Admission is always free Directions
Open today: 10:00 to 5:00
Widener, Peter Arrell Brown
American, 1834 - 1915
Widener Collection
Biography
The son of a bricklayer, Peter A.B. Widener went to public schools in Philadelphia and after a little high school began working as a butcher. Through saving and borrowing he amassed enough money to open his own meat shop, which he expanded to become one of the first chains of meat stores in the country. Widener realized the importance of political power, so he pursued several minor Philadelphia city offices which led to his election as City Treasurer. He used the salary of that position to pursue his interest in public transportation, his involvement with which ultimately created his fortune. In partnership with William Elkins, Widener came to have control over several lines of the Philadelphia streetcar system. Widener was one of the "traction kings" who promoted the use of electric power for cable cars and whose influence spread beyond his native city to Chicago and New York. Widener also wielded power in the financial world, owning large blocks of stock in steel, oil, and railroads. In 1858 Widener married Hannah Josephine Dunton [c.1836-1896] with whom he had three children, two of whom predeceased him: Henry, who died at age 15 of typhoid, George, who died in 1912 aboard the Titanic, and Joseph Early [1871/1872-1943]. The Widener home, Lynnewood Hall in Elkins Park outside Philadelphia, housed an extensive collection of paintings, sculpture, decorative art and porcelains, which was ultimately donated to the National Gallery in 1942, through Joseph Widener.
Bibliography
1915
"P.A.B. Widener, Capitalist, Dies." The New York Times (7 November 1915): 5:1.
1932
"The Widener House." Fortune VI, no. 3 (September 1932): 62.
1940
Widener, P.A.B. Without Drums. New York, 1940.
1973
Finley, David. A Standard of Excellence. Washington, 1973.
1974
Walker, John. Self-Portrait with Donors. Boston, 1974.
1993
Lewis, Michael J."'He was not a Connoisseur': Peter Widener and his House." Nineteenth Century 12, no. 3 and 4 (1993): 27-36.
2002
Quodbach, Esmé. "'The last of the American Versailles': the Widener Collection at Lynnewood Hall." Simiolus 29, no. 1/2 (2002): 42-96.
2003
Minty, Nancy T. Dutch and Flemish Seventeeth-Century Art in America, 1800-1940: Collections, Connoisseurship and Perceptions. Ph.D. diss, New York University, 2003:172-194, 444-494
Related Content

Filter results by:

Works on View

Limit to works on view

Online Images

Limit to works with online images

Classification

Limit to works of classification:

Nationality

Limit to works of artist nationalities:

Online Editions

Limit to works belonging to editions:

Time Span

Limit to works created between:

Styles

Limit to works containing styles:

Photographic Process

Limit to works containing photographic processes:

Locations

Find works executed in:


Subjects

Find works containing subject terms:


Alternate Numbers

Find works with an alternate reference number (for example, Key Set number) containing:


  • Filters: