Builders of the Friedsam Collection
A History of the People, Important to Building the Collection of Friedsam Memorial Library
|Archives||Albert O'Brien, O.F.M.||Dorothy Godfrey Wayman||Notes|
Thomas Edward Hanley
From Left to Right; Father Irenaeus, Charles
Tremaine, Jack Dempsey, Eddie Eagan, and T. E. Hanley
August 14, 1962 photo
Thomas Edward Hanley was born in 1893. He belonged to a wealthy family from Bradford, Pennsylvania, a town very close to St. Bonaventure University. As a teenager, Hanley attended Bradford High School. After high school, he went to Harvard College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Hanley also received honorary degrees from the University of Arizona, and from St. Bonaventure University. Following college, Hanley worked for his family's business, Hanley Brick Co., where he was given the position of Director. He was also the General Manager of Red Bank Gas Co. in western Pennsylvania, and had interest in the natural gas producing firm, Hanley and Bird, as his family also got into the oil business to some extent. Beyond all of this, Hanley was also a member of the Board of Governors for the Philadelphia Art Museum, and the president of the Carnegie Public Library Board of Managers in Bradford Pennsylvania.
As a book and art lover and connoisseur, Thomas Hanley accumulated an enormous collection. His collection of D.H. Lawrence and George Bernard Shaw, is still one the greatest in the world. His collection of art included many contemporary pieces dating from the 17th century, up through the 20th century, with a noticeable lack of anything abstract. Hanley's art collection featured mostly the works of Renoir and Degas, but also included Gelle, Delacroix, Monet, Manet, Matisse, Cezanne, Daumier, Gericault, Gaugin, Van Gogh, Lautrec, Picasso, William Blake, and Winslow Homer.
Thomas Edward Hanley's father, at one time belonged to the St. Bonaventure College lay board of trustees, and was also given an honorary degree in 1928. However, it is believed that Hanley's real interest in St. Bonaventure began during a visit to the campus, when he saw a collection of rare books on display. It was at about this time, that Hanley began a relationship with Father Irenaeus Herscher, and began donating collections of books to Friedsam Library. His benefactions lasted from about 1942 until his death in 1969. During this time, Hanley gave to the library over 40,000 books, many of which deal with fine art, 125 works of art, and a book fund of $7,500 which was left in his will. After his death, Dr. Hanley's wife, Tullah, known as the "Merry widow of Bradford," continued her husband's work as a philanthropist, offering donations to many different libraries and art galleries. A manuscript for the first half of Tullah Hanley's autobiography, The Love of Art and The Art of Love was also a gift to the Friedsam Library, and can be found in the university archives.
While discussing T.E. Hanley's numerous benefactions, Father Irenaeus stated,
"In his quiet unobtrusive manner, Dr. Hanley reflects the very culture of learning which he strives to endow... Like Lorenzo de Medici, under whom the Italian Renaissance reached its apogee, Dr. Hanley has spent tremendous sums out of his own pocket on art and books. It is a reverence for learning that is rare and wonderful."
Compared with other donors to Friedsam Library, there are very few letters of correspondence between Thomas Edward Hanley and Father Irenaeus. This is because Hanley seemed to always be around campus, and could work and talk with Irenaeus in person. In the days of benefaction by T. E. Hanley, it was not uncommon to see him drive his car, filled with books, up to Friedsam Memorial Library and personally unload them himself, with the help of Father Irenaeus.
For more information on the Hanley's and the art they donated to St. Bonaventure University, please visit "The Hanley Collection."
Some T.E. Hanley bookplates
Tullah Hanley, on the cover of her autobiography
***Page created by Bradley Naughton, St. Bonaventure University***
***Created for History 419 (Computer and Archival Skills for Historians) instructed by Dr. Philip Payne, and archivist, Dennis Frank***
***Information provided is intended for academic use and is property of St. Bonaventure University***