Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America

Laffan, William M.

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role Collector
dates 1848–1909
city Lawrence, L.I.
other citiesDublin, Ireland; San Francisco, CA; Baltimore, MD; New York;
gender M
historical notes William Mackay Laffan was and connoisseur, collector, the publisher and principle owner of the New York Sun, vice president of the Lanston Monotype Company, and served on the board of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Laffan collected art when he traveled and for his job he frequented Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Greece, Egypt, the West Indies, Central American and North America.

He was an authority on Oriental Ceramics as well as Egyptian, classical art and primitive paintings. While building his own collection Laffan advised collectors such as C A Daly, J P Morgan, and W T Walters.

Laffan married Georginia Tompkins Radcliffe in 1872; she was the daughter of Judge Daniel Radcliffe of Washington, DC.

Laffan was a member of the Union, New York Yacht, Racquet and Tennis, the Rockaway Hunt, and Midday Clubs in New York and the Art Club of London and Chicago’s Chicago Club.

Laffan’s sale was held in January 1911, and included "The Laughing Girl," by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and "Charles I. on Horseback," by Thomas Gainsborough.
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updated 11/18/2014 04:50
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Archive Location Collection Title Links
The Frick Collection and Frick Art Reference Library American Art Association records, 1877-1924 (bulk 1910-1924) see details...
University of Virginia Library W. M. Laffan letter to Samuel Sidney McClure see details...
Pierpont Morgan Library Archives William M Laffan Correspondence, 1906-09. see details...
The Folger Shakespeare Library Collection of mostly autograph letters signed, (49) incomplete [manuscript]: to various people, [n.d.], 1864-1917. see details...
Syracuse University Library The Rudyard Kipling Collection, 1883-1967. see details...
Pierpont Morgan Library Archives Typewritten letter signed : Camp Wikoff, Montauk Point, Long Island, to William M. Laffan, 1898 Aug. 18. see details...
Pierpont Morgan Library Archives Mr. Laffan and the sun. see details...
Pierpont Morgan Library Archives Autograph letter signed : to William M. Laffan, 1909 May 3. see details...