William Church Osborn was a longtime trustee of The Metropolitan Museum of Art who also served as the institution's Vice President, President and Honrary President. Records consist primarily of correspondence regarding all aspects of Museum operations including acquisitions, exhibitions, fundraising, personnel and trustee affairs.
1.5 Linear feet and (5 boxes)
William Church Osborn Records, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Archives. š
Scope and Content:
Records consist primarily of correspondence to and from William Church Osborn and relate to all aspects of Museum operations including acquisitions, exhibitions, educational programs, facilities, fundraising, relations with New York City, personnel and Trustee matters. Prominent correspondents include Bashford Dean, Roland Redmond, William M. Ivins, Lee Simonson, Herbert E. Winlock, James Rorimer, Robert Woods de Forest, Francis Henry Taylor and Robert Moses. There is substantial documentation regarding the planning and construction of The Cloisters, proposed expansion and renovation of the main Museum building, the search for a Museum Director following the 1931 death of Edward Robinson, the activities of the Museum's Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Committee, cooperation with other New York museums and relations with government agencies (particularly the New York City Parks Department under Robert Moses).
Biographical / Historical:
Lawyer and civic leader William Church Osborn (1862-1951) was a longtime trustee of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He also served on the boards of a number of charitable and educational institutions, including the Children's Aid Society and his alma mater, Princeton University. Although he never ran for elective office, Osborn was active in the political arena as organizer and president of the Society to Prevent Corrupt Practices at Elections, as chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee, and as founder, president, and chairman of the Citizens Budget Commission. Osborn was first elected a trustee of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in May 1904. He later served as Vice President (1932-1941), President (1941-1947) and Honorary President (1947-1951). Significant events during the period of Osborn’s leadership of the Metropolitan include the celebration of the Museum’s 75th anniversary, the construction of several new building wings, and the appointment of Francis Henry Taylor as the institution’s fifth Director. Osborn made several important gifts of artwork to the Museum, including such paintings as Edouard Manet’s “The Spanish Singer” and Paul Gauguin’s “Two Tahitian Women.” Through his bequest he left to the Metropolitan works by Monet, Pissarro and William Blake.
Two series: 1. Subjects; 2. Chronological Correspondence.
Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Office of the Secretary Records, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Archives.
Francis Henry Taylor Records, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Archives.
Osborn Family Osborn and Dodge Family Papers, 1726-1983, Princeton University.
Other finding aids:
An inventory and summary of the records prepared in 1971 by former Museum Archivist John Buchanan is available. Consult Archives staff for further information.