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Von Kienbusch, Carl Otto Kretzschmar, 1884-1976



Born in 1884, Carl Otto Kretzschmar von Kienbusch lived his entire 91 years at 12 East 74th Street in New York City. By the early 1970s, von Kienbusch devoted the entire second floor of his residence to house his collection of medieval arms and armor, which was comprised of more than 1100 objects, including 35 full suits of armor, and more than 135 swords and 80 helmets. Von Kienbusch graduated from Princeton University in 1906 and spent most of his life working in the tobacco industry. His family made their fortune in leaf tobacco. One of his earliest jobs, however, was with Bashford Dean, who at the time he hired von Kienbusch in 1912 was the curator of armor for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Von Kienbusch represented Dean at armor auctions since the latter's presence at such events often caused prices to rise. Although von Kienbusch was completely blind the last 12 years of his life, he continued to add to his collection with the assistance of Harvey Murton, one of the last armorers, who also worked in that capacity for 43 years in the Metropolitan Museum's Arms and Armor Department. Prior to his death in 1976, von Kienbusch bequeathed his collection to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as his related library. Princeton University received his collection of rare books on angling and certain paintings, manuscripts and objects, as well as funding for men's and women's athletics, student aid, the library, and art museum. His bequest to women's athletics was the first endowment the university ever received for that purpose. He was survived by his two daughters, Mrs Bayne Kelley and Mrs. John W. Little.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Joan Root Collections

Identifier: ROO
Abstract Most of the material comprising the Joan Root Collection consists of correspondence and other materials related to Carl Otto Kretzschmar von Kienbusch, who amassed one of the world's greatest private collections of arms and armor, which he bequeathed to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This collection also includes a small compilation of ephemera pertaining to the City of Philadelphia, namely the Centennial, Sesqui-centennial and dedication of the equestrian monument of George Washington in...
Dates: 1876-1926, 1969-2000

Von Kienbusch, Carl Otto Kretzschmar, 1951-1952

 File — Box: 89, Folder: 16
Scope and Contents From the Series: Comprising the largest portion of the Fiske Kimball Records, this series clearly documents Kimball's extensive contact with the institutions, individuals, and businesses that collectively directed and promoted art and artists, and a public appreciation for both. Kimball cultivated a variety of correspondents, from dealers and donors to museums, educational institutions and professional organizations. Throughout the three decades documented, antiques and art dealers appear to be Kimball's...
Dates: 1951-1952

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