Tag Archives: Yale University

Campbell House First Opens 70 Years Ago!

Sev­en­ty years ago today the open­ing of the Camp­bell House Muse­um was report­ed with lav­ish full-col­or (it was 1943) pho­to sto­ry in the Post-Dis­patch. Here it is:

St. Louis Post-Dis­patch, Sun­day, Feb­ru­ary 28, 1943


A pic­ture of life as it was lived in St. Louis a cen­tu­ry ago is afford­ed vis­i­tors to the Camp­bell House, sit­u­at­ed at 1508 Locust street, which through the efforts of the Camp­bell House Foun­da­tion, has been restored to its orig­i­nal ele­gance and opened to the pub­lic. The house was built in 1851 by Robert Camp­bell, who made  a for­tune as a fur trad­er, and in it were enter­tained many vis­it­ing celebri­ties of the day, includ­ing Gen­er­al Grant.


After the death of the last of the three Camp­bell sons, none of whom  mar­ried, the house was inher­it­ed by Yale Uni­ver­si­ty. The Camp­bell House Foun­da­tion, a group of inter­est­ed cit­i­zens who want­ed to pre­serve the house as a land­mark, start­ed rais­ing funds for the pur­pose. Stix, Baer and Fuller Com­pa­ny pur­chased the house for the Foun­da­tion, and funds con­tributed were used to restore it. The orig­i­nal fur­nish­ings and authen­tic dec­o­ra­tions have served com­plete­ly to restore both the appear­ance and the char­ac­ter of the house.”


Today of course 70 years of research has revealed that Robert Camp­bell did not build the house (he and his fam­i­ly moved in three years lat­er) and the “orig­i­nal ele­gance” referred to in the arti­cle was real­ly just a 2oth cen­tu­ry con­cep­tion of a mid-19th cen­tu­ry inte­ri­or (just as an exam­ple, all that bright white wood­work would have nev­er worked in a coal soot filled house). Click the images to read the orig­i­nal cap­tions and enjoy a look back at the first rev­e­la­tion of a real St. Louis treasure.

Make 2013 your date to vis­it Camp­bell House, be it for the first or the tenth time, there is always some­thing new and inter­est­ing to learn from our superla­tive docents and stu­dents. Find our hours and more info here https://www.campbellhousemuseum.org/



Campbell Kids » Campbell House Goes to the Dogs

James’ young col­lies in Cam­bridge, MA. The sol­id brown one on the right is named Guy.

This Fri­day is Bring Your Dog to Work Day, and although we don’t want our staff’s pooches traips­ing through the rose gar­den, track­ing mud through the house and drool­ing on guests that come to the door, dogs have a long his­to­ry at Camp­bell House.

The Camp­bells loved their dogs, par­tic­u­lar­ly the youngest adult son James. He immor­tal­ized them not only in his Jules Lefeb­vre (pro­nounced “luh-FEV-ruh”) por­trait that hangs in the Library, but he also had pic­tures tak­en of them. Lots of pic­tures. After grad­u­at­ing from Yale Uni­ver­si­ty, James attend­ed Har­vard from 1886 through 1888 for law school. The pic­ture to the right cap­tured his beloved pair of col­lies in the dri­ve­way of his Cam­bridge home. (Awwww…)

After he grad­u­at­ed from Har­vard, James and his broth­ers Hugh and Hazlett took an extend­ed trip to Europe. Of course, the pups went along for the ride:

Pups on the bal­cony in Geneva.….

…stand­ing guard at the door­way to the Hotel Con­ra­di in Italy, and…

…sit­ting nice­ly for the cam­era in an unknown Euro­pean location.

The Camp­bells weren’t the only folks in his­to­ry who were wild about their pooches. A black New­found­land accom­pa­nied Lewis and Clark on their trek west. Cap­tain Meri­wether Lewis bought Sea­man the pup for $20 in Pitts­burgh before the expe­di­tion in 1803 while he was wait­ing for the boats to be completed.

The 1400-pound sculp­ture of Sea­man that sits at Sea­man’s Over­look in Wash­burn, North Dako­ta. (Sea­man is also fea­tured in a stat­ue of Lewis & Clark in St. Louis next to the Eads Bridge!)

Robert’s friend Ulysses S. Grant also owned a New­found­land named Faith­ful, and she lived in the White House while Grant was pres­i­dent! (Since the Grant and Camp­bell fam­i­lies were close friends, the Camp­bells sure­ly spent some time with Faithful.)

Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy owned sev­er­al dogs (Char­lie, Pushin­ka, Clip­per, Shan­non, Wolf, White Tips, Black­ie and Streak­er), and he was the first pres­i­dent to request that his four-legged friends be allowed to greet him on the lawn when he arrived at the White House in the pres­i­den­tial helicopter.

Do you have a spe­cial fur­ry canine friend at home? Grab your pen­cil, paper, mark­ers and paint and make your very own por­trait! After you’re done and show your fam­i­ly, email a pic­ture of it to shel­ley [at] camp­bell­house­mu­se­um [dot] org, and we’ll post the sub­mis­sions on our blog! And you nev­er know.…we may decide to bring Har­vey and Vio­let to work next year.

Campbell goblets are on their way home!

One of twelve Camp­bell gob­lets that are com­ing home.

First day back in the office after a long week­end, and we have an email from a board mem­ber announc­ing he’s secured the dona­tion of some Camp­bell pos­ses­sions from the Selkirk auc­tion back in Feb­ru­ary 1941.

What was the Selkirk auc­tion? After Hazlett — the last sur­viv­ing Camp­bell — died in 1938, the Camp­bell estate went through a long pro­bate case. It was one of the largest in Mis­souri his­to­ry, and it took ten years to wrap up. As part of the set­tle­ment — and why we have many of the pos­ses­sions we do — all the Camp­bell fur­nish­ings went up for auc­tion at a 1941 sale by Ben J. Selkirk and Sons (now Ivey-Selkirk Auc­tion­eers). Stix, Baer & Fuller, mean­while, pur­chased the house from Yale Uni­ver­si­ty (who had inher­it­ed it), and they in turn donat­ed it back to the new­ly formed Camp­bell House Foundation.

Since the Camp­bells’ fur­nish­ings were auc­tioned at a pub­lic sale and the foun­da­tion only had a bud­get of $6,500 to buy back as much as pos­si­ble, quite a few items end­ed up with oth­er fam­i­lies. For­tu­nate­ly, many gen­er­ous folks have giv­en us back items over the years. Today was no exception.

Board mem­ber Tim Rohan learned a local fam­i­ly had this set of twelve punch gob­lets (pic­tured above), and they agreed to gen­er­ous­ly donate them back to us . Here’s the orig­i­nal auc­tion cat­a­log description:

[969] Amer­i­can Ster­ling Sil­ver Punch Gob­lets, Mer­mod & Jac­card Co

Hemi­spher­i­cal body with dou­ble-scroll bor­der, balus­ter and ring stem; ris­ing cir­cu­lar foot with bead­ing, height 4–1/4 inches.

They fetched a whop­ping $2.25 each at the 1941 Selkirk auction.

St. Louis Post-Dis­patch clip­ping of the Selkirk auc­tion. These cups are on the bot­tom shelf of the case in the top pic­ture. Also note that “Women Almost Swoon.”

To the left is an image of a page from the Sun­day, Feb­ru­ary 23, 1941 edi­tion of the St. Louis Post-Dis­patch, and these cups can be seen in the top pic­ture on the bot­tom shelf of the case.

Want to see the gob­lets (and all of our oth­er cool stuff)? They’re not here just yet, but give us a call at 314/421‑0325. The house is open by appoint­ment only in Jan­u­ary and Feb­ru­ary, but we are here all week and we’re always hap­py to wel­come guests.

With this dona­tion, ongo­ing mys­ter­ies and all the oth­er excit­ing pro­grams and events we have on tap, 2012 has kicked off swim­ming­ly. From the Camp­bell fam­i­ly to yours, we hope that you’re hav­ing a hap­py and pro­duc­tive new year.

This week in history: April 5–10 part 2

We have already post­ed Robert Camp­bel­l’s 1832 will.  Near­ly 60 years lat­er — 59 years minus 1 day to be exact, Robert’s son Hugh did the same thing.  Like his father’s 1832 will, this was not Hugh’s final will — he would write a lat­er one to include bequests to faith­ful ser­vants Gus Mey­er and Mary Boer­ste.  The muse­um does not have a com­plete copy of this will, so only the first page has been tran­scribed; it is post­ed here.  How­ev­er, this 1891 will did include a very large bequest to Yale Uni­ver­si­ty on the con­di­tion that they build the “James Alexan­der Camp­bell Memo­r­i­al Build­ing” and hang the por­trait of James, Hugh’s youngest sur­viv­ing broth­er, in the build­ing.  Although Yale did use and rec­og­nize Hugh’s even­tu­al bequest after his death in 1931, the James Alexan­der Camp­bell build­ing as Hugh had envi­sioned it was nev­er built.

After Hugh’s death in 1931, sev­er­al par­ties tried to break his last will.  The lawyer who had pre­pared this will in Paris in 1891 tes­ti­fied in the case and described Hugh: “Phys­i­cal­ly he was stur­dy, hearty, appar­ent­ly well built, young and vig­or­ous.  Intel­lec­tu­al­ly he appeared well poised, entire­ly con­ver­sant with what he want­ed in the way of tes­ta­men­tary dis­po­si­tion, was spe­cif­ic … as to what he desired to do for each.  he also man­i­fest­ed entire famil­iar­i­ty with the nature and extent of his prop­er­ty, real and per­son­al.  In tem­pera­ment, he seemed to me cheer­ful, hearty, and genial.”  We hope you enjoy learn­ing about the thoughts of Robert’s hearty, cheer­ful, and poised son Hugh.

Hugh Campbell
Last Will and Testament
On French Stamped Paper
Exe­cut­ed this April 9th, 1891

In the name of God, Amen. I Hugh Camp­bell of the City of St. Louis, State of Mis­souri, and Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca, tem­porar­i­ly sojourn­ing in Paris, France, being of sound and dis­pos­ing mind and mem­o­ry do here­by make, pub­lish and­de­clare this and for my last Will and Tes­ta­ment, here, by revok­ing and annulling all wills and cod­i­cils by me at any time hereto­fore made.

Clause First–    I direct my execu­tors here­in after appoint­ed as soon as may be after my decease to pay all my just debts and my funer­al expenses.

Clause Sec­ond–    I give and bequeath to my friend Miss Lil­lie B. Ran­dell should she sur­vive me or if not to her sis­ter  Mrs. Laeti­tia W. Gar­ri­son, both now or late­ly resid­ing at Num­ber Four (4) Great Stan­hope Street, May­fair, Lon­don all and sev­er­al the shawls, laces, plate and oth­er arti­cles of what­ev­er nature which may at the time of my death be con­tained in those cer­tain cedar chests deposit­ed by me and now on deposit in the Safe Deposit Com­pa­ny locat­ed in the build­ing on the North West cor­ner of Sixth and Locust Streets and between Sixth and Sev­enth Streets in the City of St. Louis, Mis­souri, also all pre­cious stones, jew­els and jew­el­ry deposit­ed by me and now on deposit in a box on the Safe Deposit Com­pa­ny locat­ed on the north side of.….[End page 1, for com­plete doc­u­ment, see originals]