Theodore P. Gilman

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Theodore P. Gilman (1900)

Theodore P. Gilman (January 2, 1841 – August 9, 1930) was an American banker and politician from New York.


Theodore Gilman with financier Andrew Carnegie, 1914

He was born on January 2, 1841, in Alton, Madison County, Illinois, the son of Winthrop Sargent Gilman (1808–1884) and Abia Swift (Lippincott) Gilman.[1] 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),[2] and their son was Theodore P. Gilman Jr. (born 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.[3]

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).

From 1899[4] to 1900, he was First Deputy Comptroller. After the death of William J. Morgan in September 1900, Gilman was appointed as New York State Comptroller to fill the vacancy until the end of the year. In 1901, he was re-appointed as First Deputy Comptroller, and resigned the post on January 15, 1903, to become President of the General Electric Inspection Company.[5]

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 died on August 9, 1930.

Museum director Benjamin Ives Gilman (1852–1933) was his brother.


  1. ^ WINTHROP S. GILMAN DEAD in the New York Times on October 5, 1884
  2. ^ DIED; GILMAN, Elizabeth Drinker... in the New York Times on November 20, 1912
  3. ^ THEODORE P. GILMAN ARRESTED in the New York Times on November 11, 1894
  4. ^ THE NEW STATE OFFICERS in the New York Times on December 31, 1898
  5. ^ THEODORE P. GILMAN RESIGNS in the New York Times on January 16, 1903

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
William J. Morgan
New York State Comptroller
Succeeded by
Erastus C. Knight