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Friday, June 22, 2012

Sneak Peek From The Stacks: The Check That Started A Museum Collection


Studio portrait of the family of George Gustav Heye. From left:
Marie Antoinette Lawrence Heye (sister), Carl (or Charles)
Friederich (or Frederick) Gustav (or Gustavus) Heye (father),
and Marie Antoinette (Nettie) Lawrnce Heye (mother),
ca. 1880. NMAI, P37561.

In honor of father’s day, this week’s sneak peek into the stack highlights the relationship between George Gustav Heye, founder of the Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation, and his father Charles Gustav Heye.  Were it not for Heye senior, and his generous allowance to his son (detailed in the letter below), George Heye may never have had the means to purchase many of the items that eventually became the foundational collection at National Museum of the American Indian.










Letter (page 1) from Charles Frederick Gustav Heye
to his son, George Gustav Heye, on his 16th
birthday in 1885; MAI/Heye Foundation Collection, 
Box 2, Folder 14 

September 16th, 1895
My dear Son,
 This being the day when you become of age, it is but natural that you should desire to become more independent, and wish to attend to matters yourself, which so far have been looked after for you by parents. To place you in a position to do so, I am quite willing to grant your request, to make you an annual allowance, subject however to the proviso herafter stated. For this purpose I shall keep especially invested a sum of not less than $25,000 and pay you as income thereof not less than $1250 a year, in equal monthly installments. Out of this allowance you are to clothe yourself properly and suitably and are to pay for all your other personal expenses, except for board, lodging, washing, while you live with us, and expenses, while at College. The allowance to be continued until you reach your 25th year when securities of a market value of not less than $25000 shall be turned over to you and become your personal property, with the distinct proviso however that you do not become engaged or married contrary to our wishes and without our consent before reaching your 25th year, or commit any act disgracing your family. In case you disregard the above proviso, then the allowance shall cease and you shall not receive the securities.
 I am sure you will feel convinced that we are only activated [?] by the desire to do for your welfare what in our judgement is best and trust that you will do your utmost to make us happy and proud of you.
Your loving father,

Letter (page 2) from Charles Frederick Gustav Heye
to his son, George Gustav Heye, on his 16th
birthday in 1885; MAI/Heye Foundation Collection, 
Box 2, Folder 14 
~Rachel Menyuk, NMAI Archive Center

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