Walters, Henry (1848 -193)

Henry Walters was born in 1848, the son of William Thompson Walters, (1820-1894), founder of the Atlantic Coast Line Company, and Ellen Harper. Henry graduated from Georgetown University in 1869, and from 1869 until 1872 did graduate work in the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard University. In 1889 Walters moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, to serve as general manager of his father's railroad. Following his father's death in 1894, Henry Walters was elected president of the Atlantic Coast Line Company. He transferred the line's headquarters to New York. Under his leadership, the railroad experienced rapid growth until World War I. In 1902 Walters also took control of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. In New York, Walters lived with Pembroke and Sarah Jones, friends whom he had met in Wilmington, North Carolina. Them was both deeply interested in art. Three years after Pembroke Jones' death in 1919, Walters married his widow Sarah Jones. They continued living in Manhattan. When his father died in 1894, Henry Walters was beneficiary of his father’s collection, and greatly expanded the scope of acquisitions. He purchased the contents of the Palazzo Accoramboni in Rome for five million FF or $1,000,000, that contained over 1,700 pieces. In September 1900, Henry bought the three houses adjoining the property owned by his father in the Mount Vernon neighbourhood of Baltimore, in order to house and display the full collection. He had the site designed and adapted as a palazzo-style building, which opened to the public in 1909 as the Walters Art Gallery. Walters died in 1931, leaving the building and its contents to the mayor and city council of Baltimore "for the benefit of the public." The Walters Art Museum opened its doors for the first time as a public institution on 3 November, 1934. Walters also served on the executive committee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1903. In 1913 he became second vice president, a position he retained for the rest of his life.
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