Correspondence and Receipts for purchases made on Gertrude Bass Warner's behalf [f1] [024]



Correspondence and Receipts for purchases made on Gertrude Bass Warner's behalf [f1] [024]


Warner, Gertrude Bass, 1863-1951


Ferguson, John C. (John Calvin), 1866-1945






Correspondence between Gertrude Bass Warner and John Calvin Ferguson

June 27, 1929.

My dear John:

I have lots of things to tell you: I was here for six months working away in the museum at all sorts of things. I kept at it very steadily as that is the only way to get things done, especially when you have a lot to do. Then I went to Los Angeles to see George, making a three days [sic] stop in San Francisco to visit Mr. and Mrs. Bliss whom you used to know. Whenever I have been back there at Mrs. Bliss’ home she has kept me in touch with my old friends, inviting them to dinner and lunch and doing it for as many days as I was there. That has been extremely nice for me.

From Los Angeles I went to Chicago and spent a week with my mother. Then I went to New York and from there to the Museum Conference which was held in Philadelphia. They have a wonderful new museum there, the Philadelphia Museum, and I think the building is better adapted to the modern idea of a museum than the Metropolitan which has had addition put on it from time to time, which, in my opinion is never so good as the larger idea to start with. They are going to have rooms for the different countries, one after another, starting from the Medetaranean [sic] going along down the line from country to country till they reached China and Japan. I noticed there was quite a collection of your friend, Mr. Bullard’s rugs. Those that I examined did not begin to compare with those you got for me.

Returning to New York I received an invitation from President Hall of the University of Oregon to return to the University in time for Commencement to receive an honorary degree-Master of Arts in Public Service. To you have received all kinds of honors from all over the world, this will not seem to be much but to me it is the first recognition of my public service and in receiving it I did not forget the kind, true friend who has done so much towards bringing it about. Gratitude for what we do should not seem to us essential but it certainly encourage us to go on, especially when we have to climb over a rocky bit of ground.

From the moment I leave here work begins to pile up for me to do when I get back. I’ve been working like a Trojan ever since June 10th, in an effort to get all the present needs attended to before going away. This is especially urgent just now because the first unit of the Fine Arts building will be started very soon. The bids are supposed to be open the 27th. This unit is to house my collection and they have done very well in planning to house it. In order to keep me on the job they have made me “Director for Life”, and I already find that I have problems that I did not have before the appointment, in planning for the museum policy and all tht sort of thing.

Last Friday I was in Portland at the Custom-house getting the shipment that you sent me, through They took the covers off the boxes. When I saw the way the big table was packed, I wondered if John didn’t have a hand in that as it was very nicely done. They unrolled one painting and seeing that, made me send for a carpenter to have a picture molding put around both my rooms and presently I am going to have a feast for the eye. Its [sic] wonderful for you to do all this for me, and I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am. I will finish this letter after I have seen the pictures.

Sam and his family, (you know there is Sam, Jr., now aged one year and five months) have left Syracuse. They have taken a cottage for the summer at Sagamore Beach, waydown [sic] at the southern end of the Massachusetts coast There is a hotel near them Bradford Arms, Mrs. Perkins and I are going there between August 18th and September 7th. We were a little slow in getting accommodations, which prevented out [sic] getting them for a longer period. While we are East we will visit the Art Institute, the Field Museum, the Philadelphia museum, the Metropolitan and the Boston museums, which will give us a very interesting trip.

In the Fall, Sam is returning to Harvard to be in the Research Department of the Harvard Law School. They are building themselves a house at Belmont. I think I’ve told you this before.

I had twenty-four hours in Syracuse while I was East, and when I asked Sam what he thought of my building a house next door to him he was not very strongly in favor of it because it would tie me down, and interfere more or less with my museum activities, as well as curtailing my visits with you and with my other friends on the other side of pacific.

There are at least a million things, more or less, that I would like to have you tell me. Please answer some of them in your next letter.

June 28, 1929:
The pictures were very carefully packed. I had them sent to my hotel and I have had them up on the walls of my two rooms. These and the room next to my suite have given me enough wall space to hang them up and study and compare them-I wonder how you would judge them in their order of merit. I head the list with the little portrait of the man and his wife-which you de scribes as “Figures” by Ts’ui Tzu-chung, Ming dynasty, early 17th century (see Waley’s Index p. 88).

Next I place No. 15, “Travellers in Autumn Hills” by an unknow [sic] artist of the Ming dynasty -a perfectly lovely picture.

Next I place “The Hua Ch’ing Palace”, by Hsiao Ch’en, Ch’ing dynasty, late 17th century. That, it seems to me is a birthday celebration. It is a beautiful picture with much of interest in it.

Then No. 4, “Birds” by Lü Chi, Ming dynasty, early 16th century (See Waley’s Index p. 64) The mother bird is teaching the little birds to sing. This one I am keeping for myself.

No. 16, “The Scholar’s Retreat,” I am going to send to Sam.

Then the album of beautiful little paintings and the roll painting,-this last I am greatly tempted to keep for myself.

There is no. 7, “Creaction’s Plan” [sic] showing the symbolism of the yang and the Yin; and No. 14, “Kuan Kung”, a sketch. This, to me, represents a man inviting the birds to drink, from the bird dish which he is indicating. And, No. 6, “The Four Graybeards”, by Ts’ai Shao, a Ming dynasty reproduction of a Sung painting -these are the village gossips; then, “Watching a Waterfall”, with a donkey that would not cross the bridge.

I wonder if this is the way that you would classify them! I am so glad that you love the old Chinese paintings as I do, and get the same joy out of them. I wonder what you have up now in your home. I am ever so happy to have these, and to send one of them to Sam, and to keep two.

The other boxes I’ll not open just now, much as I want to.
I am greatly pleased with the pictures and thank you ever so much for collecting them for me. I hope the money sent by cable, reached you safely.

Please tell me the news-How things are going; how you all are, etc. etc. etc.

Love to Mary and to Mary Jr., and to you from
Your old friend

End of transcript.
Transcribed by Tom Fischer.


Gertrude Bass Warner Papers, 1879-1954


University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives


University of Oregon






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