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William Olin Stillman
Papers, 1865-1903


Quantity: 1 box (0.25 cubic feet)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Gift of William C. Ketchum, March 9, 2009
Processed By: Christine Alexander, Student Assistant, State University of New York at Albany, July 2009

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Biographical Note:

William Olin Stillman was a physician, humane society leader, philanthropist, medical author and lecturer from Albany, N.Y.  Dr. Stillman was born September 9, 1856, in Normansville, Albany County, N.Y., and died March 24, 1924, in Albany. He graduated from Albany Medical College in 1878 and spent the first five years of his career as a physician with a sanitarium in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. He married Francis M. Rice on April 17, 1880. During 1883-1884, Dr. Stillman pursued post-graduate medical studies in Europe. Once back in Albany, he entered the private practice of medicine. For many years, Dr. Stillman lectured on the history of medicine at Albany Medical School, and wrote a number of medical publications, including a guide to the use of Saratoga mineral waters and a lecture on the history and care of cholera.

Dr. Stillman championed the humane treatment of children and animals, serving for 20 years as president of the American Humane Association, a national organization dedicated to protecting children and animals, and for 36 years as president of the Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society. He was instrumental in seeking anti-cruelty legislation at the state and federal levels, and in raising funds and spreading awareness of humane causes. He held numerous leadership positions in humane organizations, including as director-general of the American Red Star Animal Relief, president of the Convention of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty in New York State, president of the International Federation of Societies for Animal Protection, and chairman of the New York State Humane Education Committee. He was a physician to the Open Door Mission and Hospital for Incurables, the Babies' Nursery and Lathrop Memorial at the Albany Orphanage, and the Dominican Monastery. Stillman also was a collector of antiquities, particularly Native American artifacts.

Scope and Content Note:

The papers consist primarily of correspondence to William Olin Stillman in his roles as physician, leader of humane societies, and philanthropist, together with personal correspondence and correspondence about his property, business and financial affairs. In addition, there is a small amount of printed extracts from medical publications concerning medical instruments, and a drawing of Native American artifacts.

Container List:

Box Folder Description
    Correspondence: Medical practice
1 1 Correspondence to Stillman from patients, 1880-1892 (17 items)
1 2 Correspondence to Stillman from patients, 1896 and undated (26 items)
1 3 Correspondence to Stillman relating to patient bills, 1888-1903 (14 items)
1 4 Correspondence to Stillman regarding medical lectures, 1892 (2 items)
1 5 Correspondence to Stillman concerning medical positions, 1879-1896 (6 items)
1 6 Correspondence to Stillman regarding professional organizations, 1881-1897
(9 items)
1 7 Correspondence to Stillman from press and publishers, 1879-1992 (5 items)
1 8 Correspondence to Stillman concerning manufacture of speculum designed by Dr. Stillman, 1888, 1891 (2 items)
    Printed materials: Medical devices
1 9 Printed excerpts from medical publications regarding medical instrument designs, 1875-1888 (7 items)
    Correspondence: Humane societies and charitable affairs
1 10 Correspondence to Stillman regarding Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society, 1889-1903 (7 items)
1 11 Correspondence from Stillman regarding call for payment of pledged funds to Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society, 1903 (1 item)
1 12 Correspondence to Stillman relating to investigations, 1881-1897 (7 items)
1 13 Correspondence to Stillman regarding charitable work and philanthropy, 1890-1899 (9 items)
    Correspondence: Personal
1 14 Personal correspondence to Stillman 1879-1899 (39 items)
1 15 Correspondence to Stillman concerning Shakespeare Club roles, 1880 (2 items)
1 16 Invitations, 1890-1896 (3 items)
1 17 Correspondence to Stillman concerning real property, 1890-1898 (11 items)
1 18 Correspondence to Stillman regarding financial affairs, 1878–1892 (10 items)
1 19 Correspondence, solicitations and receipts regarding purchase of goods and services, 1865-1891 (12 items)
1 20 Correspondence to Stillman regarding purchase of antiquities, 1894-1898
(3 items)
EL 1 Drawing of Native American artifacts
Last Updated: March 1, 2022