Anson Goodyear

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Anson Conger Goodyear)
Jump to: navigation, search
Anson Goodyear
A. Conger Goodyear (Army officer, businessman, philanthropist).jpg
Colonel Goodyear, executive officer of the Camp Taylor, Kentucky training school for artillery officers during World War I.
Born Anson Conger Goodyear
June 20, 1877
Buffalo, New York
Died April 24, 1964(1964-04-24) (aged 86)
Old Westbury, New York
Resting place Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo
Known for Collector of late-19th- and early-20th-century American and European art
Spouse(s) Mary Martha Forman
(m. 1904; div.)
Zaidee C. Bliss (née Cobb)
(m. 1950-1964; his death)
Children 4
Parent(s) Charles W. Goodyear
Ella Portia Conger Goodyear

Anson Conger Goodyear (June 20, 1877 – April 24, 1964) was an American manufacturer, businessman, author, and philanthropist and member of the Goodyear family. He is best known as a founder and first president of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Goodyear was born in Buffalo, New York on June 20, 1877. Conger was the son of Charles W. Goodyear (1846-1911) and Ella Portia Conger (1863-1940), members of the prominent Western New York Goodyear family who resided at the 888 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. He was educated at the Nichols School in Buffalo[2] and graduated from Yale University in 1899.[3] While at Yale, he was a member of Alpha Delta Phi and the Wolf's Head Society and began collecting limited and first editions of books. He expanded the collection later, obtaining most of the letters of William Makepeace Thackeray to Jane Octavia Brookfield.[1]


Business career[edit]

Goodyear was president of the Great Southern Lumber Company in Bogalusa, Louisiana (1920–38); served as vice-president of the Marine National Bank[4] and vice-president of the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad (1907–10); and was president of the New Orleans Great Northern Railroad Company (1920–30).[5] He served as chairman of the board of directors of Gaylord Container Corporation, director of Paramount Pictures, director of the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and as an executive or director of several other corporations.[6]

Public service and military career[edit]

Active in the New York National Guard, Goodyear served as a Colonel in World War I and was the executive officer of the Field Artillery Central Officers Training School at Camp Zachary Taylor, Kentucky.[1]

In the 1930s, Goodyear became president and later chairman of the board of the American National Theater and Academy. After World War I, Herbert Hoover, as director general of relief of the Supreme Economic Council, appointed Goodyear president of the council's coal mission, putting him in charge of coal distribution from Austria, Hungary and Poland.[1]

During World War II, he was commander of the Second Brigade of the New York Guard, with the rank of Major General.[7] Later in the War, he was a Deputy Commissioner for the Pacific Ocean area, including Hawaii, of the American Red Cross. In this capacity, he toured the Pacific battlefronts, covering 50,000 miles.[8] Later, as a military observer, he was at the front in Okinawa with New York's 27th Division and reported to the Secretary of War on conditions in the field and troop morale.[9]

Art Collector and Museum of Modern Art[edit]

Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo & Anson Goodyear

A noted philanthropist and avid collector of late-19th- and early-20th-century American and European art. He was invited by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Mary Quinn Sullivan, and Lillie P. Bliss to help establish the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He served as its first president (1929–39) as well as a member of the board of trustees of the Museum of Modern Art after moving to New York City.[10]

Goodyear traveled to Europe at his own expense to collect paintings for the museum's first showing. While there, he visited England, France, the Netherlands and Germany and borrowed 25 paintings valued at $1.5 million (equivalent to $20,706,000 in 2015). In 1939, on the eve of the opening of the museum building on 53d Street, Nelson A. Rockefeller, later the Governor of New York, succeeded Goodyear as its chief executive.[1] His personal collection contained several important works by Paul Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin's "Spirit of the Dead Watching."[11] Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, George Seurat, Honoré Daumier, and Edgar Degas.[1]


Goodyear also wrote several novels including:

  • A Memoir: John George Milburn, Jr. (1938), with John George Milburn, Jr., about the well-known athlete who was the son of prominent lawyer John G. Milburn and brother of polo player Devereux Milburn[12]
  • American Art Today: Gallery of American Art Today, New York World's Fair (1939), with Grover A. Whalen[13]
  • The Museum of Modern Art. The first ten years (1943), about the first ten years of the Museum of Modern Art[14]

Personal life[edit]

Anson married Mary Martha Forman on June 29, 1904, in Buffalo, NY. Mary Forman was the only daughter of George V. Forman (1841-1922), also of Buffalo, NY.[15] George Forman was prominent banker and the founder of VanderGrift, Forman & Company, which later became part of the Standard Oil Company,[16] and the "The Fidelity Trust and Guaranty Company" which later became M&T Bank. Before they divorced, Goodyear and Forman had four children:

  • George Forman Goodyear (1906-2002),[17] who married Sarah Norton (1911-1979)[18] in 1932.[19] After Sarah's death, he married Marion Gurney (née Spaulding) (1908-2001),[20] the mother of his son-in-law.[21] George was one of the founders of WGRZ-TV in Buffalo.[22]
  • Mary Goodyear (1907-1977), who married Theodore G. Kenefick (1898-1972)
  • Anson C. Goodyear, Jr. (1911-1982)
  • Stephen Goodyear (1915-1998),[23] who first married Aline Fox in 1942. She died in 1943 and he then married Mary Van Rensselaer Robins (1919-2006),[24][25] the granddaughter of Thomas Robins Jr., in 1944.[26] Robins was the granddaughter of Mary Van Rensselaer Cogswell (1839-1871) and Andrew K. Cogswell (1839-1900). Goodyear and Robins divorced and in 1964, Robins married Julien D. McKee (1918-2006)[24][27]

In 1950, he married Zaidee C. Bliss (née Cobb) (1881–1966), widow of Cornelius Newton Bliss Jr. (1875–1949) a financier who was the son of Cornelius N. Bliss (1833–1911), the former Secretary of the Interior and director of the Metropolitan Opera Company.[1]

His home in Old Westbury, New York, the A. Conger Goodyear House (built in 1938 by Edward Durell Stone), is on the National Register of Historic Places.[28] Goodyear died in Old Westbury, New York on April 24, 1964[29] and is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo.[30] After his death, his art collection was bequeathed to the Buffalo Academy of Fine Arts.[31]


He was a close friend of actress and theater producer Katharine Cornell, also from Buffalo. Upon her death in 1974, she bequeathed part of her foundation's assets to MoMA in his honor.[32] Goodyear was also a director of the Buffalo Academy of Fine Arts,[33] an honorary governor of the New York Hospital,[34] and a donor to Dartmouth College.[35] He was also a member of the Saturn Club in Buffalo. A friend of Ernest N. Harmon, Conger also made donations to Norwich University, and Norwich's Goodyear Hall is named for him.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "A. Conger Goodyear, 86, Dies". The New York Times. 24 Apr 1964. Retrieved 14 September 2015. 
  2. ^ "Guide to the Anson Conger Goodyear Collection". Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  3. ^ Syracuse University Library, Biography, A. Conger Goodyear, A. Conger Goodyear Papers Inventory, accessed September 1, 2012
  4. ^ "Niagara Area Journal of Commerce ...: A Review of the Month, Volumes 9-10". Buffalo Live Wire. Buffalo Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  5. ^ "Goodyear, A. Conger (Anson Conger), 1877-1964". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  6. ^ State University of New York at Buffalo, A. Conger Goodyear biography, Finding Aid for the A. Conger Goodyear Papers, accessed September 1, 2012
  7. ^ George F. Goodyear, Goodyear Family History, 1976, page 137
  8. ^ New York Times, Red Cross Widens Services in Pacific, November 27, 1944
  9. ^ National Infantry Association, Infantry Journal], Volumes 60-61, 1947, page 54
  10. ^ Museum of Modern Art, Imagining the Future of The Museum of Modern Art, 1998, page 82
  11. ^ "Goodyear, A. Conger (Anson Conger), 1877-1964". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  12. ^ "JOHN GEORGE MILBURN, JR.: A Memoir". Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  13. ^ Goodyear, Anson Conger (1939). American Art Today: Gallery of American Art Today, New York World's Fair. National Art Society. 
  14. ^ Goodyear, Anson Conger (1943). The Museum of Modern Art: The First Ten Years. Museum of Modern Art. 
  15. ^ "Guide to the Anson Conger Goodyear Collection". Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  16. ^ "Candace F. Byers Becomes a Bride". The New York Times. June 22, 1986. Retrieved 28 October 2015. 
  17. ^ a b c "George F. Goodyear". The Buffalo News. June 14, 2002. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  18. ^ Boone, Jay. "Sarah Norton Goodyear". Find A Grave Memorial. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  19. ^ "Weddings & Engagements" (PDF). Buffalo Courier-Express. May 22, 1932. Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  20. ^ Meyer, Phyllis. "Marion Gurney Goodyear". Find A Grave Memorial. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  21. ^ a b Freeman, Patricia (January 23, 1989). "Playwright A.R. Gurney Jr.'s Cocktail Hour Leaves His Genteel Family Shaken, Not Stirred" (Vol. 31 No. 3). People. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  22. ^ "Forgotten Buffalo featuring WGR TV & WGRZ TV". Forgotten Buffalo. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  23. ^ "Stephen Goodyear". Retrieved 31 October 2015. 
  24. ^ a b "Obituaries and death notices, Nov. 8, 2006 Laurette Forest, Julian D. McKee, Stetson services". The Keene Sentinel. November 8, 2006. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  25. ^ "Mary Van Renssel Robins McKee". Find A Grave Memorial. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  26. ^ "MISS MARY ROBINS BECOMES A BRIDE; Wed in Church of Ascension to Dr. Stephen Goodyear by Bishop Austin Pardue". The New York Times. October 4, 1944. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  27. ^ Times, Special To The New York (14 June 1964). "Mrs. Goodyear Wed To Julien D. McKee". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  28. ^ Alex Hoyt, A. Conger Goodyear House: A Look at an Edward Durell Stone House on Long Island That Narrowly Avoided Demolition, Architect magazine, November 17, 2011
  29. ^ James Trager, The New York Chronology, 2004, page 653
  30. ^ Jay Boone, Anson Conger Goodyear page, Find A Grave, accessed September 1, 2012
  31. ^ "Goodyear, A. Conger (Anson Conger), 1877-1964". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  32. ^ "A. Conger Goodyear Scrapbooks in the Museum of Modern Art Archives". Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  33. ^ Arshile Gorky, Matthew Spender, Arshile Gorky: Goats on the Roof: A Life in Letters and Documents, 2009, page 148
  34. ^ New York Hospital. Society, Annual Report, 1963, page 5
  35. ^ Hood Museum of Art, T. Barton Thurber, European Art at Dartmouth: Highlights From the Hood Museum of Art, 2008, page 197
  36. ^ Ernest N. Harmon, Combat Commander: Autobiography of a Soldier, 1970, page 307

External links[edit]