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Alfred Giles Family Papers

January 29, 2010

by Tatina Wulzer, Collections Assistant

New to UTSA Archives are the Alfred Giles Family papers. The collection is largely made up of correspondence, photographs, artwork, and other materials that range in date from 1861-1956. The collection was created by various members of the Giles family, including Alfred Giles, his spouse, Annie James Giles, daughters Mary Milby Giles and Annie Marcella Giles Booth, and sons Geoffrey James Giles and Ernest Palmer Giles. A smaller amount of material, dating between 1972-1989, includes news clippings and magazine articles about Hillingdon Ranch and its success raising livestock.

Alfred Giles was a successful architect, originally from England, who created designs for over 90 architectural structures in and around San Antonio and Mexico. Giles married Annie Laura James, the daughter of Judge John James, a surveyor of Bexar County. They had 8 children and after the purchase of Hillingdon Ranch, Alfred resided with his family on his ranch near Comfort, Texas until his death in 1920.

Giles family scrapbook, undated

The Giles correspondence includes many family letters, most concerning ranch news or family travels. One letter from Alfred Giles to his living children expresses his sadness concerning the deaths of his children— Laura, Amy, and Geoffrey. There is also correspondence advising his daughter, Milby, while she is away at Gunston Hall in Washington D. C. The collection also includes original artwork, including a painting of a field of bluebonnets, a drawing in pen and ink of a four-storied detailed house, and a pencil sketch of a monk. There are also many photographs of the Giles family and Hillingdon Ranch and diaries pertaining to a trip to England.

Learn more about the materials in the Alfred Giles Family papers finding aid.

Additional material can be found on Alfred Giles and his architectural work in the Mary Carolyn Hollers George Papers.

The Handbook of Texas Online –
The University of the Incarnate Word website –

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Alice Anne Mitchell permalink
    February 23, 2013 10:37 pm

    Judge John Herndon James was a former Chief Justice of the Court of Civil Appeals. He was the son of the renowned land surveyor John James the Chief Surveyor of Bexar County.

  2. Chris Lorenz permalink
    December 22, 2016 4:35 am

    Was this Alfred S Giles ever a resident of Asbury Park in New Jersey?

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