University of Texas San Antonio

Alfred Giles Family Papers, 1861-1955, 1972-1989



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Giles, Alfred, 1853-1920
Title: Alfred Giles Family Papers
Dates: 1861-1955, 1972-1989
Creator Abstract: Born at Hillingdon, Middlesex, England on May 23, 1853, Alfred Giles finished school at the age of 17 and took on an apprenticeship with the architectural firm of Giles and Bivens in London for two years with whom he worked for a brief period before immigrating to the United States, eventually settling in Texas. By 1876, Giles had established his own firm, and became a prominent architect who would, over the years, produce designs for over 90 structures. Alfred Giles married Annie Laura James in 1881. They had 8 children and after the purchase of Hillingdon Ranch, resided with his family on the ranch near Comfort, Texas until his death in 1920.
Content Abstract: The material spans the years 1861-1955 and 1972-1989 and includes correspondence, cards, photographs, artwork by Giles, books, magazines, clippings, legal documents, diaries, and scrapbooks that relate to the Giles family, Hillingdon Ranch, and Alfred Giles architure work.
Identification: MS 325
Extent: 4.4 linear feet (4 Boxes)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections

Biographical Note

Born at Hillingdon, Middlesex, England on May 23, 1853, Alfred Giles attended the Proprietary School at Gravesend, Kent. He finished school at the age of 17 and took on an apprenticeship with the architectural firm of Giles (no relation) and Bivens in London for two years. Upon completion of his apprenticeship, he briefly worked for the firm before immigrating to the United States in 1873. Due to illness, he found his way to Texas in 1875 where he found employment with John H. Kampmann, a San Antonio contractor.

By 1876, Giles had established his own firm, which over the years would produce designs for over 90 structures. These included the residence of Edward Steves, a prominent San Antonian, the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, located on the campus of Incarnate Word College, both, along with many others in San Antonio. He also designed county courthouses for Webb, Bandera, Gillespie and Wilson counties. Through his branch office in Monterrey, Mexico, he designed many buildings that can be found in Monterrey, Saltillo, Durango, Pueblo, and Chihuahua.

Giles’s work has been described as having “a great variety of styles derived from architectural forms of the past, usually in more or less new combinations. Giles’s own means of expression always took precedence over novelty of fashion. Giles produced designs for unpretentious domestic residences and show mansions, courthouses, and commercial and institutional structures all over Texas. He adapted and combined stylistic elements with restraint, sobriety and simplicity.” (The Handbook of Texas Online)

In 1908 he became chairman of the Texas State Association of Architects and presided over the organizational banquet of the Society of San Antonio Architects, on August 6, 1908.

In 1881, Alfred Giles married Annie Laura James, the daughter of John James, a surveyor of Bexar County. They had 8 children and after the purchase of Hillingdon Ranch, resided with his family on the ranch near Comfort, Texas until his death in 1920.

Hillingdon Ranch consisted of 13,000 acres and included horses, mules, registered Aberdeen-Angus cattle, and Angora goats. His successes in ranching were evident by the prizes his livestock won at the San Antonio Fair and Great International Exposition. In 1904, his Aberdeen-Angus cattle won 15 blue ribbons. Giles was a founding member of the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers’ Association and a member of the Texas Cattle Raisers’ Association.


Scope and Content Note

The bulk of the material spans the years 1861-1955 and largely includes correspondence, photographs, photograph albums, artwork (sketches and paintings), and other materials by Alfred Giles, his spouse Mary James Giles, daughters Mary Milby Giles and Annie Marcella Giles Booth and sons Geoffrey James Giles and Ernest Palmer Giles and are related to family and Hillingdon Ranch. Also found within the collection are books on architectural structures in and around San Antonio and on household management, which includes recipes. Diaries, scrapbooks, a birth certificate, baptismal record, Alfred Giles' will, stock certificates, and other legal documents can also be found within the collection.

The material that ranges between the years 1972-1989 includes clippings and magazines that relate mostly to Hillingdon Ranch and Alfred Giles and his architecture work. There is also a genealogy chart for the Giles family.


 

Organization of Collection

Original Deposit of January 2010 (Acc. 2010-001)
Addition of June 2010 (Acc. 2010-024)

Restrictions

Access Restrictions

This collection is housed at UTSA's Main Campus and must be accessed via the John Peace Library Special Collections reading room. To request access, please use the Collections Request Form.

Usage Restrictions

The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.


Index Terms

Personal Names
Giles, Alfred, 1853-1920.
Subjects
Architecture--Texas.
Architecture--Mexico.
Architecture, English--Texas.
Architecture.
Ranching--Texas.
Cattle raisers' association of Texas. [from old catalog] .
Goat ranchers.
Locations
San Antonio (Tex.)--Architecture.
Comfort (Tex.).
Monterrey (Mexico)--Buildings, structures, etc.
Genres/Formats
Correspondence.
Photographs.
Photograph albums.
Sketches.
Diaries.
Scrapbooks.
Birth certificates.
Genealogies.
Books.

Local Subjects

Architecture/Historic Preservation
Family Collections
Texas History

Related Material

University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections holds the Mary Carolyn Hollers George Papers, http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/utsa/00030/utsa-00030.html.

University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections houses an unprocessed collection featuring photographs of Alfred Giles' work. Ask UTSA Archives staff for more information about this collection.

The Alexandar Architectural Archive holds the Alfred Giles (1853-1920) Drawings, http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/utaaa/00044/aaa-00044.html.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Alfred Giles Family Papers, MS 325, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.

Acquisition Information

Donation from David and Myrna Langford in December 2009 (Acc. 2010-001).

Processing Information

The collection is in 1 accession (Acc. 2010-001) and has been encoded by Tatina Wulzer, Collections Assistant. More detailed processing is not anticipated at this time.


Inventory of the Alfred Giles Family Papers

 

Original Deposit of December 2009 (Acc. 2010-001)

In general, copies are original unless otherwise noted. Most letters include envelopes and are on Hillingdon Ranch or Alfred Giles letterheads. Material was foldered and labeled according to an original check list. Some of the items do not have Box or folder numbers. They were not identified during the accessioning process.
Box Folder
2 5 Genealogy Chart Aids – Branches of James, Guenther, Giles, Beckmann Prepared by Annie Laura Beckmann Langford McNeel, undated
ALFRED GILES1853-1920
Box Folder
1 1 LETTERS (22) TO E. PALMER GILES at MIT – From San Antonio, Hillingdon Ranch, 1914-1917
2 LETTER TO "DEAREST SISTER"SOPHIE --Details of death of Amy, sadness, 1894
2 LETTER TO "MY DEAR SON” GEOFFREY" --Written on page Giles Co. promotional, 1897
2 LETTER TO OSCAR RANSLEBEN --Buggy bed not strong enough for ranch roads, 1906
2 LETTERS (2) TO MRS.ALBERT MAVERICK Laura’s death 1927 FROM HER TO MILBY, 1909
2 LETTERS (6) TO MILBY GILES From Monterrey, Hillingdon Ranch, New Orleans, Montgomery, San Antonio, 1911-1914
23 LETTERS (20) TO MILBY GILES BECKMAN From San Antonio, Hillingdon Ranch (Comfort), Maine (vacation with children), Boston (visiting sites, Palmer, Margaret), Maryland (hospital operation details), 1915-1920
Box Folder
LETTER TO "MY DEAR CHILDREN" Expresses his life’s wishes for his children and sadness on deaths of Laura, Amy and Geoffrey, January 1, 1918
Box Folder
1 14 PRAYERS/ADVICE TO CHILDREN -Mar. 8, 1912, Original in pencil on small card, also typed copy -June 1909, photocopy only -July 4, 1917, photocopy only -Apr. 12, 1912, photocopy only -May 18, 1916, photocopy only -Jan. 16, 1910, AG’s written in MGB’s hand (Milby Giles) -"Found in Papa’s Notebook" In Milby’s hand, 3 pages, spiritual advice and thoughts, 1909-1917
Box Folder
NOTES FROM ALFRED GILES In Milby’s handwriting "copied from Papa’s notes," his remembrances of England, another copy possibly in someone else’s hand, undated
Box Folder
1 2 EASTER CARD "From Papa" to Milby, 1918
12 DIARY Small, front cover off, "Alfred Giles" written on first page, Apr.11-May 17 only written in, shorthand only, one page of cash accounts filled in, April 11- May 17, 1881
12 ACCOUNTS BOOK Small, leather, "Alfred Giles" and Comfort, San Antonio, London addresses written on first page,itemized notations, pencil sketches in back of arch.features, gardens, etc., apparently from England trip, 1884
13 HILLINGDON, ENGLAND POSTCARDS (3) Hillingdon scenes with backs Blank,undated
Box Folder
OM1 MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE -ALFRED GILES & LAURA JAMES Dec.15, 1881, (signed 1887?),St.Marks Episcopal, San Antonio, Richardson Rector, witnesses John & Annie James, Charlotte & Annie Sweet, 1881-1887?
Box Folder
2 4 PRINTED PAMPLET Schedule of Charges,Soc., of Architects, San Antonio, Alfred Giles listed in names, undated
4 NEWSPAPER "Wiesbaden Bade-Blatt," 1886
4 "PHRENOLOGICAL CHARACTER OF ALFRED GILES"Prepared by Prof. O.S.Fowler, multiple handwritten pages,1881
4 BOOKLET Small, "A Few Glimpses of New York Grand Union Hotel," undated
4 POEM OR SONG "Green Tomatoes" on Hillingdon Ranch stationary, undated
4 STATIONARY/ENVELOPES Hillingdon Ranch, blank, undated
4 POSTCARD Landscape Hillingdon Photo, Giles stamped, otherwise blank, undated
4 CHRISTMAS CARDS/ENVELOPES (2) Alfred Giles Architect, undated
4 NEW YEARS CARD Printed "Alfredo Giles Monterrey," 1911
4 CALLING CARD "Alfredo Giles," undated
Box Folder
1 3 PRINTING PLATE Metal, Market House, includes San Antonio Express News authentication,1899, 1981 and undated
15 LEGAL, VARIOUS -Estate of Alfred Giles, 1927, E Palmer Giles, Executor, Affidavit -Estate of Fannie B. Shoemaker, 1945 -State of TX Vs. Vinton James et al 1933 -Copies of wills in hand of Milby Giles for John James, Alfred Giles, Laura James Giles -Stock Certificates, Middle Mountain Mining Co., 1,000 and 2,000 shares, 1908,1909,1908-1909, 1927-1945, and undated
Box Folder
2 4 LEGAL, VARIOUS -Estate of Alfred Giles, 1927, E Palmer Giles, Executor, Affidavit -Estate of Fannie B. Shoemaker, 1945 -State of TX Vs. Vinton James et al 1933 -Copies of wills in hand of Milby Giles for John James, Alfred Giles, Laura James Giles -Stock Certificates, Middle Mountain Mining Co., 1,000 and 2,000 shares, 1908,1909 1908-1909, 1927-1945, and undated
ANNIE LAURA JAMES GILES (WIFE) 1861-1909
Box Folder
1 2 LETTER TO ALFRED GILES From Hillingdon, ranch matters, 1899
26-27 LETTERS,CARDS (54) TO MILBY GILES From San Antonio to Gunston Hall Washington DC, news of home and advice to daughter, 1908-1909
Box Folder
2 1 LETTERS,CARDS (54) TO MILBY GILES From San Antonio to Gunston Hall Washington DC, news of home and advice to daughter, 1908-1909
Box Folder
1 12 DIARY Small, written on inside page Liverpool…..Boston, Home items and employee hrs. noted, Jan. note re leaving Hillingdon and reached London, short notes of trip, Feb.12,1887
17 "ILLUSTRATED BRITISH POCKET DIARY AND ALMANAC FOR 1896" Small black leather book with clasp, with few notations, some about "Alf""Geoffrey" indicate done by Laura, s during summer at ranch, probably not done in ’86 as days of month are struck through, 1896
18 SCRAPBOOK "Laura Giles", red, glued articles, faded photo Milby & Marcella, calendar 1882, article, 1905, poem written on envelope from Kerrville’s St. Charles Hotel, child’s drawing of Indians, 1882-1905 and undated
19 QUOTES WRITTEN ON ALFRED GILES ENVELOPE ADDRESSED TO MRS. JACK SUTHERLAND, FLORESVILLE IN AG’S HANDWRITING Quotes in Laura’s handwriting?, undated
10 DIARY 1898 Small, red, Letts maker, good cond.,stamped prop.of Alfred Giles, very few calendar notations some ref to AG, mostly written recipes, 1898
24 CALLING CARD, undated
MARY MILBY GILES (BECKMANN) (DAUGHTER) (1890-1956)
Box Folder
1 24 BAPTISMAL RECORD St. Mark’s Episcopal, S.A., 1892
24 BIRTH CERTIFICATE Vance Ranch, S.A., 1890
Box Folder
LETTER TO PALMER GILES From San Antonio to Hillingdon, family news, 1909
Box Folder
1 21 ESSAYS NOTEBOOK Possibly for school, all dated in 1904, includes "A Little Bird,""On Our Ranch," 1904
Box Folder
2 3 MY COMMENCEMENT BONN AVON Hardbound printed book from Bonn Avon Home and Music School, Ave. C, filled in May 1908 with class info, commencement exercise, essay, social, cards including Judge John James, includes loose report card Nov. 9, 1906, 1906-1908
Box Folder
OM1 BONN AVON DIPLOMA Large, rolled, 1908
Box Folder
1 22 THE BACHELOR GIRL GUNSTON HALL, Hardbound annual of Gunston Hall Washington, D.C., Vol.Two, Loose photos of hats, 1909
20 "MY DIARY, GUNSTON HALL" NOTEBOOK Entries October1908-late Spring 1909 re activities, studies, scrapbook follows with pasted invitations, programs includes White House, Ethel Barrymore, Isadora Duncan, 1908-1909
24 WEDDING INVITATION Alfred Giles invites…Mary Milby Giles to Adolph Guenther Beckmann, undated
25 LETTERS (8)FROM COUSIN EDWARD & FRANCES GILES JEACOCKS, ENGLAND – 1913, (2)1914, 1934,1945,(2)1947,1948,(2)1950, 1952,1953, including 1926 letter to tell of death of Sophia Jeacocks 1913-1914, 1926-1953
24 LETTERS/CARD (10) FROM AUNT EMMIE GIDDINGS Berkley, El Paso, 1916,1947-1952
24 LETTER FROM LIZZIE TERVIS, From L.A., CA., 1955
24 LETTERS (2)FROM COUSIN EDITH LARNAN – 1948-49 From Worthing Sussex re answering Giles family questions, 1948-1949
24 LETTERS (2)FROM COUSIN BERT GILES – Hastings Sussex, son of George, re answering Giles family questions 1948
24 WEDDING INVITATION, Paula Denney to Geoffrey Miller, London, 1949
24 LETTER FROM MRS. CLUBB IN COMFORT re calf sold, 1956
24 POEM IN CHILD’S HANDWRITING "The Galveston Storm" no name, no date, possibly Geoffrey’s?, undated
GEOFFREY JAMES GILES (SON) 1886-1916
Box Folder
1 24 LETTERS (2) TO MILBY GILES - 1913, From Laredo, Papa’s visit, produce farming; 1944, From service in Italy, 1913, 1944
Box Folder
2 6 "A Line a Day" Diary 1911 Small leather, notations from SA while working for father, social life, etc., Jan-May, Nov-Dec. 1911
6 SCHOOL PAPERS (3) – 2 essays: Fate of Columbus and Country Life (hunting experience with father); 1 history map, 1908
6 GROUP PHOTO OF YOUNG MEN ON OCEAN CLIFF Written note on back from Geoffrey to family re grades at school, undated
ERNEST PALMER GILES (SON)
Box Folder
2 4 LETTER TO ADOLPH BECKMANN Biography of Alfred Giles handwritten and signed by Palmer, Hillingdon Ranch stationary, undated
Box Folder
1 24 INDIAN ENCOUNTER STORY Typed narrative of 1912 includes Palmer and Werner Beckmann, 1912
24 WEDDING INVITATION, PALMER GILES TO MURIEL MATLACK, 1919
ANNIE MARCELLA GILES BOOTH (DAUGHTER)
Box Folder
1 11 REMEMBRANCES OF PARENTS, penciled 2-page remembrances, 1984
GILES ART, SOME SIGNED, SOME ATTRIBUTED
Box Folder
1 4 WATERCOLOR OF HOUSE "Back of James homestead by Mamma (Laura Giles) painted about ‘84," ca. 1884
4 BROWN LEAF "Giles""Fine art 7 B+," undated
4 KNIGHTS IN HALLWAY, COLOR "A Giles" also, obscured date
4 PANORAMA LANDSCAPE & HOMESTEAD, undated
4 BROWN WATERCOLOR "Laura Giles", small, appears to be Hillingdon, undated
4 4-STORIED DETAILED HOUSE IN PEN & INK "Geof J. Giles," undated
4 YELLOW FLOWERS other side, faint penciled man reading in chair, looks like AG, undated
4 STONE DOORWAY PENCIL SKETCH "September 1898"…or 1878? September 1898 or 1878?
4 FLOWERS, SKULL PENCIL SKETCHES Back to back, undated
4 2 CHILD’S FACES PENCIL SKETCH "___ ___ a child __" unclear, undated
4 MONK PENCIL SKETCH, undated
4 3 FIGURES PAINTING CANVASES PENCIL SKETCH "Galveston before Easter 1880" 1880
4 CITY STREET & ROOM PENCIL SKETCH "French Baker""Stoves and Tin Ware" businesses, undated
4 GOAT AND CHILD WATERCOLOR small, head to head, undated
4 WHITE FLOWERS & GREEN LEAVES OIL? undated
4 PANORAMA LANDSCAPE PENCIL SKETCH, undated
4 BENCH & ALTAR-LIKE STRUCTURE PENCIL SKETCH, undated
4 LEAVES & FLOWERS PENCIL SKETCH, undated
5 BLUEBONNET SCENE ON CANVAS OIL, undated
5 BLUEBONNET SCENE ON CANVAS OIL, undated
GILES MISCELLANEOUS
Box Folder
1 16 ARCH. BUILDING DRAWING disintegrated pieces of tracing paper with Giles name, UNDATED
Box Folder
"HARPER’S WEEKLY" Article on ranch life includes Hillingdon, APRIL 1892
Box Folder
1 6 "TEXAS HILL COUNTRY VIEW" 1981 Comprehensive article "The Giles Family: A 100 Year Comfort Saga," 1981
6 "TEXAS MONTHLY" Article on Hillingdon Ranch, JUNE 1981
Box Folder
SA NEWSPAPER ARTICLE ON GILES’ VANCE HOME (MILBY’S BIRTHPLACE) AND LAMBERMOUNT, 1972
Box Folder
3 6-17 NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS, OBITS ETC Includes typed copy from "The Builder and Manufacturer," typed copies of Giles info for "Handbook of Texas", including one done by daughter Marcella Giles Booth, numerous articles on Hillingdon Ranch, family list attending Giles talk in 1972, Laura Dreiss Bradfield’s Calendar illus.’82, City Cemetary article, Obits 1982-1987 and undated
Box Folder
1 6 "CONNOISSEUR MAGAZINE, " MAY 1990
Box Folder
MORRIS RANCH SCHOOLHOUSE, undated
Box Folder
1 6 "TEXAS ARCHITECT" Book Review Alfred Giles, September 1973
7 "I REMEMBER AMY" Handwritten remembrances by a cousin, probably copied, undated
9 CARRIAGE HOUSE RESTORATION/MOVE --Articles, feasibility study, committee work,etc., undated
Box Folder
OM1 CARRIAGE HOUSE RESTORATION/MOVE --Articles, feasibility study, committee work,etc., undated
Box Folder
1 8 "EMIL ELMENDORF HOUSE DISSERTATION" --By Dixie Watkins, Texas Tech, 1976
Box Folder
100th HILLINGDON RANCH ANNIV.,1980 Worksheets from genealogy display by Laura McNeel, Invitation, 1980
PHOTO ALBUMS
Box Folder
2 9 EARLIEST – MOST 1890’S, MOSTLY AT HILLINGDON OF ALFRED GILES & HIS YOUNG CHILDREN, PUT TOGETHER BY "PALMER (GILES) TO PAPA IN 1912", SOME LOOSE PAGES, 1890s
8 HILLINGDON, LANDSCAPES AND RANCH WORK, YOUNG PEOPLE, ALFRED GILES, ABOUT 1910-1920
7 ABOUT SAME VINTAGE AS ABOVE WITH SOME OF SAME PHOTOS – HILLINGDON LANDSCAPES AND RANCH WORK, LANDSCAPES, YOUNG PEOPLE, AG, undated
Box Folder
Sheet of 1913 photos of thrasers at Hill. Ranch, Rene Debois written on back, 1913
PHOTOS – PORTRAITS/FAMILY
Hillingdon Ranch,
Box Folder
2 10 1 Panorama signed on back Alfred Giles to ___James, undated
Box Folder
OM1 1 larger rolled Panorama, 1912
Box Folder
2 10 Riders on horses in front of house, 1880s
10 1-1940, (w negs & additional), undated
10 Thomas Giles (1), undated
10 Sophia Brown Giles (1), undated
10 John James (1), undated
10 Annie Milby James (1, negative), undated
Box Folder
Lottie James Sehorn (1), undated
Box Folder
OM1 4 Generations: Mary Macurdy Milby, Annie Milby James, Annie Laura James Giles, Amy Giles (1,neg) & split individ (2), undated
Box Folder
2 10 Annie Milby James (2), undated
10 Alfred Giles (4, negs), undated
Box Folder
Laura James Giles (5, negs, slide), undated
AG & LJG (1), undated
Box Folder
2 10 Amy Giles (2,dups,negs), undated
10 Geoffrey Giles (6,negs), undated
10 E.Palmer Giles (2), undated
10 Annie Marcella Giles (1,dup,neg), undated
10 4 Siblings: Milby,Beatrice,Palmer,Marcella (1,neg), undated
Box Folder
3 Sisters (1), undated
Box Folder
2 10 Mary Milby Giles Beckmann (10 incl. duchess, school, neg), undated
Box Folder
OM1 Adolph Beckmann & MG Wedding w Alfred Giles & home (2), undated
MISCELLANEOUS PHOTOS
Box Folder
3 5 PHOTOS CITY CEMETARY Giles Family Gravestones, undated
Box Folder
PHOTOS COURTHOUSE MARFA present day, 1989
Box Folder
3 4 PHOTOS COPIES . MITCHELL, undated
Box Folder
OM1 THOMPSON FATHER’S, Includes Giles Carriage House Market Place, etc., 1910
EARLY BOOKS/BOOKLETS
Box Folder
3 3 ARCHITECTURAL BEAUTIES OF SAN ANTONIO TEXAS, BY A.F. BECKMANN ARCHITECT , (1 copy), soft cover, early buildings with texts and ads, 1896
3 SAN ANTONIO THE CITY OF BEAUTIFUL HOMES, soft cover, Passing Show Printing Co., early buildings with text, 1915?
Box Folder
OM1 BOOK OF HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT"Mrs. Alfred Giles" p.795 and at least one other page, 1296pp, covers detached, title page and first plate missing, “Milby” written on Appendix page, some notations, loose 1904 calendar and clippings, 1880, 1904
Box Folder
3 2 HOUSEKEEPING IN THE BLUEGRASS, 1877 Inserted Laundry bill for A. Giles, some written-in recipes: puff muffins,brownbread,cornbread,cookie,griddlecakes,apple pudding,brandy peaches,pecan cake, Spanish cream, plus inserted clipping recipes, 1877
Box Folder
2 2 COMMON SENSE IN THE HOUSEHOLD, "Mrs.Alfred Giles" title page, pages loose, a few insertions inc typed "Bridal Chorus from Lohengren," 1881



 

Addition of 2010 (Acc. 2010-024)

Box
3 Kendall County Courthouse 2010 Program