Stephen Whitney Phoenix (1839-1881)
S. Whitney Phoenix, Scholar & Traveller, of New York & Newport, Rhode Island
He graduated from Columbia College, New York. Having inherited a substantial fortune, he devoted his life to Egyptology, genealogy, botany, ethnology, and travel writing. His travels took him to Europe, China, Japan, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, the West Indies and Labrador. In 1864, he was described by the Rev. D.A. Wasson as a, “fine Greek and Latin Scholar, rich as Croesus and simple in his habits as Ochiltree... full of facts, strong in mind, deep in heart, religious, candid, sincere, courageous, at once frank and reticent - a thoroughly large and profound nature". On his death, he left his art and curios collection to the Metropolitan Museum; his botanical collection to the American Museum of Natural History; and, his library plus an endowment to his alma mater, Columbia. His art collection contained over 600-pieces mainly consisting of oriental ivories, lacquer and metal work. It also included some European crystal, various European paintings and a collection of tobacco pipes. When home, Phoenix divided his time between New York City and Glenwood, the former Dr Oliver Bronson estate on the Hudson which his mother, Mary, had purchased in 1864. In 1881, he purchased a summer home by the sea at Newport, Harborview. He was the author of the three-volume magnus opus, The Whitney Family of Connecticut & its Affiliations (1879). He died aged 42, unmarried, but his nephews and nieces included Mrs Edith (Warren) Miller who built the William Starr Miller House; and, the architects Whitney and Lloyd Warren.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 12/01/2020 and last updated on 14/02/2020.
Image Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art