Theodore P. Gilman

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Theodore P. Gilman (January 2, 1841 in Alton, Madison County, Illinois – August 9, 1930) was an American banker and politician.


Theodore Gilman with financier Andrew Carnegie, 1914

He was the son of Winthrop Sargent Gilman and Abia Swift Lippincott Gilman. He graduated from Williams College in 1862, where he was a member of The Kappa Alpha Society, and graduated A.M. in 1865. He married Elizabeth Drinker Paxson (ca. 1843-1912), and their son was Theodore P. Gilman, Jr. (b. 1873).

Gilman entered a banking career, and in the 1870s was involved in financing midwestern railroads; notably, the Quincy, Missouri & Pacific RR. Later, in the 1880s and 1890s he worked to extend this railroad to become the Quincy, Omaha & Kansas City RR. He became active in efforts by Kansas City entrepreneur Arthur Stilwell, Chairman of the Kansas City, Pittsburgh & Gulf RR (now known as Kansas City Southern) to finance the so-called "northern properties". This resulted in the interconnection of Kansas City, Omaha & Quincy, IL by rail. Gilman left the Board of Directors when he got into a disagreement with Stilwell (1897) over construction of certain railroad branch lines. Gilman City, MO is a town named after Gilman, and was located as a real estate venture on the QOKC Railroad.

In 1894, he was arrested on a charge of fraud by selling stock of the Port Jervis Brewery of which he had been President, but was then already insolvent and in receivership.[1]

Gilman returned to New York from the Midwest and focused on his banking interests. In 1898, he published A Graded Banking System (Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin).

He was First Deputy Comptroller under William J. Morgan after whose death he was appointed New York State Comptroller to fill Morgan's unexpired term. Afterwards he was re-appointed First Deputy Comptroller, and resigned the post on January 15, 1903, to become president of the General Electric Inspection Company,[2] and was succeeded as First Deputy by Otto Kelsey.

In 1904, he published a 17-page article The Clearing-House System in The Journal of Political Economy (Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 208–224, March 1904). This is generally considered to be the original plan for the creation of the Federal Reserve System.

He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. Benjamin Ives Gilman was his brother.


  1. ^ [1] in NYT on November 11, 1894
  2. ^ [2] in NYT on January 16, 1903


  • [3] His father's obit, in NYT on October 5, 1884
  • [4] Membership roll in the Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, at rootsweb
  • [5] His appointment as First Deputy, in NYT on December 31, 1898
  • [6] Speculation about his imminent resignation, in NYT on December 29, 1902
  • [7] Denial in NYT on December 30, 1902
  • [8] The speculation continues, in NYT on January 13, 1903
  • [9] His wife's death notice, in NYT on November 20, 1912
  • [10] Political Graveyard (name misspelled)
Political offices
Preceded by
William J. Morgan
New York State Comptroller
Succeeded by
Erastus C. Knight

Book Sources: Loren Reid, "Hurry Home Wednesday", Columbia, MO., University of Missouri Press, 1978.pp. 4–21.

Michael R. Johns with Ralph L. Cooper, "Quincy Route- A History of the QOKC Railroad", Burlington, Iowa, South Platte Press, 2008, Chapters 1-4.