Mary Frick Garrett Jacobs

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Portrait of Mary Frick Garrett painted in Paris in 1883, by Alexandre Cabanel. On this trip she began collecting European art.

Mary Frick Garret Jacobs (1851-1936) was a Baltimore socialite, philanthropist, and art collector.

Personal life[edit]

Born in Baltimore in 1851, Mary Frick Garrett Jacobs (née Mary Sloan Frick) was one of three children. Her father was a prominent attorney, and her mother was a descendant of Sir George Yeardly, who had been appointed governor of Virginia and was knighted by James VI and I in 1618.[1] Throughout her childhood, she was educated by governesses and tutors and was not permitted to leave home without the accompaniment of a tutor or family member. In 1872, Mary wed Robert Garrett, the oldest son of John W. Garrett, who was president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and Robert Garrett & Sons Bank. After suffering from years of mental and physical breakdowns, Robert Garret died in 1896 of kidney failure. His widow Mary married Robert Garret’s longtime, personal physician, Henry Barton Jacobs, in 1902 at Grace Protestant Episcopal Church.[1] She remained childless and died in 1936 leaving an estate of $5.5 million to her husband, Henry Barton Jacobs.[1]

Charitable works[edit]

Though Mary divided her time among her homes in Mount Vernon, Baltimore, Uplands (her family’s estate), and Newport, Rhode Island in addition to maintaining a suite at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, she was an active participant in the civic life of Baltimore and contributed to various charitable pursuits. She established the Robert Garrett Hospital for Children at 27 North Carey Street as well as a training school for nurses attached to the hospital. She paid for the children to recuperate in Mount Airy, Maryland during the summer months and provided the railway fares for mothers to visit their children whenever they wished.[1] While the hospital was turned over to the city in 1923, Jacobs continued to maintain the facility with her own funds and set up six free clinics under the direction of Dr. William S. Baer. In 1928, she built and equipped the Hospital for Tuberculosis Children on the grounds of the Eudowood Sanitarium.[1] Jacobs supported the American District Telegraph Boys of Baltimore and served as the treasurer of the Aviator Club, which raised money for a sanitarium for tuberculosis in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Maryland.[2]

Art collection[edit]

With her fortune, Mary Frick Garrett Jacobs amassed a collection of paintings, tapestries, miniatures, porcelain, and jades.[3] Her paintings included works by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Charles Willson Peale, Pietro Perugino, Jacob Isaakszoon van Ruisdael, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Thomas Sully, and George Romney (painter). In 1934 Jacobs offered her art collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art under several conditions.[4] One of the conditions was that John Russell Pope would be the architect to design the wing in which her collection would be displayed, and the board acquiesced.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Mary Frick Garrett Jacobs". Garrett-Jacobs Mansion Endowment Fund. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  2. ^ ”Mrs. Garrett a Bride, Dr. Henry Barton Jacobs the man to Win her Hand...” 3 April 1902, The Sun, 12
  3. ^ “Mary Frick Jacobs’ Donation to Art-Museum Presented: 1, 400 Present” 7 May 1938 The Sun, 20
  4. ^ a b "Jacobs, Mary Frick, 1848-1936". Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America. The Frick Collection. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Cary Powers, “Height limitation on Mt. Vernon Place” Maryland Historical Magazine 79:3 (Fall 1984), 197-219.

External links[edit]