STILWELL, LUCIEN WHITE

Copyright 2000-2020 John N. J. Lupia, T.O.C.

Photograph of Stilwell was first published on the cover of his 1911 curio, Indian relic, and mineralogical catalogue. It was 11 years later republished on the cover of Philatelic West, Vol. 79, No. 3 (1922).

Lucien White Stilwell (1843-1932), was born on March 24, 1843, at Manlius, Onondaga County, New York, son of Lonson Stilwell and Mary K. White Stilwell. In his childhood his family moved to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. In 1862, he graduated Ripon College and then moved to Cairo, Illinois to enter the produce/grocery industry. During the Civil War he became partners forming the Bristol & Stilwell Company, grocers. They remained partners from 1864-1874 selling out his share to his partner.

In September 1873, he married Julia A. Bristol. They had four children : Mary Irene, Hugh Alvin, Donald Lonson, and Nora Alice who died in infancy.

In 1874, he became a whole grain commission merchant in the new partnership of Cunningham & Stilwell.

In 1878, he moved to Elgin, Illinois where he worked temporarily at the Elgin Watch Company as a bookkeeper being forced to return to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin due to the Yellow Fever epidemic.

In 1879, he moved to Deadwood, South Dakota, entering the banking house of Stebbins, Post & Mund. This firm became merged with the First National Bank. Later in the 1884 he worked for the Merchants Bank of Deadwood.

While Merchants Bank of Deadwood, Stilwell began to expand his curio collection and to sell items. His mineralogical specimens dating to this period, i.e., pre 1890, were all found in Black Hills, South Dakota.

Stilwell began to advertise in many collectors magazines including the Young Oologist in 1885.

In February 1885, he published his advertisement in Mason's Coin Collectors Magazine, No. 9, February (1885) : 100. Note the address is D.T for Dakota Territory since it was not yet a state until November 1889.

In June 1885, Stilwell writes an article "Tin in the Black Hills, in The Agassis Association Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1, page 9,  advocating American mining sources for tin over that of the imports from Cornwall, England.

In July 1885, he publishes his article "Uranite" discussing Black Hills filled with oxides of Uranium in The Agassis Association Journal, Vol. 1, No. 2, page 15.

In August 1885, he publishes his article "Dendrites" discussing Black Hills filled with them in The Agassis Association Journal, Vol. 1, No. 3, lead article front page.

Stilwell's advertisement in The Agassis Association Journal, Vol. 1, No. 3, page 34.

Stilwell's advertisement in the August 1885 issue of  The Museum, Vol. 1, No. 4, ad pages post page 68.

Stilwell's advertisement in the Hoosier Naturalist, Vol. 2, No. 2, September (1886).

In December 1885, he publishes his article "Bad Lands" Fossils" discussing Black Hills filled with them in The Agassis Association Journal, Vol. 1, No. 7, lead article front page.

In 1890, his six year old curio business grew sustaining him financially and so he resigned his position with the bank. As an independent business he added fire insurance to his services. He began to publish his series of catalogues titled Black Hills Natural History Establishment of L. W. Stilwell

His business as a curio dealer became international selling fossils, gems, Indian relics, minerals, and various items of natural history.

In 1898, he published Issue No. 9, of his Black Hills Natural History Establishment of L. W. Stilwell

In 1905 he was a member of the American Society of Curio Collectors.

In 1911 the title changed in issue 12 from Black Hills Natural History Establishment of L. W. Stilwell to Black Hills Indian Relic and Curio Establishment of L. W. Stilwell

Stilwell's 1911 catalogue of Indian Relics and Curios.

In 1912, he published his Special Catalogue to Close Out Minerals and Fossils at a Large Discount, which he describes as comprising somewhere about 100,000 specimens valued in thousands of dollars. 

In September 1928, he sold his collection and firm to the Kenneth J. Crawford Company, 220 Avenue A West, Bismarck, North Dakota. 

He died in Deadwood on 24 November 1932.

In September 1942, Florence Graham of Deadwood, South Dakota advertised in Hobbies, Vol. 47, 116 bas de page, selling a large inventory of mineral specimens belonging to the late L. W. Stilwell

Bibliography :

Mason's Coin Collectors Magazine, No. 9, February (1885) : 100.
G. W. Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory. (Chicago: S.J.Clarke Publishing Co., 1915) 
Philatelic West Vol. 79, No. 3 (1922)
Rocks & Minerals, September (1928)
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