers.
Photo Credit: Wells Fargo Corporate Archives
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