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Bryan Lathrop, 1844-1916

Nationality: American
Date of Birth: 6 August 1846


Bryan Lathrop was a real estate investor, collector of prints and drawings, and Trustee of the Chicago Art Institute.


Lathrop was born in Alexandria, Virginia, on 6 August 1844, and moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1865. In his early career he was involved with real estate and life insurance, and later became a manager and investment banker. Lathrop became a member of the Caxton Club and Orchestral Association. He was also a trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1893/1894, a post he held until 1916, and a trustee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestral Association from 1894 to 1898, and then the orchestra's vice-president from 1894 to 1898 and president from 1899 to 1916. He was president of the Chicago Relief and Aid Society, trustee of the Newbery Library from 1896 to 1916 and the guarantor of the Poetry magazine.

In 1875 he married Helen Lynde Aldis, a daughter of the prominent Chicago Judge Asa O. Aldis, who shared similar artistic and literary interests. Their Georgian Revival house, 120 East Bellevue Place, in the Rogers Park area of Chicago was designed by the architect Charles Follen McKim and built in 1892 by his New York firm of McKim, Mead & White. It was designated a Chicago Landmark on 9 May 1973 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Lathrop formed a comprehensive collection of Whistler prints. As a collector he was more interested in variety than rarity of states. A memorial exhibition of his collection of Whistler etchings and lithographs was held in the Art Institute of Chicago on 12 March - 1 May 1917 following his death on 13 May 1916. Helen Lathrop gave 102 Whistler etchings and 142 lithographs to the Art Institute.


Catalogue of the Bryan Lathrop Collection of Etchings and Lithographs by James McNeill Whistler, Department of Prints, Art Institute of Chicago, 1917; Who Was Who in America, vol. 1, 1897-1942, Chicago, 1943; Horowitz, Helen Lefkowitz, Culture and the City: Cultural Philanthropy in Chicago from the 1880s to 1917, Lexington, Kentucky, 1976; see Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago; National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service; City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development, Landmarks Division, 2003,; Hon. Edward F. Dunne, Illinois: The Heart of the Nation, vol. 4, Chicago, 1933; Philip J. Funigiello, Florence Lathrop Page: A Biography, University of Virginia Press, 1994. Lugt, Frits, Les marques de collections de dessins et d'estampes: marques estampillèes et écrites de collections particulières et publiques; marques de marchands, de monteurs et d'imprimeurs; etc..., Amsterdam, 1921 (2972).