John Austin Stevens, Sr. (1795-1874) was a New York businessman and banker. His father was Ebenezer Stevens, a lieutenant-colonel in the 2d Continental Artillery during the American Revolution. He graduated from Yale College in 1813 and was secretary of the New York Chamber of commerce, first president of the Merchants’ Exchange Company and first president of the Bank of Commerce, 1839-1866. In his role as President of the Bank of Commerce, he was in part responsible for loaning the United States government $50,000,000.00 at the outbreak of the Civil War. He married Abigail Weld Perkins and is the father of John Austin Stevens, Jr.
John Austin Stevens, Jr. (1827-1910) was born in New York, but retired to Newport, Rhode Island later in life. He graduated from Harvard College in 1846 and was a businessman, banker, writer and historian. He is best remembered as the founder of the Society of the Sons of the Revolution in 1876, a patriotic organization which allowed any male descendant of men who either in military naval or civil service participated in the American Revolution. Throughout his life Stevens wrote and published articles on finance and history, largely in connection with the American Revolution. He was elected librarian of the New York Historical Society in 1876 and he founded the Magazine of American History in 1877. He married Mary Antoinette Morris in 1885 and had one son, John Austin Stevens, Jr. and two daughters, Mary Morris and Abby Weld Stevens.
Scope and Content
The bulk of this collection consists of the correspondence, research notes, published and unpublished writings of John Austin Stevens, Jr. and the correspondence of his father, John Austin Stevens, Sr. Papers from Mary Morris Stevens are also included, as well as the published and unpublished poetry of Mary Morris Stevens. Also included are unattributed and undated writings, letters and personal papers of other family members and unknown persons. The correspondence series consists of the correspondence of John Austin Stevens Sr., John Austin Stevens, Jr. and Mary Morris Stevens, in addition to the correspondence of other miscellaneous persons. The writings series is dominantly made up of the published and unpublished writings of John Austin Stevens, Jr. in the form of newspaper clippings, typescripts and manuscripts largely on topics related to the study of colonial American history. Also included in the writings series is the published and unpublished poetry and poetry fragments of Mary Morris Stevens and miscellaneous writings from unknown individuals. The research series consists of the historical research of John Austin Stevens on topics of colonial American history, the bulk is undated and unsigned. This series includes a map of the battlefield at Valley Forge, which is suspected to be drawn by Louis Lebègue Duportail. Also included in this series is genealogical research of the Stevens family. The professional papers series consists of the Harvard College diploma of John Austin Stevens, Jr. from 1846, and documents and newspaper clippings related to the Sons of the Revolution, Society of the Cincinnati and other organizations John Austin Stevens Jr. was involved with during his life. Also included in this series is a box of ribbons and a program from various functions associated with these organizations. The textile instruction series consists of various written and printed instructions for crochet and other forms of needlework.