Sale 19027
Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts Including Americana
Online 1 - 16 October 2020
Pre-lot text

Property from the Collection of Nina R. and Arthur A. Houghton, Jr.

The following lot, and lots 48 and 49, come from the distinguished collection of Nina R. and Arthur A. Houghton, Jr. Mr. Houghton was an influential patron of the arts as well as a renowned collector in his own right. He held an avid interest in literature and the English language since his undergraduate years, and he focused his early energies on the collection of manuscripts and first edition books by authors including Milton, Pepys, Shakespeare, Spenser, Keats, and Lewis Carroll, later extending his bibliophily to include landmark works such as two Gutenberg Bibles and the unparalleled Shahnameh of Shah Tahmasp. He formed an outstanding collection of miniature books, English Silver, and acquired over time a small but exquisite group of paintings, by Thomas Sully, Jean Honore Fragonard, and Francesco Guardi among others.

W.H. Bond, then curator of the Houghton Library at Harvard, provided the foreword to the catalogue for the sale of Mr. Houghton’s private library at Christie’s in 1979, beginning, “In 1957, writing about Arthur Houghton’s library in The Book Collector, I remarked, ‘As one ranges the shelves, two governing principles of the collection quickly became apparent: association and, even more strongly, condition.’ I might have added two other characteristics, but these seemed to me obvious: intrinsic importance and absolute rarity.

In addition to endowing the Houghton Library as a repository for Harvard's collections of rare books and manuscripts, Mr. Houghton was a board member of the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, vice chairman of a committee to create Lincoln Center, vice president of the Pierpont Morgan Library, trustee and chairman of the Cooper Union, trustee and chairman of the Parsons School of Design, and co-founder of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Arthur Houghton married Nina Rodale in 1972, and together they lived on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with their children. Nina Rodale Houghton was a life-long supporter of educational institutions and causes, serving as Trustee of the Wye Institute, Trustee of Goucher College, a board member of the Columbus Center in Baltimore, and an advisory group member to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. She was a member of the Board of Visitors to Johns Hopkins Medicine, a member of the Board of Visitors of University of Maryland College Park, and a board member of the Aspen Institute. Before marrying Mr. Houghton, she worked with the Sea Mammal Motivational Institute (SEAMAMM) studying and training seals and sea lions aboard a research vessel with her family for four years, which was covered in depth in a November 1968 National Geographic article.

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