Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America
Archives related to: Huntington, Collis Potter, 1821-1900
|title||Collis Potter Huntington Papers, 1797-1904.||repository||Syracuse University Libraries|
|collection title||The Collis P. Huntington Papers have been arranged into four series: Incoming correspondence (1856-1904), Letterpress copy books (1868-1901), Legal and financial records (1797-1901), and Personal papers (1862-1901). Each of these series is described in detail below.|
By far the most important and most voluminous parts of this collection consists of Huntington's business and personal correspondence, contained in Series I and II -- some 129,000 pages of incoming correspondence, 1856-1904, and some 112,000 pages of letterpress copy books (259 volumes) of outgoing correspondence, 1868-1901. The correspondents are primarily railroad financiers, officials and administrators, congressmen, lobbyists, industrialists, bankers, lawyers and engineers. A summary of the contents of the correspondence by decade is given below, and a selected index to correspondents is also available.
The highlight of the correspondence comprises the letters of Huntington and those of his five main associates, David D. Colton, Charles Crocker, Edwin B. Crocker, Mark Hopkins, and Leland Stanford. The correspondence of these six men opens in 1868 and continues to the years of their deaths. Their letters deal with both business and personal matters including construction, maintenance and operation of their railroads, and their problems in public relations and legislative restrictions. Important correspondents include the following:
Anthony, Susan B.
Armstrong, Samuel Chapman
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad
Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co.
Axtel, Samuel B.
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co.
Barney & Smith Manufacturing Co.
Blaine, James G.
Bloss, John B.
California Pacific Railroad
Central Land Company of West Virginia
Central Pacific Railroad Co.
Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Co.
Colton, David D.
Crocker, Charles Frederick
Crocker, Edwin B.
Elizabethtown, Lexington & Big Sandy Railroad
Emmons, D. W.
Field, Cyrus W.
Fisk & Hatch
Gates, Isaac E.
Gorham, George C. Grant, Ulysses S.
Gray, George E.
Hampton Normal & Agricultural Institute
Huntington, Henry E.
Ingalls, Melville E.
Kentucky Central Railroad Co.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Miller, E. H., Jr.
Mills, William H.
Newport News & Mississippi Valley Co.
Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.
New York Central & Hudson River Railroad Co.
Occidental & Oriental Steamship Co.
Old Dominion Land Co.
Old Dominion Steamship Co.
Pacific Improvement Co.
Pacific Mail Steamship Co.
Pennsylvania Railroad Co.
Pullman, George M.
Sargent, Aaron A.
Seligman, J.& W., Co.
Southern Development Co.
Southern Pacific Co.
Southern Pacific Railroad Co. of California
Speyer & Co.
Towne, Alban N.
Tweed, Charles H.
Union Pacific Railroad Co.
Washington, Booker T.
Wells, Fargo & Co.
Westinghouse, George, Jr.
Incoming correspondence, 1856-1904 (microfilm reels 1 - 54), is arranged chronologically by year, month, and day, with undated items placed at the end of the month, year, or at the end of all the correspondence. Enclosures were microfilmed following their letter of transmittal. Included with the incoming correspondence are postcards, telegrams and cablegrams, telegraph tapes, memoranda, abstracts of letters, printed notices in letter form, and letters forwarded to Huntington by members of his staff.
Although the incoming correspondence begins in 1856, the bulk of the correspondence starts in 1867 and 1868. Incoming letters are addressed primarily to Huntington, with others addressed to Isaac Edwin Gates, his brother-in-law and private secretary, or to members of his New York office staff.
Over the years, Huntington's correspondence indicates the use of several cipher systems. Although the cipher code books are not available in this microfilm edition, there are many letters with word keys to Substitution codes. Cipher telegrams are generally accompanied by a translation.
Aside from the incoming correspondence, other locations in the collection contain correspondence. Correspondence relating to particular pieces of real estate and court cases was filed with these records in Series III. Series IV, Personal Papers, includes an autobiographical letter written by Huntington in 1899. This series also contains four printed volumes (90A-D) of Huntington's correspondence with his business associates.
Letterpress Copy Books, 1868-1901 (microfilm reels 1 - 35) contain copies of outgoing correspondence, 1868-1901. Nearly every volume has an alphabetical index arranged by last name or business name of the addressee. Each index was microfilmed at the beginning of each volume. The volumes are arranged into 34 groups (i.e., company or individual name) and then chronologically within each group. Only in a very few instances is this chronological order disrupted by a missing volume.
The 34 groups of letterpress copy books vary in size. Five of these groups concern the almost day-to-day accounts of the building of the Central Pacific Railroad: Central Pacific Railroad Company, Vols. 1 - 19; Central Pacific Railroad Company (Collis P. Huntington to Charles Crocker, Charles F. Crocker, Mark Hopkins, Leland Stanford, et. al.), Vols. 20 - 36; Central Pacific Railroad Company (Isaac E. Gates), Vols. 45 - 110; Contracting and Building Company, Vols 141 - 149; and telegrams, Vols. 257 - 259.
Other significant groups of letterpress copy books relate to the Chesapeake Dry Dock and Construction Company, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, the Southern Pacific Company, and the Elizabethtown, Lexington and Big Sandy Railroad Company. A complete citation for each volume can be found in the Complete Reel List (available in hard copy only, please contact the repository listed above for more information).
Legal and Financial Records, 1797-1901 (microfilm reels 1 - 23) includes material previously from the years 1863-1901. This series is divided into two sections, namely, Corporate, 1869-1900, and Personal, 1797-1901.
Corporate records, 1869-1900, include financial and business records for 34 companies in which Huntington had an interest. The files in this small section are arranged alphabetically by company name. The Complete Reel List (available in hard copy only, please contact the repository listed above for more information) lists each company. The types of records in this section include stock certificates, memoranda, articles of agreement, comparative statements of rates among railroads, bonds, court records, option agreements, mortgages, indentures, inventories, and numerous addition types of financial records.
Personal records, 1797-1901, are subdivided into Account Books, Civil Suits, Personal Bills, Real Estate, Miscellaneous.
Account books: begins with 19 volumes (35-53) of Huntington's personal financial records including cash books, 1875-1890; day books, 1871-1876; journals, 1886-1898; and ledgers, 1890-1893. Related to these volumes are 4 investment ledgers, 1876-1902 (63-66), and 5 record books of loans payable and receivable, 1867-1900 (67-71).
Civil suits: An important category in this section is court case records of civil suits, 1879-1897 (54-62), which directly or indirectly relate to Huntington. These records include printed court records, depositions, holograph notes by defense lawyers, correspondence, and supporting materials which include account books, statements of account, deposit tags, check books, and lists. The individual case records are arranged alphabetically by case name. Where volume required, materials relating to a case were arranged by type of record.
Two court cases require special mention. The largest group of records relate to the 1883 civil suit brought by Ellen M. Colton (Mrs. David D.) against Leland Stanford et. al (56). Mrs. Colton believed that the Central Pacific Railroad Company had swindled her out of company securities owned by her late husband. The case, which lasted 2 years, resulted in 24 printed volumes of court testimony, as well as a quantity of material prepared by the defense lawyers and a quantity of David D. Colton's personal financial records. The other important case represented is Edward J. Muybridge v. Leland Stanford, 1883 (59A-59D). In 1872 Muybridge was commissioned by Stanford to photograph a horse at full gallop in order to determine if at any point all four feet were off the ground. The film indicated there was such a point. Subsequently Stanford published some of these photographs and attempted to secure a patent on the design of the photographic apparatus used by Muybridge. Muybridge sued on the grounds that credit had not been given for his published photographs and that since he designed the apparatus, Stanford was not entitled to a patent. It is unclear why these court case records appear in Huntington's papers.
Personal bills: Huntington's personal bills and receipts, 1863-1900 (72), are arranged into loose bills, 1863-1895, which are arranged chronologically by year and month; and three volumes of chronologically arranged mounted bills, 1892-1900. These bills are primarily for personal and household expenses. Included are bills Huntington received in furnishing his various residences.
Real estate: Huntington's real estate records, 1797-1901 (73-124), consist of correspondence, bills, receipts, indentures, contracts, bills of sale, mortgages, deeds, vouchers, maps, blueprints, and two volumes (123-124) of property accounts. Bills dealing with real estate may also be found among personal bills. The real estate records are arranged alphabetically by locale: by state, City and street address, in that order. Among New York City property ' it is important to note that arrangement is alphabetical by the spelling of numbered street names.
Of particular interest are the records dealing with the purchase and furnishing of the Nob Hill home of David D: Colton (74), as well as documents relating to the design, construction, decoration, furnishing, and maintenance of Huntington's palatial residence at 2 West Fifty-Seventh Street in New York City (100). The collection also contains materials regarding the remodeling of Huntington's country home at Throgg's Neck (112). There are materials dealing with the design and construction of a chapel in memory of Huntington's mother in Harwinton, Connecticut (79), and records of construction and operating expenses for a public library and reading room maintained by Huntington in Westchester, New York (113).
Miscellaneous: This material includes statements of account, 1869-1900 (125-126), miscellaneous financial records, 1872-1898 (127), and a copy of Huntington's will, 1897 (128).
The statements of accounts include the following records. Huntington's accounts with Huntington-Hopkins, Central Pacific Railroad Company, Southern Pacific, and Pacific Improvement Company. Comparative statements of accounts of Leland Stanford, Huntington, estate of Mark Hopkins, Mrs. M.F. Searles, Charles Crocker, and Stillman & Hubbard with the Pacific Improvement, Southern Development, and Southern Pacific companies. Statements of cash receipts and disbursements for the accounts of Huntington, Leland Stanford, Mrs. M.F. Searles, and Charles Crocker. Individual statements of account of Mrs. M.F. Searles with the Pacific Improvement Company, Leland Stanford with the Pacific Improvement Company, and Arabella D. Huntington with the Southern Pacific Company.
There are, in addition, a list of loans to C.P. Huntington an Wells, Fargo & Company Express stock; a list of properties in which Stanford, Huntington and Charles Crocker had interests; a comparative statement of the assets of the estate of Mark Hopkins, December 31, 1878, and of Mrs. M.F. Searles, December 31, 1887; a readjustment of notes of Stanford, Huntington, Charles Crocker, and Mrs. Searles with the Pacific Improvement Company; and a statement of account between Stanford and Huntington arising from Stanford's subscription to the Contracting & Building Company and his interest in the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Syndicate.
Personal Papers, 1862-1901 (microfilm reels 1 - 3) are arranged into the following sections: biographical material, material relating to Collis P. Huntington's business and philanthropic interests, miscellaneous, memorabilia, and printed matter. Each section will be described in detail.
Biographical material, 1862-1899 (1-4), includes a lang autobiographical letter written to James Speyer, December 6, 1899; autobiographical notes by Huntington edited by Charles Nordhoff; genealogical material collected by the Rev. E.B. Huntington; and Huntington's personal memorandum book, 1862-1868.
Material relating to Collis P. Huntington's business and philanthropic interests, 1865-1900 (5-54), are arranged alphabetically by company name and include minutes, reports to stockholders and boards of directors, prospectuses, lists, printed circulars, reports, resolutions, proposals, maps, and blue prints. There is no more than one folder of material for each company. There are some important business records in this section that relate to Huntington's broad business interests.
Miscellaneous records, 1885-1898 (55-60), include railroad reports, reports an possible financial ventures, and stock exchange statements.
Memorabilia, 1875-1934 (61-82), includes newspaper clippings, 1879-1934; photographs of Huntington; specifications for Huntington's private railroad cars and his steam yacht; and an index to transportation articles and references in the New York Tribune, 1875-1902. A complete list of all entries is provided in the Complete Reel List (available in hard copy only, please contact the repository listed above for more information).
Printed matter, 1873-1899 (83-96), includes primarily pamphlets relating to Huntington's railroad interests. The pamphlets are arranged alphabetically by title. The Complete Reel List (available in hard copy only, please contact the repository listed above for more information) provides a full bibliographic entry for each printed item.
Of particular importance are four volumes of printed correspondence published between 1891 and 1894 in a very limited edition. These four volumes contain edited versions of letters, 1867-1879, exchanged between Huntington and his associates, David D. Colton, Charles Crocker, Charles F. Crocker, Edwin B. Crocker, and Leland Stanford. In many instances these printed letters can be compared to the originals in Series I & II, which sometimes carry pencil notations such as "Don't Print". These letters are not indexed.
Collis P. Huntington was born on October 22, 1821, in Harwinton, Connecticut, the sixth of nine children of Elizabeth and William Huntington. After a brief and perfunctory education, he was apprenticed at age fourteen to a neighboring farmer and the following year to a local grocer. Between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one, he was an itinerant note collector in the South.
In 1842, Huntington purchased a partnership in his brother's hardware store in Oneonta, New York. It was here that he married Elizabeth Stoddard in 1844. In 1849, he went to California by way of Panama with a group of Oneontans. He entered the hardware business in Sacramento, and by 1855 was joined by Mark Hopkins in the hardware firm of Huntington & Hopkins, one of the largest of its kind on the West Coast. This partnership lasted until 1867.
With Mark Hopkins, Charles Crocker, a dealer in dry goods, and Leland Stanford, a grocer, Huntington was one of the founders of California's Republican Party. He worked for the admission of California as a free state in 1850, and later supported Abraham Lincoln for president.
A Railroad Tycoon
Huntington's railroad career began in 1861 when he, Mark Hopkins, Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker and others formed the Central Pacific Railroad Company. In 1862 the company received a loan from the Federal government to build the western end of the first transcontinental railroad. A further incentive was provided in 1864 when Congress promised to give the company 12,800 acres of adjoining Federal lands for each mile of track laid; the Central Pacific received some 9,497,600 acres. Finally in May, 1869, the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific connected in Utah and the first transcontinental railroad was completed.
In December, 1862, Huntington moved to New York City to serve as financier, purchasing agent, legal adviser, and Washington lobbyist for the Central Pacific. As soon as the transcontinental line was completed, Huntington began to purchase twenty-three separate railroad companies in California. Although he thought of selling his Central Pacific stock in 1871, he was already far too involved in building and acquiring transportation systems to quit the field. The financial panic of 1873 put him under great financial strain, but neither he nor the Central Pacific defaulted on their loans.
In the late 1870's Huntington was instrumental in financing and building the Southern Pacific system. Completed in 1883, the Southern Pacific ran from California to New Orleans. Eventually the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific systems were consolidated into one transcontinental railroad company with 9,000 miles of tracks and 16,000 miles of water transportation systems. Huntington succeeded Leland Stanford as president of the Southern Pacific Company in 1890. In 1892, Henry E. Huntington, Collis' nephew, became vice-president of the company and increasingly carried on his uncle's business enterprises.
During the building of the Southern Pacific, Huntington also served as president and director of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company. When this company was sold at a foreclosure sale in 1878, Huntington purchased the road and continued to manage it until 1888 when he sold his shares and the company was reorganized. The eastern terminus of the Chesapeake & Ohio was Newport News, Virginia, where Huntington later established the Chesapeake Dry Dock & Construction Company. The western terminus of the road was Huntington, West Virginia. Both of these cities, built under the supervision of Huntington, were built on property owned by land companies controlled by Huntington.
A Baron of Finance and Political Lobbying
Huntington's financial interests in railroads, steamship companies, land companies, as well as many manufacturing and construction companies, made him an extremely powerful financial figure. His influence an Congress was considerable. As such, during his thirty-nine years as a railroad financier and builder, Huntington faced opposition from both Congress and the press. In 1887, for instance, the Interstate Commerce Commission outlawed rebates, while the United States Pacific Railway Commission was investigating to determine whether Leland Stanford and Huntington had used bribery with Congressmen to obtain favorable railroad legislation. These charges were never proved. Huntington was such an adroit lobbyist that he could obtain preferential legislation at the same time as he was being investigated by Congress.
Philanthropy is an aspect of Huntington's life which is little known. He established the Huntington Industrial Works at Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, of which he was a trustee. He financially aided Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Institute. Huntington was an avid book collector and connoisseur of fine art. His art collection was given to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His fortune went into the founding of such institutions as the Henry E. Huntington Library, the Hispanic Society of America, and the Mariners' Museum.
In September, 1844, Huntington married Elizabeth Stoddard. Having no children of their own, they adopted Mrs. Huntington's niece, Clara Prentice, later the Princess Clara von Hatzveldt. Elizabeth Huntington died in 1883 and in 1884 Huntington married Mrs. Arabella Duval Yarrington Worsham and adopted her son, Archer Milton. Collis P. Huntington died suddenly on August 13, 1900, at the age of seventy-nine. Arabella Huntington later married her late husband's nephew, Henry E. Huntington, and died in New York on September 16, 1924.
|extent||120 linear ft.|
|formats||Financial Papers Correspondence Clippings Photographs Legal Papers|
|access||Parts of this collection are restricted. Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.|
|finding aid||In repository and partial guide online.|
|acquisition information||Gift of Anna Hyatt Huntington.|
|title||Huntington Estate Papers, 1955-1976||repository||Syracuse University Libraries|
|collection title||The Huntington Estate Papers consist primarily of legal and financial papers relating to the businesses and estates of Collis P. Huntington and his wife Arabella, and their son Archer Milton Huntingon and his wife Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington. The material includes bank statements, bills, correspondence, litigation documents, receipts, taxes, trust documents, wills, and similar material. |
The Huntington family were businessmen, art collectors, and philanthropists in early 20th century New York. Collis P. Huntington was a railroad builder and financier; he and his wife Arabella Duval Huntington collected art and supported various charities. Their son, Archer Milton Huntington, was an American philanthropist and poet and together with his wife, noted sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, became an enthusiastic patron of the arts.
|extent||12 linear ft.|
|formats||Estate Papers Financial Papers Legal Papers Inventories|
|access||There are no access restrictions on this material.|
|acquisition information||Gift of Anna Hyatt Huntington.|
|title||Arabella Huntington Papers, 1888-1925.||repository||Syracuse University Libraries|
|collection title||The papers of Arabella Huntington contain correspondence, subject files, bills and receipts, and manuscripts.|
Correspondence includes incoming and outgoing correspondence, and correspondence to and from others. The incoming correspondence is arranged alphabetically by author. The outgoing correspondence if filed chronologically. (Dates: 1892, 1901-1902, 1905-1919, 1922-1923.)
Subject files contains accounts, blueprints, inventories, legal papers, material pertaining to the Roadside Mine, and related items. These materials are arranged alphabetically by type or subject. (Dates: 1891, 1897, 1909, 1912, 1920, 1923-1925.)
Bills and receipts consists of bills or receipts sent to Mrs. Huntington by various firms, merchants, charities, etc. These are arranged alphabetically by name of the firm or individual. (Dates: 1888-1889, 1902-1925)
Manuscripts includes three articles by others, all typescript. These are undated.
Arabella Duval Huntington was born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1851. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. R.M. Yarrington, raised Arabella in Virginia where she remained until her marriage at the age of eighteen. She married a Mr. Worsham of New York City in 1869 and returned there with him. However, he died a year later, leaving Arabella with an infant son, Archer Milton.* The next fourteen years were spent raising her son and educating him herself. In 1884, she married Collis P. Huntington, railroad builder and financier. Mr. Huntington legally adopted Archer. They lived a very happy life together until his death in 1900.
For the next ten years, Mrs. Huntington tried to carry on her husband's interests, visiting his shipyards and supporting charities in his name. In 1913, she remarried once more. Mutual interests in art attracted her to Collis P. Huntington's nephew, Henry E. Huntington, and after their marriage they traveled extensively in Europe, gathering the materials for what was to be the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery in California. She divided her time between New York and her husband's home in California. She remained active in numerous charities and good works until her death in 1924.
*This history has been questioned. A. Hyatt Mayor, Arabella's nephew, has suggested that Archer Milton was in fact the illegitimate son of Collis Huntington. [RR]
|extent||1.5 linear ft.|
|formats||Correspondence Financial Papers Manuscript Ephemera|
|access||The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.|
|finding aid||Online and in repository|
|title||Papers of Henry Edwards Huntington, 1794-1970 (bulk 1840-1927)||repository||The Huntington Library|
|collection title||The collection consists of the personal and business papers of Henry Edwards Huntington. There is Huntington family correspondence (including Holladay family papers), but the papers deal chiefly with California railways and Southern California real estate and industry. There are also papers related to the founding and history of the Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens .|
Represented in the collection are Henry E. Huntington and his uncle, Collis Potter Huntington, among others. There are materials related to the Huntington Land and Improvement Company, Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, and the Pacific Electric Railway Company
The collection also contains some materials on business and civic affairs in New York and elsewhere
Biographical and Historical Note:
Henry Edwards Huntington (1850-1927), founder of the Huntington Library, was born in Oneonta, New York. In 1892 he went to San Francisco to work for his uncle, Collis Potter Huntington, who was President of the Southern Pacific Railway Company. After Collis's death in 1900 and Henry's purchase of the Shorb ranch in 1902, Henry moved his business interests to the Los Angeles area, organizing the Pacific Electric Railway Company, the Huntington Land and Improvement Company, and other real estate and industrial development enterprises. Around the same time, Henry Huntington began to seriously collect books, and by 1908 he dedicated more time and money to the collection of books, manuscripts and works of art.
|extent||22,490 items in 200 boxes + uncataloged materials|
|formats||Business Records Financial Records Correspondence Personal Papers|
|access||Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. Contact repository for restrictions and policies.|
|finding aid||Unpublished finding aid available in repository. An electronic version is available on the Web site of Online Archives of California (OAC).|
|acquisition information||Henry E. Huntington and family, Gift, 1927-|
|title||The Collis P. Huntington papers, 1856-1901.||repository||University of California, Berkeley|
|collection title||Series I, Incoming correspondence, 1856-1904, including letters from David D. Colton, Charles Crocker, Edwin B. Crocker, Mark Hopkins and Leland Stanford. Reels 1-54. Series II, Letterpress copy books, 1868-1901. Reels 1-35. Series III, Legal and financial records, 1797-1901. Reels 1-23. Series IV, Personal papers, 1862-1901. Reels 1-3.|
|extent||115 microfilm reels : positive|
|access||FOR REFERENCE USE ONLY. Reproduction Prohibited. Direct requests for copies or permission to publish to Syracuse University Library.|
|finding aid||Finding aid available.|
|acquisition information||Original or duplicate materials: Originals at Syracuse University|
|title||Samuel Putnam Avery Papers, [ca. 1850]-1905||repository||The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
|collection title||Collection includes Avery's diary referring to his travels in Europe, 1871-1882; a scrapbook of samples of his work; and autographs and sketches sent to Avery from such American and European artist friends as Edouard Detaille, Henri Lefort, W.J. Linton, W.H. Vanderbilt, J.G. Vibert, and J.A.M. Whistler. Catalogs and notes of Avery's works and art collections; editorials and resolutions in memory of Avery, 1905; and letters written to Avery's wife upon his death. Copies of children's books containing his illustrations and printed proof sheets of etchings designed by Avery.|
Some correspondence is in French
Location and Call Numbers
Watson Library Reference Z42.3A7 M48 v.4 LIB USE ONLY ---
Watson Library Reference Z42.3A7 M48 v.5 LIB USE ONLY ---
Watson Library Reference Z42.3A7 M48 v.6 LIB USE ONLY ---
Watson Library Bookcage MS 06 LIB USE ONLY
Watson Library Bookcage MS 07 LIB USE ONLY ---
Watson Library Bookcage MS 08 LIB USE ONLY ---
Watson Library Bookcage MS 09 LIB USE ONLY ---
Watson Library Bookcage MS 10 LIB USE ONLY
|extent||2 linear ft|
|formats||Diaries Scrapbooks Sketches|
|access||Contact repository for restrictions|