Aspinwall Family Papers
The Aspinwall Family Papers consist of letters and documents written by William H. Aspinwall, or relating to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, which he founded. Other material concerns Lloyd Aspinwall, who appears to be the son of William. Finally, there are documents from the person who found and saved the letters and Wayne Aspinall, who might have been distantly related.
- Alcock, George W. (Person)
0.25 Linear Feet (1 legal half document box)
Scope and Contents
Biographical / Historical
The Aspinwalls were prominent New York shipping executives. William H. Aspinwall joined the firm of Howland and Aspinwall, which was founded by his cousins. He assumed control of the firm in 1835 and expanded its trade to South America, China, Europe, the Mediterranean and the East and West Indies. In 1848 he started the Pacific Mail Steamship Company with a government contract to deliver mail from the Isthmus of Panama to Oregon Territory. The discovery of gold in California ensured the success of the venture.
After retiring, he was a founder of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He died January 18, 1875.
William's son, Lloyd, was born in 1830. During the Civil War he was an aide to General Burnside at Fredericksburg. After the war he became a brigadier general with the 4th New York Brigade. He continued his father's work with both steamships and railroads.