University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the James Stillman Collection

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Stillman, James (1850-1918)
Title: James Stillman Collection
Dates: (1849-1935)
Abstract: The James Stillman Collection contains correspondence and photographs from three generations of a family with extensive business interests in South Texas. The collection includes transcriptions of correspondence between James Stillman’s parents, Charles and Elizabeth, describing life in the Rio Grande Valley around the time of the Mexican War (1846-1848). This correspondence relates to the Chapman family papers, which are housed at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. Also included in the collection are letters written to James Chapman by business correspondents including William Rockefeller and E.H. Harriman. Two bound volumes of photographs document a 1904 trip to the Western United States by James Stillman’s son Ernest Goodrich Stillman.
Accession No.: 2015-299
OCLC No.: 936553676
Extent: 1 ft.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical/Historical Note

Financier James Jewett Stillman (1850-1918) was born to Charles and Elizabeth Pamela Goodrich Stillman in Brownsville, Texas. Charles Stillman, who established Brownsville in 1848, supplied United States troops during the Mexican War (1846-1848) and developed business interests in South Texas and Mexico including real estate, silver mines, a cotton brokerage, textile factories, and a transportation company that conveyed goods from the Mexican interior to Rio Grande City. James Stillman inherited his father’s South Texas property, and he greatly expanded these Texas interests in banking and real estate. With partners W.H. Harriman, Jacob Henry Schiff, and William Rockefeller, Stillman owned a controlling interest in Texas railroads including the Texas and Pacific, the Southern Pacific, the International-Great Northern, the Union Pacific Southern, the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico, and the Mexican National.

Stillman served as president of National City Bank in New York City; upon retirement, he served as the bank’s Chairman of the Board of Directors. At the time of his death in New York City, Stillman was considered to have been one of the 100 wealthiest Americans, with an estimated fortune of $100 million.


Coler, Caleb. "Chapman, William Warren." Handbook of Texas Online. (accessed January 20, 2016).

Garza, Alicia A., and Christopher Long. "Brownsville, TX. " Handbook of Texas Online. (accessed January 20, 2016).

Hart, John Mason. "Stillman, James. " Handbook of Texas Online. (accessed January 20, 2016).

"James Stillman, Head of City Bank, Dies Suddenly. " New York Times. Mar. 16, 1918.

Scope and Contents

The James Stillman Collection includes two bound volumes of transcriptions of correspondence between Charles and Elizabeth Stillman (1849-1854). This correspondence describes events in the Rio Grande Valley and relates to the Chapman family papers, which are housed at the BCAH. The collection also includes 57 original letters (1876-1917), most written to James Stillman from business associates including Edward H. Harriman, Jacob Henry Schiff, William Rockefeller, and Samuel Sloan. Also included are letters from sculptor Auguste Rodin, a letter to James Stillman’s son Ernest Goodrich Stillman from aviator Charles Lindbergh, and a letter from naturalist John Burroughs to one of James Stillman’s daughters. The collection also includes transcriptions of these original letters to James Stillman, as well as notes regarding the letters’ creators. Two bound volumes of black and white photographs document a 1904 guided camping trip to Canada and Western states by Ernest Goodrich Stillman.


Organization and Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically into two series:
  • I. Correspondence, 1849-1935
  • II. Photograph Albums, 1904


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Chapman, Helen
Chapman, William W.--Archives
Lindbergh, Charles A. (Charles Augustus)
Rodin, Auguste
Stillman, Charles
Stillman, Elizabeth Pamela (Goodrich)
Stillman, Ernest Goodrich
Stillman, James
Subjects (Organizations)
National City Bank of New York
Chapman Family
Brownsville (Tex.)
Corpus Christi (Tex.)
Hartford (Conn.)
Matamoros (Coahuila, Mexico)
Wethersfield (Conn.)

Related Material

See also: Chapman (William W.) Papers, 1834-1864, 1895.

Chapman v. King Ranch, Inc. Records, 1931-2004,

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

James Stillman Collection (1849-1935), Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Colleen Hobbs, January 2016.

Detailed Description of the Collection


Correspondence 1849-1935

2M514 Transcription of 91 Charles Stillman letters (bound), 1849-1865
Transcription of 43 Elizabeth P. Stillman letters (bound), 1853-1854
Bound photographs, 1904
"West, 1904, E.G.S.",
1 volume of 392 black and white photographs by Ernest Goodrich Stillman, 3 1/4 X 2 1/4 in, and 4 in. X 3 in.
1 volume of 353 black and white photographs by Ernest Goodrich Stillman, 3 1/4 X 2 1/4 in, and 4 in. X 3 in.
2D252 Correspondence received, 1876-1935
59 letters received
Correspondence transcription and index