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 ADH in 1913), and Collis’s son, Archer Huntington (AMD).

Collis P. Huntington (CPH)

Arabella D. Huntington (ADH),

Henry E. Huntington (HEH)

Archer M. Huntington (AMH). See below for more detailed information.

These are the 4 main characters of the Huntington family I am writing about 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 help start major museums in the United States.

There is the Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA (HEH & ADH), Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC, NY (CPH was founding member, ADH help buy the paintings & eventually AMH who he actually did the donating of paintings), 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), & University of Texas Museum Austin, Texas (AMH) to name just a few.

They built hospitals & schools: Huntington Hospital Pasadena, CA (HEH & ADH), Harvard Medical School (ADH after CPH died), Hampton School for Boys VA (CPH with Booker T. Washington ), New York Hospital NYC, NY (ADH), Yale University Murals & 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, also a “Free Day” each month for the general public. They 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 Clud (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.

Collis had a huge family of many brothers & sisters, & they were really close. They had lots of family reunions in NYC & Colliscraft. 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.

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

Live at 65 Park Ave. NYC NY with her

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 Huntington Mansion No. 2 57th St. & 5th Ave. NYC. On weekends & summertime they stayed at the Huntington estate called “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.

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, and 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”. Her 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 sign a document donated 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, furniture, paintings, “Madonna & Child” collections. & statues. Another museum: DeYoung Museum Fine Art Museum in San Francisco (ADH & AMH) she has many of Mrs. Huntington’s personal things like lace, gloves, & hair combs & a large portrait of her. Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, now owns Arabella Worsham Huntington’s rooms (that were once in her 54th Street mansion). Also many paintings that hung in the Collis & Arabella Huntington No. 2 57th St. house; the credit line goes to Collis P. Huntington. The Mariners Museum in VA they have many Huntington family photos & so many other Huntington items.

Arabella Huntington Papers are at Huntington Library achives under correspondence, also at Hispanic Society of America in NYC, DeYoung Museum-Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, Syracuse University (has blueprint of Throgg Neck estate “Homestead”, Metropolitan Museum many paintings that hung in her various mansions, (but the Credit line of donation goes to Collis P. Huntington).

This photo I took of Mr. H. E. Huntington 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)

He was born & raised in Oneonta, NY. When he left home he lived many places: Brooklyn in a boarding house, Cincinnati, married his 1st wife: MaryAlice in New Jersey, St. Albans, VA is where some of his babies were born. Then they moved to their San Francisco Mansion at 2840 Jackson (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 MaryAlice & family would not moved down to LA. In April 1906, H.E. “Edwards” Huntington got divorced.

In 1910, he actually moved into the Huntington Mansion on the Ranch.. Later after he married Arabella in 1913, also he lived at Huntington Mansion No. 2 57th St. NYC, NY they enjoyed the Holidays there, “Homestead” Throggs Neck estate property (weekends & holidays), & 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:

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.

H.E. Huntington personal papers are at Huntington Library archives under HEH Collection correspondence, San Marino Ranch, & Huntington Land & Improvement Co.

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 and 1st wife Helen lived in Pelham Bay in his estate from 1890-s to 1918. They got divorced in 1918. Later in life, he & 2nd wife lived in South Carolina.

First wife: Helen Gates Huntington (writer & socialite, alot of fundraisers)

2nd Wife: Ana Hyatt Huntington (Sculptress)

They lived at Brookgreen Gardens & Ayalaya Castle in South Carolina (1000’s of acres)


Archer M. Huntington estate “Pleasance” Pelham Bay/ Eastchester Bay, NY

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 Archer Huntington donated many of Arabella things in his Archer Huntington name (Laces, turtleshell combs, & large portrait of Arabella Huntington.

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.

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