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W. Paul Stillman papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Mss 0011

Scope and Contents

The W. Paul Stillman papers contains books, correspondence, source documents, and photographs covering the period from 1800 until his death in 1989. This collection contains very little of Mr. Stillman?s personal correspondence. It has several obituaries and correspondence centering on the banking crisis of the early 1930s.

The collection also contains the papers of Mrs. Cleveland (no apparent connection to Mr. Stillman) which has an excellent accounting of prices and expenses for various goods and services during the early and mid 19th century. These materials include mortgages, promissory notes, and other legal documents naming Benjamin Cleveland, Julia Voorhees, and others.


  • Creation: 1800-1989 (bulk 1800-1933)
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1800 - 1933

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

The materials available in this collection are the property of the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center and Seton Hall University, which reserves the right to limit access to or reproduction of these materials. Reproduction of materials or content is subject to United States copyright restrictions and may be subject to federal or state privacy regulations. Permission to publish exact reproductions must be obtained from the Director of the Archives and Special Collections Center.

Biographical / Historical

The Cleveland family appears to have lived in New Jersey in the early and mid 1800s. Benjamin Cleveland appears to have been a landowner and businessman, and was married.

Biographical / Historical

Born in Newark on September 17, 1897, Mr. Stillman was 16 when he became a messenger for the Hanover Trust Company in New York. He never went to college.

He headed two of the state's largest financial institutions. At 34 he became America's youngest bank president when he took the post at the National State Bank of Newark, a predecessor of First Fidelity Bank and, in 1938, he joined the board of directors of the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company of Newark and assumed the chairmanship eight years later.

At his death Mr. Stillman was also director emeritus of Tri-Continental Corporation of New York and honorary director of the Union Camp Corporation. He also served at various times as director of Food Fair Stores, Inc.; C.F. Mueller Co.; Becton, Dickinson & Co.; Public Service Electric & Gas Co.; Niagara Fire Insurance Co.; the Erie Lackawanna Railroad; Franklin Savings Bank and the Hospital Service Plan of New Jersey.

Mr. Stillman also served as the founder and past chairman of the New Jersey Heart Association, chairman of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, chairman of the United Hospitals Medical Center Foundation, trustee of New York University and honorary life member of the board of directors of the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce.

Consumers can credit Mr. Stillman for the changes in banking law that allow them to shop at dozens of institutions for the best yields on their savings deposits and the lowest loan rates. Prior to 1969, banks were local operations, doing business in one town or county. Mr. Stillman was influential in helping to get a series of laws passed that eventually permitted banks to do business around the state, making it common for even small towns to have two or more banks.

In recognition of his accomplishments, and the contributions to Seton Hall University in South Orange made by Mr. Stillman, Mutual Benefit and First Fidelity, the university named its school of business after him in 1973.

"His real contribution, in my opinion, is that he was the epitome of the civic-minded businessman,"said Fred Kelly, the school's dean at that time. "His own personal standard was to make business profitable for shareholders, policyholders, and depositors. But he realized that his business was also an integral part of the society in which it was functioning, and that is why he was so active in city, state, and metropolitan affairs."

On April 30th, 1989, Mr. Stillman died at Mountainside Hospital in Glen Ridge. He was 91 years old.


1 Linear Feet (, Approximately 100 items.)

Language of Materials



Primarily original documents pertaining to land transactions in the early 1800s. Limited correspondence of Mr. Stillman's, and various Government banking proclamations.


The papers are arranged into 2 series.

Preservica Internal URL

Preservica Public URL

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection is the gift of W. Paul Stillman family to the Archives and Special Collections Center, via Karen Boroff, Dean of the Stillman Business School. Terms of accession unknown.

Existence and Location of Copies

Select items from this collection have been digitized. To view these items, click here.

Processing Information

Daniel H. Schoch, Sr., 2006

W. Paul Stillman family papers, 1800-1989 (bulk 1800-1933)
Finding aid prepared by M. Kenny
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
  • TypeCollection

Repository Details

Part of the The Monsignor Field Archives & Special Collection Center Repository

Archives, Walsh Library
400 South Orange Ave
South Orange NJ 07079 US