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Antiquarian Society

The Antiquarian Society continues a tradition begun well over a century ago to provide funding for acquisitions to the museum’s departments of American Art and European Decorative Arts.

Founded in 1877 as the Chicago Society of Decorative Art, the Antiquarian Society originally sought to help impoverished women master the skills of an honorable trade, particularly by training women artists and artisans in the applied arts. with the aid of teachers in drawing, painting, and needlework, the early Antiquarians embarked on improving the quality of women’s work and creating a market for it. Admiration for the resultant handiwork was so great that the society was invited to occupy rooms at the newly organized Art Institute of Chicago.
In 1888, Mrs. Mary E. Pode purchased the society’s entire stock of art objects and assumed all financial responsibilities for it. Later that year, a motion was made to allocate a portion of the accumulated funds for the purchase of a collection to donate to the Art Institute. On April 7, 1891, a proposal was sent to the board “that the money now in the treasury ... be applied to the purchase of articles pertaining to the Industrial Arts, such as pottery, china, embroideries, laces, etc., to be presented to the Art Institute and marked in such a way that credit should be given to the society for the gift.”
On November 10, 1894, the society was renamed Antiquarians of the Art Institute to more accurately reflect the future purpose of the organization. In 1908, the board decided to further alter the name to the Antiquarian Society of the Art Institute of Chicago.
The Antiquarian Society of today, having played an important role in fostering the early collection of the Art Institute of Chicago and subsequently assuring its continued growth through donations of funds for acquisitions, maintains the tradition of support through the continuing generosity of its members.

Membership in the Antiquarian Society is by invitation.

Mrs. John T. Golitz

Vice President
Mrs. James N. Bay

Mrs. Byron C. Karzas

Assistant Secretary
Mrs. Richard M. Norton

Ms. Suzanne Hammond

Assistant Treasurer
Mrs. William R. Tobey

Mrs. William Adams IV
Mrs. Stephen Babington
Mrs. Chandler Bigelow III
Mrs. Elizabeth Clark
Mrs. Dwight M. Cleveland
Mrs. Peter W. Elmer
Mrs. Victor Elting III
Ms. Lili Gaubin
Mrs. Michael Gordon
Mrs. W. Bruce Johnson
Mrs. Thomas Eric Kilcollin
Mrs. James Walter Kyle
Mrs. Gordon Lang, Jr.
Mrs. David Maher
Mrs. John H. McDermott
Mrs. Richard H. Nicolaides
Mrs. James H. Schink

President's Council
Mrs. James A. Alsdorf
Mrs. John A. Bross
Mrs. Edward Hines
Mrs. William R. Jentes
Mrs. Philip S. J. Moriarty
Mrs. John K. Notz, Jr.
Mrs. Richard J. L. Senior
Mrs. Thomas J. Tausché

Mrs. Kurt Mancillas (chair)

Mrs. J. Kevin McCool (chair)

Mrs. David C. Hilliard

Mrs. Suzanne Hammond (chair)

Mrs. Keene Addington
Mrs. Gordon Lang, Jr.
Ms. Lili Gaubin
Mrs. Arthur L. Kelly
Mrs. Fred A. Krehbiel
Mrs. John W. Madigan
Mrs. Thomas E. O’Neill III

Mrs. Richard J. L. Senior (chair)

Marcia Hines (chair)

The following events are restricted to members of the Antiquarian Society and their guests. Unless noted, monthly programs begin with a lecture at 11:00, followed by a lunch at noon.

From Renowned to Obscure: New Discoveries in American Decorative Arts
Tuesday, October 10
Nichols Board of Trustees Suite
Brady S. Culp, Richard Koopman Curator of American Decorative Arts, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford

Annual Meeting/Lunch
Tuesday, November 14
Nichols Board of Trustees Suite

Tuesday, December 12
Nichols Board of Trustees Suite
Dr. Wilfried Zeisler, curator of Russian and 19th-century art, Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens, Washington, D.C.

Past and Present: Steuben and American Glass in the 1920s
Tuesday, January 9

Nichols Board of Trustees Suite
Benjamin Colman, associate curator of decorative arts, Detroit Institute of Art

Male Adornment and Renaissance Jewelry in Jacobean England and the Discovery of Cheapside Hoard
Tuesday, February 13
Nichols Board of Trustees Suite
Natasha Awais-Dean, historian and author

Wealth and Ambition and Taste: Painted Furniture and Interiors in Early 19th Century Philadelphia
Tuesday, March 13
Nichols Board of Trustees Suite
Alexandra Kirtley, Montgomery-Garvan Curator of American Decorative Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Grinling Gibbons and the Art of Carving
Tuesday, April 3
Nichols Board of Trustees Suite
David Esterly, historian, author, and carver 

Annual Spring Luncheon
Program to be announced
Tuesday, April 24
The Casino, 195 East Delaware Place

Lecture/Afternoon Tea
Looking Back, Looking Forward: Collecting American Art at the Art Institute of Chicago
Tuesday, May 15

Nichols Board of Trustees Suite
Sarah Kelly Oehler, Field-McCormick Chair and Curator of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago

All of the lecture/luncheon programs take place at the Art Institute of Chicago in the Nichols Board of Trustees Suite, on the second floor of the Modern Wing. The Spring Luncheon on April 24 will take place at the Casino, 195 East Delaware Place, in Chicago.