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John Austin Stevens, Jr. family papers

Historical note

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.