Speech at the opening of the Murray Warner Collection of the Museum of Fine Art



Speech at the opening of the Murray Warner Collection of the Museum of Fine Art


Warner, Gertrude Bass, 1863-1951






Mrs. Warner's speech at the opening of the Murray Warner Collection of the Museum of Art on June 10th, 1933 (Museum copy)

Museum copy
Mrs Warner’s Speech at the opening of the Murray Warner Collection of the Museum of Art on June 10th,1933.

Members of the Board of Higher Education, Mr Chancellor and Friend, All.

This a very happy occasion for me. We are assembled here today in order that I may present this collection to the University of Oregon as a memorial to my husband, Murray Warner. It is also a tribute to my father, Perkins Bass, who had a wide interest in art and his love for humanity took in everyone who came within his reach, both at home and abroad.

During my childhood we were in Europe for five years and hew was with us much of that time, instilling in us the love of the good and the love for the beautiful, the understanding of which makes the whole world kin. My husband’s interest in art and his love for his fellow man were as deep as that of my father.

In the summer of 1906 I had an experience in Japan which interested me very much. In those days I was doing a great deal of photography and wanted to take pictures of everything. I went with my guide to the famous art museum a Nara and after carefully through the Museum I asked the Director I could take pictures of the status. He looked at me doubtfully and then asked what I wanted to photograph. Due my early training I was able to point out to him the museum’s greatest treasures, making no mistakes and consequently permission to take these pictures was graciously granted, even a step-ladder was provided upon which to place my camera. As I finished, I discovered a beautiful statue twice life size, in a dark corner at my request the Director had it moved to the verando [sic] so that I could photograph it. The pictures taken at this time have been made into colored lantern slides which I greatly prize. When I went to the Director’s office to thank him for his kindness, without any request on my part, he gave me a letter of introduction to the Director of the Museum at Kyoto. Similar courtesies were shown me there, for instance, a large screen as taken into the courtyard, so that I could have sufficient light to photograph it.

In 1929 following the Pacific Relations Conference at Kyoto, I went to see the Imperial Treasure House called the Sho-so-in at Nara. I told the Director about the kindness extended to me years ago at the museums at Kyoto and Nara and from what he said I judged that these earlier courtesies had been extended to me by friends of his, who were grateful for my appreciation of oriental art. He also showed me special courtesies. These experiences taught me that the way to the heart of Japan, which is also the way to the heart of China, is through an understanding and appreciation of their art which they love and treasure.

After my husband passed away I came to Eugene to live, because my son Sam Bass Warner, was teaching here in the University Law School. I found the students not at all internationally minded not at all interested in giving the foreign students a happy time, not at all appreciative because these students had been chosen to come to the United States, to the State of Oregon, and to the University of Oregon, to get their education and form their friendships. So I went to work to see what could be done to change this situation, and to arouse in our students some understanding of the brotherhood of man, all the children of one Father. My mother, Clara Foster Bass, showed me the way. Some years she provided a building in which she established a museum of Colonial art, a museum library for books on New Hampshire, and an auditorium. This is known as the “Historical Building” at Peterborough, New Hampshire, and was established for the purpose of instilling in the hearts of the people of New Hampshire, a love for all that is good in the history of the state.

My first step was to give the University my then small collection of Oriental art, and since then I have made six trips to the Orient to improve and add to the collection. My friend Mrs Seaton, Mrs Potter, and Mrs Perkins have gone with me to the Orient, facing the dangers of a war-ridden country and the siege of Peking, in order that this museum collection might be built up. And above all my son Sam’s deep interest and cooperation, financial and otherwise, have encouraged me every step of the way, and had this not been his attitude, this museum work would never have been undertaken and carried out by me.

It was thru the untiring efforts of Mrs Gerlinger of Portland, President Hall, and Vice-president Barker that the funds were collected for this building which was built to house the Murray Warner Collection. I am most grateful to them, and to those who responded so generously to their appeal, and especially am I grateful to the people of the city of Eugene for their share, and to Dean Lawrence for having the vision to plan such a beautiful building, and to Dr Kerr for his cordial cooperation and encouragement which made the installation of the collection in this building possible, and to the Board of Higher Education for their kindness and generosity.

And now, I hereby present to the University of Oregon, in the State of Oregon, subject to my Deed of Gift, this collection of Oriental art…my hope and prayer is that it will be a great blessing to the University and to the State of Oregon…that it will always be a channel for International friendship and understanding between our students and those of the Orient and that this friendship and understanding will continue unabated throughout their lives.

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






Rights Reserved - Free Access

Rights Holder

University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives

Item sets