Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PHOENIX, Stephen Whitney, benefactor, born in New York city, 25 May, 1839; died there, 3 November, 1881. He was the son of J. Phillips Phoenix, congressman from New York, and his maternal grandfather was Stephen Whitney, from both of whom he inherited a large fortune. He was graduated at Columbia in 1859, and at the law-school in 1863. Subsequently he studied and travelled abroad, and on his return devoted himself largely to antiquarian and genealogical research. He defrayed the expense of copying for preservation the epitaphs on the tombstones in Trinity church-yard, New York city, and gave attention to neglected portraits of old New Yorkers, many of which he caused to be engraved. Mr. Phoenix was also a diligent collector of everything relating to New Amsterdam, as well as old New York, and upward of 3,000 drawings and prints that he had collected are in Columbia college. The records of births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths of the Reformed Dutch and the 1st and 2d Presbyterian churches in New York were copied at his expense and are being printed in the "New York Genealogical and Biographical Record." By his will he left his herbarium to the American museum of natural history in New York; his books relating to heraldry and genealogy to the New York historical society, together with a legacy of $15,000, the income of which is to be invested in books on kindred subjects; his curiosities, works of art, pictures, and coins, to the Metropolitan museum of art; and his general library of books, to be known as "The Phoenix Collection," to Columbia, with $500,000 for technical use, eventually, in the School of mines. His published books include "The Descendants of John Phoenix " (New York, 1867) and " The Whitney Family of Connecticut and its Affiliations" (3 vols., 1878), and he left in manuscript " The Family of Alexander Phoenix."
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