Let me introduce you to the Huntingtons

by Nancy Armitage

Let me introduce you to the Huntington Family. There was Collis Huntington (CPH), his 2nd wife -“Belle” or Arabella D. Huntington (ADH), Collis’s nephew -“Edwards” or H. E. Huntington (HEH) (who also married Arabella D. Hun tington in 1913), & Arabella’s son, Archer M. Huntington (AMD).

Collis P. Huntington (CPH) -Transatlantic Railroad “Big 4” (1869)

Arabella D. Huntington (ADH), Huntington Library, San Marino, CA (once called the San Marino Ranch)

Henry E. Huntington (HEH) – Huntington Library, San Marino, CA (once called the San Marino Ranch)

Archer M. Huntington (AMH) Hispanic Society of America, NYC -See below for more detailed information.

These are the 4 main characters of my Huntington family story. I am writing about them most in my Huntington blog. So I’ll give you a little crash course on the Huntingtons. It is a multi-faceted confusing story. From 1880-1950’s, these four people did so much to advance the knowledge & culture of the American people. All four of them of these Huntington’s help start major museums in the United States. Arabella doesn’t get much credit, but she was a huge part of the Huntington Library Collection. The entire French Collection of paintings, sculptures and alot of the French furniture was originally Arabella’s collection in her many mansions.

There is the Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA (HEH & ADH), Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC, NY (CPH was founding member, ADH helped buy the paintings & eventually (AMH he actually did the donating of paintings in Collis P. Huntington name), Mariners Museum, Newport New, VA (CPH & AMH), DeYoung Museum Fine Art Museum in SF (CPH, ADH, & AMH), Hispanic Society of Art Museum NYC (AMH founder & ADH donations of expensive paintings like Velasquez), Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, & Ayalaya Castle in South Carolina (AMH and his 2nd wife, Ana Huntington), & University of Texas Museum Austin, Texas (AMH) to name just a few.

The Huntington Family built hospitals & schools all over America: Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, CA (HEH & ADH), Harvard Medical School (ADH after CPH died), Hampton School for Boys VA (CPH with Booker T. Washington ), Tuskegee Institute VA, New York Hospital NYC, NY (ADH), Yale University Murals with paintings from Huntington Mansion at No. 2 57th St. NYC (CPH, ADH & AMH).

They started clubs & societies to help promote the arts like: National Sculpture Society (AMH), National Arts Assn. (CPH & AMH), the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA (HEH & ADH). The curators at the Huntington Library put on new art exhibitions every couple of months to educate people. Huntington Library and most American Museum, also a “Free Day” each month for the general public. The Huntington were members of many art associations like American Art Assoc. (HEH), American Museum of Natural History (HEH), Los Angeles Art Assoc. (HEH), North American Indian Club (HEH), Pasadena Music & Art Assoc. (HEH).

Collis P. Huntington, the President of Southern Pacific Co. (the company owned railroads, big ships, & ferries throughout the US), based in NY & SF. Photo credit: ConnecticutHistory.org

Collis Potter Huntington (1861-1900)

Born: 1821 Birthplace: Connecticut

He was the President of the Southern Pacific Co. NYC & SF & of Central Pacific RR Co. In 1869, he helped join the commerce of the United States of America. These 2 railroads (CPRR & SPRR) met together in Promontory Point in Utah, joining both coasts of the United States of America were the “Transatlantic Railroad”.

Collis had a huge family of many brothers & sisters, & they were really close. They had lots of family reunions in NYC & “Colliscraft” across the Hudson River. There were many house guests at the Huntington Mansion at No. 2 57 St. NYC, NY thru the years especially at Thanksgiving & Christmas and New Years holidays.

Collis’s First wife: Elizabeth Stoddard Huntington (she died in 1883)

Live at 65 Park Ave. NYC NY with Elizabeth

2nd wife: Arabella “Belle” Duval Worsham Huntington, also “B.D. Worsham”,

Collis & Arabella married in July of 1884. At first, they lived on 65 Park Ave. They built & lived at the palatial Huntington Mansion No. 2 57th St. & 5th Ave. NYC. On weekends & summertime, they stayed at the Huntington estate called “The Homestead” at Throggs Neck, Westchester Co., NY. – now Brooklyn. They also owned the “great Huntington Camp” at Camp Pine Knot on Racquette Lake in the Adirondack Mt. in upper state New York. They tour annual summer tours to Europe on Cunard ships from NYC to London and Europe.

Collis help start the grand Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC, NY (CPH was a founding member of the Metropolitan Museum), ADH she bought many master paintings & eventually AMH (who actually did the donating in Collis’s name ). Collis help start the building of the Panama Canal. He died August of 1900 at his Huntington Great Camp at Pineknot Lodge on Raquette Lake, Adirondack Mt. NY – now called “Camp Huntington”.

Collis Huntington’s personal papers are at Syracuse Museum, numerous master paintings from No. 2 mansion NYC at Metropolitan Museum, & Yale University (Murals that once hung at No. 2 Huntington Mansion went to Yale).

Arabella Huntington in the early 1900’s. Photo Credit: Nancy Armitage

Arabella D. Huntington (1850-1924) also called “Belle” or Arabelle. Her many names were: Mrs. B. D. Worsham, Belle DeWorsion, & in 1884 she became Mrs. Collis P. Huntington, & after 1913, Mrs. Henry E. Huntington. She signed her name: Mrs. Arabella D. Huntington.

Arabella Huntington’s Museums:

In 1919, Arabella & H. E. Huntington and H.E.Huntington signed a important document donating their mansion & property to the great State of California when they died. It was to become a museum: “Huntington Library & Botanical Garden” in San Marino, CA. It houses many of Mr. Huntington’s favorite English master paintings by Romney, Gainsborough, & Reynolds; many of Mrs. Arabella Huntington’s her private French collections of, furniture, paintings, numerous priceless “Madonna & Child” collections. & statues. Another museum: the DeYoung Museum Fine Art Museum in San Francisco (ADH & AMH) she has many of Mrs. Huntington’s personal things. Like Arabella Huntington’s antique lace, gloves, hair combs & a large portrait of Arabella. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, now owns Arabella Worsham Huntington’s rooms (that were once in her 54th Street mansion). This impressive display of furniture used to be at New York City Museum-Andrew Carnegie donated after he owned Arabella Worsham (Huntington) 54th St. house. The Metropolitan Museum NYC has many paintings that hung in the Collis & Arabella Huntington No. 2 57th St. house; the credit line goes to Collis P. Huntington (but Archer Huntington donated them after Arabella died). In the Mariners Museum in VA, they have many Huntington family photos & so many other Huntington nautical property and items.

Arabella D. Huntington Papers are at Huntington Library archives under correspondence, ephemera, letters, & menus. Also, she has personal papers at Hispanic Society of America in NYC – Archer Huntington’s personal journal tell a interesting story of his relationship with his mother – Arabella Huntington. Also the DeYoung Museum-Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, & Syracuse University (has blueprint of Throggs Neck estate called “Homestead” & receipts & invoices, the Metropolitan Museum hold many paintings that hung in her various Huntington mansions, (but the Credit line of donation always goes to Collis P. Huntington). But some of these paintings Arabella D. Huntington purchased herself, as a widower after Collis Huntington died.

This photo I took of Mr. H. E. Huntington portrait at the Huntington Library; it hangs in the entrance hallway just across from Mrs. Huntington’s portrait. Photo Credit: Huntington Library, San Marino, CA

Henry “Edwards” Huntington (1850-1927)

Henry “Edwards” Huntington was born & raised in Oneonta, NY. When he left home he lived many places: while starting work (Southern Pacific Co. – NYC and SF) for his uncle Collis he lived Brooklyn in a boarding house, and Cincinnati, when he married his 1st wife: MaryAlice Prentice Huntington they live in New Jersey; also St. Albans, VA is where some of his babies were born. Then, they moved to their San Francisco Mansion at 2840 Jackson (and Broderick) with first wife, Mary Alice & all 4 children, Howard, Elizabeth, Clara (Peggy), & Marion Huntington.

In the early 1900’s after being grooming to be the President of Southern Pacific Co.; the board didn’t vote him in. He came to Los Angeles CA & started his Pacific Electric Railway Co. – “the Red Cars”. In 1903, he bought San Marino Ranch in San Gabriel/San Marino CA. His wife Mary Alice & family would not moved down to LA with him. In April 1906, H.E. “Edwards” Huntington got divorced from Mary Alice Huntington.

Early in 1900’s, the H.E. Huntington children got married: Howard Edwards Huntington B. Feb. 11, 1876 Married: Leslie Green of Berkeley, CA on Aug. 16, 1905, Clara “Peggy” Leonora Huntington B. Feb. 2, 1878 – married April 20, 1902 to Gilbert B. Perkins of NY, Elizabeth “Bessie” Vincent Huntington B. Feb. 8, 1880 married on March 6th, 1906 to John “Brock” Brockway Metcalf, of Berkeley CA, & Marian or Marion Prentice Huntington B. Oct. 3, 1883, unmarried.

In 1910, he actually moved into the Huntington Mansion on the Ranch. Later after he married Mrs. Collis P. Huntington (Arabella) in 1913, he also lived at her Huntington Mansion No. 2 57th St. NYC, NY they enjoyed Thanksgiving and Christmas there, the Huntington “the Homestead” Throggs Neck large estate property (weekends & holidays), & then at Chateau Beauregard for summer trips (1913-1923).

At one time in the early 1900’s, H.E. Huntington was the largest landowner in California. He bought 1000’s of acres of land throughout the State of California.

H. E. Huntington’s Museum: Huntington Library, San Marino, CA

In 1919, Arabella & H. E. Huntington donated their mansion & property to the great state of California. It was to become a museum “Huntington Library & Botanical Garden in San Marino. It houses many of Mr. Huntington’s favorite English master paintings by Romney, Gainsborough, and Reynolds; many of Mrs. Arabella Huntington’s her private French collections, furniture, master paintings, & marble statues.

All of Henry E. Huntington’s personal papers are at Huntington Library in San Marino. The papers are in many places but they are all under HEH Collection with correspondence, San Marino Ranch, & Huntington Land & Improvement Co.

Archer M. Huntington – Philanthropist This photograph original I think is at the Hispanic Society in New York CIty where all his papers are or the Huntington Library San Marino, CA .

Archer Milton Huntington (March 10, 1870 – Dec. 11,1944)

He was born in NYC & lived in Texas as a baby. His mother, Arabella Worsham (Huntington), took him to NYC where he lived there most of his life. He lived in many of the Huntington mansions: Throggs Neck Huntington Estate, No. 2 57th St , Nob Hill Mansion in SF, & traveled & stayed in his mother leased Chateau Beauregard in Paris, France (HEH & ADH). Archer & 1st wife, Helen Gates Huntington (a writer) lived in Pelham Bay in his Huntington estate (Huntington Woods now) from 1890-s to 1918. They got divorced in 1918. In March 1923, he married the famous sculptress, Anna Hyatt HUntington, it was their shared birthday. Later in life, later they lived in South Carolina and also owned 1000’s of acres in the Adirondacks Mountains which they enjoyed Arbutus Lake and birdwatching..

First wife: Helen Gates Huntington (writer & socialite, she works on numerous fundraisers with Mrs. Arabella D. Huntington as a sponsor at St. Regis and Waldorf Astoria Hotels)

2nd Wife: Ana Hyatt Huntington (Sculptress)

They lived at Brookgreen Gardens & Ayalaya Castle in South Carolina (1000’s of acres) & Arbutus Lake in Adirondack Mt. in upper state New York.

Archer Huntington’s Addresses:

Archer M. Huntington estate “Pleasance” Pelham Bay/ Eastchester Bay, NY – now “Huntington Woods”, NYC

108 5th Ave, NYC, NY

15 W. 81st St. (West Eighty First Street) NYC

Archer Huntington’s Museums:

Hispanic Society Museum NYC, National Society of Arts (donated in house 1083 5th Ave. NYC),

National Academy Museum (1083 5th Ave. NYC NY once was his home),

Brookgreen Gardens & Ayalaya Castle, South Carolina 1000’s of acres with gardens and sculptures made by Mrs. Ana Huntington.

DeYoung Museum & Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, CA Archer Huntington donated many of Arabella things in his Archer Huntington name (Laces, turtleshell combs, & large portrait of Arabella Huntington & a elegant bronze bust statue of Archer M. Huntington donated in 1927.

Huntington Woods (Archer Huntington’s country estate called “Pleasance”, (once called the Waterbury Estate when Collis & Arabella bought it for him. It was also called Pelham Bay Park at Pelham Bay, Eastchester Bay, New York, The Mariners Museums in Newport News, Virginia artifacts of ships & ship plates.

Archer Huntington’s Papers, journals, & books he wrote can be found at Hispanic Society of America, Syracuse University, Yale University, University of Texas Museum at Austin, Texas.

  1. Hi. I came by your blog and am very curious as to how my family history fits. My Grandmother was Marjorie Louise Star Huntington. My family is related to Samuel Huntington, brother of Signer of Declaration of Independence but adopted by him and his wife. Can you shed some light on any of this? Thank you and thanks for the interesting info you’ve posted here.


    1. Hi Tara, Not that I know of. But HEH and Collis Huntington were related to Samuel Huntington, – one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: