Papers of Edward Waldo Forbes and the Forbes family
Language of Materials
Extent37 cubic feet (103 boxes and 15 folders)
Biographical / Historical
Forbes was born into a prominent family on Naushon Island in Massachusetts. His parents were William Hathaway Forbes and Edith Emerson Forbes; his maternal grandfather was Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1907, Forbes married Margaret Laighton, a notable watercolorist and gardener; they had five children.
Forbes’s long association with Harvard and the arts began when he earned his Harvard A.B. in 1895, having studied with the art historian Charles Eliot Norton. He continued his studies at Oxford and traveled in Europe, returning to Massachusetts n 1902 to establish the Harvard Riverside Associates, an organization dedicated to preserving the landscape adjacent to Harvard. Forbes was appointed a trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1903 and served in that capacity for 63 years. In 1909, he became the second director of Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum. During his 35 years as Director, Forbes and his assistant director Paul Sachs oversaw the impressive growth of the Museum’s collections, staff, property, and reputation. Throughout his life Forbes acquired art, with a particular interest in Italian paintings; gifts and loans from his personal collection contributed significantly to the Fogg Museum’s rise to international prominence.
In addition to his directorship of the Fogg Art Museum, Forbes also served as a lecturer in Fine Arts at Harvard from 1909 to 1935. In 1935, he was named the Martin A. Ryerson Lecturer on Fine Arts, a position he held until 1941. From 1945 to 1957, Forbes was a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Accession 7202, received 1973
- Accession 7954, received 8/31/1976
- Accession 8729, received 8/15/1979
- Accession 8880, received 5/5/1980
- Accession 9254, received 8/5/1981
- Accession 9540, received 8/26/1982
- Accession 9814, received 8/9/1983
- Accession 10550, received 8/28/1985
- Accession 10831, received 8/26/1986
- Accession 11092, received 5/19/1987
- Accession 11954, received 6/1/1990
- Accession 14266, received 1/19/2001
- Papers of Edward Waldo Forbes and the Forbes family
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- EAD ID
Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository
Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA