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date: 15 October 2019

Whittall [née Clarke], Gertrude Littlefield locked

  • Gary Galván


(b Bellevue, NE, Oct 7, 1867; d Washington, DC, June 29, 1965). American philanthropist. She was the daughter of Henry Tefft Clarke, a railroad builder, Pony Express operator, farmer, merchant, and the first Master Mason in Nebraska. Educated by private tutors, she later studied at the Sorbonne and traveled throughout Europe and South America. In 1906 she married British carpet manufacturer and 33rd degree mason Matthew John Whittall, and became a lifelong devotee of classical chamber music after hearing the Flonzaley String Quartet at their Shrewsbury estate, Juniper Hall, in 1908. In 1935 Whittall donated five Stradivari instruments—three violins, a viola, and a violoncello—along with five François Tourte bows to the Library of Congress. Concurrently, she established the Gertrude Clarke Whittall Foundation to sponsor concerts and care for the instruments. In 1937 she funded the construction of the Whittall Pavilion to house the instruments and further acquisitions such as the Mendelssohn Collection and myriad rare autograph musical scores and letters. In ...

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