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Stark, Miriam Melissa Lutcher (1859–1936)

Catherine P. Eggers Biography Entry

Miriam Lutcher Stark, philanthropist, daughter of Henry Jacob and Frances Ann (Robinson) Lutcher, was born on January 23, 1859, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. She was a member of two prominent Orange, Texas, families, both of which promoted the development of Orange and Orange County. Her father, Henry J. Lutcher, moved with his family and partner, G. Bedell Moore, to Orange from Pennsylvania in 1877. In Orange the partners established a profitable lumber business and gradually expanded into other areas—investments in land, cattle, banking, and farming. On December 22, 1881, Miriam Lutcher married William Henry Stark, a local businessman who later became president of the Lutcher and Moore interests in Louisiana. Together the Starks increased the families' interests in real estate, milling, banking, and other commercial ventures. Miriam and William Stark had two children, Frances Ann, who died in infancy, and Henry Jacob Lutcher Stark, who graduated from the University of Texas and later served for many years on the university board of regents (as had his father). Mrs. Stark was a lifelong member of the Presbyterian church in Orange, where she taught a women's class for many years. She was active in Pi Beta Phi from her induction in 1931. She was also an ardent collector of art and rare manuscripts. In 1926 she gave the University of Texas a collection of paintings and manuscripts worth $1 million. The collection included correspondence of Byron, Shelley, and Keats, rare first editions by Byron and Milton, several thousand volumes of history and literature, in addition to porcelain, lace, tapestries, antique furniture, paintings, jewels, and statuary. Many other works of art collected by Miriam Stark and her family are exhibited in the Stark Museum of Art, which opened in 1976 in Orange. Mrs. Stark died on November 27, 1936, shortly after the death of her husband, in Orange, Texas. She was entombed in the family mausoleum in Evergreen Cemetery, Orange.

Beaumont Enterprise, November 29, 1936. Beaumont Journal, November 27, 1936. Howard C. Williams, "William H. Stark," Las Sabinas: The Official Quarterly Publication of the Orange County Historical Society 4 (1980).


  • Women
  • Patrons, Collectors, and Philanthropists

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Catherine P. Eggers, “Stark, Miriam Melissa Lutcher,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 12, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: