Huntington, Archer M. (Archer Milton), 1870-1955

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1870-03-10
Death 1955-12-11
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Hispanic scholar; philanthropist.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : New York, to [George] Kunz, President of the American Scenic and Historical Preservation Society (and expert on gems), 1915 May 21. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270871082

Poet, editor, Hispanic scholar, art collector.

From the description of Archer M. Huntington letter to John O'Hara Cosgrave [manuscript], 1910 August 31. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 754955300

Archer Milton Huntington (1870-1955) was an American philanthropist, art patron, scholar and poet. The son of Arabella Duval Huntington and her husband, railroad industrialist Collis P. Huntington, Archer made substantial contributions -- both scholarly and financial -- in his chosen fields, though he is particularly known for his work in Hispanic Studies. He wrote several scholarly works in the field and in 1904 founded The Hispanic Society of America in New York City, a museum and rare books library which he helped fill with an impressive collection of Hispanic paintings, decorative art, books, manuscripts, maps, prints, and photographs. At about this same time, Archer was named foreign corresponding secretary for the New-York Historical Society; he served in this capacity for several years and contributed to the funding of many of the society's publications.

His first wife, whom he married in 1895, was Helen Manchester Gates, an Englishwoman and author. For his second wife (married in 1923), sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, Archer founded Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina where her works were displayed as well as those of dozens of other American sculptors. (She returned the favor, creating several Hispanic-themed works for the grounds of the Hispanic Society, including an equestrian sculpture entitled "The Cid.")

In 1936, Huntington donated an endowment which established the Chair of Poetry at the Library of Congress, now known as the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress; he also donated to the American Numismatic Society the funding and land for its headquarters and, later, a library. Together with Anna, he founded the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Virginia, one of the largest and finest maritime museums in the world, and established the Archer and Anna Huntington Wild Life Forest Station in the Adirondacks of New York State.

Archer M. Huntington was awarded honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Kenyon College, and the University of Madrid. Among his other philanthropic positions, he was president of the American Geographical Society and a trustee of the American Museum of Natural History, the New-York Historical Society, the Museum of the American Indian, and the Heye Foundation. When he died in December of 1955, The Modern Language Journal published a biographical sketch which included the following praise:

In his passing, Hispanic studies in the United States, Spain, and Hispanic America have lost a generous patron who was also in his own right a scholar of distinction, a poet of charm, and in everything he did a good citizen." ( The Modern Language Journal , Feb 1956, p. 59)

From the guide to the Archer Milton Huntington Papers, 1919-1957, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

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Subjects:

  • Animal sculptors--United States
  • Art--Collectors and collecting
  • Endowments
  • Philanthropists--United States
  • Public sculpture
  • Art museums
  • Public art
  • Sculpture gardens
  • Bronze sculpture, American
  • Art, American--20th century
  • Art, American
  • Hispanists, United States
  • Art patronage
  • Sculpture, American
  • Literature--American Poetry
  • Upper class--United States
  • Animals in art
  • Monuments
  • Art--Sculpture
  • Sculpture, American--20th century
  • Sculptors--United States

Occupations:

  • Poets

Places:

  • United States, Social life and customs, 20th century (as recorded)
  • Spain, Europe (as recorded)