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Topical Resource Lists

Individual Giving in Support of the Arts:
A Resource List

This resource list celebrates the important role that individual donors have played in supporting the nation's museums and cultural institutions. It contains citations to selected biographical works from the Foundation Center's Catalog of Nonprofit Literature (CNL) that highlight the contributions of arts philanthropists. For additional materials on the topic, search CNL with "philanthropists" in the Subject field and arts in the Keyword field (click here).

Cannadine, David. Mellon: An American Life. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. xvi, 779 p. Call Number: 456 MEL CAN

This full-scale biography traces the life of Andrew W. Mellon (1855-1937) from his childhood in Pittsburgh. Amassing a fortune in banking and in iron and steel, Mellon also gained riches in many other business interests. Later in his life he served under several presidents as the secretary of the U. S. Treasury, and was the founding donor of the National Gallery of Art.

Gill, Anton. Art Lover: A Biography of Peggy Guggenheim. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2002. xvi, 480 p. Call Number: 456 GUG GIL

Peggy (Marguerite) Guggenheim was born in 1898 in New York City to Benjamin and Florette Guggenheim. Her father was among those who were lost on the Titanic. She was an early devotee of modern art, and during her lifetime, she dedicated herself to establishing the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. She died in 1979.

Kert, Bernice. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller: The Woman in the Family. New York, NY: Random House, 1993. xv, 537 p. Call Number: 456 ROC KER

Chronicles the life of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, whose influence changed the character of one of America's most powerful families into a progressive force in philanthropy, the arts, and politics. Details her work with the Young Women's Christian Association, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Museum of Modern Art, as well as her interest in other Rockefeller philanthropies. Draws on correspondence, interviews, and archives. Includes a family tree, a bibliography, and index.

McCarthy, Kathleen D. Women's Culture: American Philanthropy and Art, 1830-1930. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1991. xvii, 324 p. Call Number: 403 MCC

Presents the role middle- and upper-class women have played in the development of American museums in the century after 1830. Discusses how such prominent individuals as Isabella Stewart Gardner, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, through voluntary organizations and specialized nonprofit institutions, were able to launch national feminist reform movements, forge extensive nonprofit marketing systems, and "feminize" new occupations.

Mellon, Paul and John Baskett. Reflections in a Silver Spoon: A Memoir. New York, NY: William Morrow, 1992. 444 p. Call Number: 456 MEL

Autobiography of Paul Mellon, son of financier Andrew W. Mellon, who has given away more than $600 million and has helped to create such treasures as the National Gallery of Art. Mr. Mellon is perhaps best known for his philanthropic endeavors in the art world. Includes color plates of Mr. Mellon's painting acquisitions.

Meyers, Mary Ann. Art, Education & African-American Culture: Albert Barnes and the Science of Philanthropy. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2004. xiii, 452 p. Call Number: 456 BAR ART

Meyers' biography of Barnes traces his life from his training as a physician and pharmacist, wealth and a passion for new art, to his establishment of the Barnes Foundation and one of the world's most distinctive museum collections.

Strouse, Jean. Morgan: American Financier. New York, NY: Random House, 1999. xv, 796 p Call Number: 456 MOR STR

An in-depth biography of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1837-1913. Includes extensive coverage of Morgan's acquisitions of notable art works. He spent half his fortune on art, and subsequently donated much of it to the Pierpont Morgan Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York--which he served as president.

Unger, Craig. Blue Blood. New York, NY: William Morrow, 1988. 432 p. Call Number: 456 HAR UNG

Biography of Rebekah Harkness, the Standard Oil heiress whose enormous wealth and eccentricity dazzled New York in the 1960s and 1970s. She spent millions on medicine and the arts, especially through her own dance company, the Harkness Ballet. Explores the various facets of her personality: the wild debutante, the demure society matron, the world-famous arts patroness, the eccentric, capricious, decadent heiress; and traces the effect Rebekah had upon her children, to whom she left a legacy of abandonment and neglect.
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