The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens will hold a special event to kick off its yearlong centennial celebration from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today, Sept. 5, at the library, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino,
The event will be hosted by Huntington President Karen R. Lawrence, who will highlight plans for both the yearlong celebration and the future.
Thursday’s program will also include a panel discussion on some of the big ideas shaping the future, brief presentations by Huntington leaders in each collection area, and a special musical performance interpreting sheet music from the Huntington’s historic collection of the works of early 20th-century composer Harold Bruce Forsythe. Todd Simon and members of his Angel City All-Star Brass Band will provide music at various locations in the gardens from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
According to a 2017 article in the Pasadena Weekly, Henry Huntington, nephew of Collis Huntington, one of the men instrumental in creating the Central Pacific Railroad, came to Pasadena from San Francisco in 1900 with a specific plan in mind — buy up as much land as possible.
He purchased his San Marino mansion and amassed “far and away the greatest group of 18th-century British portraits ever owned by any one man,” according to the story.
In accordance with Huntington’s will following his death in 1927, the $50 million collection was opened to viewing by the public. After his wife Belle died in 1924, Henry spent the remaining years of his life converting the west wing of his home into a museum dedicated to his wife.
The museum, the Arabella D. Huntington Memorial Art Gallery, contained rooms dedicated to the aristocratic French decorative art she had acquired in France following Collis’ death. All told, Henry spent the equivalent of $30 million acquiring art for the museum, which also included a small part of his wife’s extensive collection.