Frederick R. Koch
Frederick Robinson Koch (//; born August 26, 1933) is an American collector and philanthropist, the eldest of the four sons born to American industrialist Fred Chase Koch, founder of what is now Koch Industries, and Mary (Robinson) Koch.
Life and career
Unlike his father and three brothers who studied chemical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and pursued business careers, Frederick studied humanities at Harvard College (B.A. 1955), following which he enlisted in the U.S. Navy serving in Millington, near Memphis and then on the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga. Upon return to civilian life Koch enrolled at the Yale School of Drama where his focus was playwriting and from which he received an M.F.A. degree in 1961.
Through personal and foundation acquisitions Koch assembled large and important collections of rare books and literary and musical manuscripts, fine and decorative arts and photographs, with works of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries predominating. His Frederick R. Koch Foundation is a major donor in New York to the Pierpont Morgan Library, and the Frick Collection and, in Pittsburgh, to the Carnegie Museum of Art. Of particular note are The Frederick R. Koch Collections at the Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library at Harvard University, and at Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library that Yale president Richard C. Levin describes in the Beinecke's collection catalog as "one of the greatest collections to come to Yale since the year of its founding." In 1986 Koch funded the full reconstruction of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Swan Theater in England, from its 1879 remains. In 1990, according to the New York Times, the Frederick Koch Foundation auctioned at Christie's the original manuscript of Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh, along with 150 other books and manuscripts by Oscar Wilde, Somerset Maugham, A.A. Milne, and others. The Waugh manuscript was said to be the last manuscript by the writer still in private hands. Koch also owns among his private collections the archival estate of George Platt Lynes and a vast archive of society photographer Jerome Zerbe.
Since the 1980s, Mr. Koch has bought, restored and maintained a number of historic properties in the United States of America and abroad, including a Woolworth mansion in Manhattan; the Habsburg hunting lodge, Schloss Blühnbach (near Salzburg); the Romanesque Villa Torre Clementina in Cap Martin, France and Elm Court, a Tudor Gothic manse in Butler, Pennsylvania. In 2005 Koch sold Sutton Place near Guildford (Surrey, England), the former residence of J. Paul Getty and the legendary meeting place of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn (purchased from another art collector, Stanley Seeger) which Koch restored and operated as the Sutton Place Foundation, open to the public, for more than 25 years.
Koch served for many years on the boards of directors of the Spoleto Festival and The Royal Shakespeare Company, and remains an active, long-serving board member of the Metropolitan Opera and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
- Architectural Digest, January 1994, article by Brendan Gill