Items displayed on the top shelf                

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Items on this shelf include photographs and documents related to the early history of the Toledo Museum of Art. A catalog of the inaugural exhibition, a key to the City of Toledo, a deed for the property purchased by Libbey, a will and passport belong to the Libbeys are also on display.

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The Madison Ave. site


The photograph (from the Owens-Illinois collection, MSS-200) presents the first building that, from 1903 to 1912, was home to the Toledo Museum of Art founded in 1901. Edward D. Libbey purchased the building and leased it to the museum for a nominal charge. This building was at 1216 Madison Avenue in downtown Toledo (source: Toledo Museum of Art Website).

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Museum site on Monroe

1912 to present

Planning for the new site for the museum on its current location on Monroe Street have begun by 1907. The Libbeys donates a 6-acre land and a $50,000 matching fund (for a public support in an equal amount). (source: Toledo Museum of Art Website).

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Exhibition catalog (PDF)


Catalogue of the Inaugural Exhibition, Toledo Museum of Art, 1912.  Canaday Center Local History Vertical Files.
This catalog describes the artwork on display for the museum’s first exhibit.

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Key to the City

January 17, 1912

Key to the City of Toledo, January 17, 1912.  On loan from the collections of the Toledo Museum of Art.
This key was presented to Edward Drummond Libbey upon the opening of the Toledo Museum of Art.

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Testimonial Book

January 17, 1912

Testimonial book, January 17, 1912.  On loan from the collections of the Toledo Museum of Art.
          This book contains testimonials to Edward Drummond Libbey by citizens of Toledo in appreciation for his gift of the Toledo Museum of Art.

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Warranty Deed (PDF)


Deed, 13th and Madison art museum property, 1902.  Owens-Illinois Company Records, MSS-200.
Edward Drummond Libbey purchased this house downtown as the first home for the art museum. The building was renovated to include gallery space, and also served as the home for the museum’s first director, George Washington Stevens.

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Museum lot survey

May 28, 1886

The survey of the Madison Avenue site in 1886 was completed by Civil Engineer and Surveyor J. S. Stratton. The site was located in the historic Vistula District.

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Edward Libbey's will


Last Will and Testament of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1925.  Owens-Illinois Company Records, MSS-200.
Libbey’s will left much of his estate as an endowment for the museum.  Other beneficiaries included his wife, friends, and charitable organizations.

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Passport: F. S. Libbey


Passport, Florence Scott Libbey, 1927-1928.  Owens-Illinois Company Records. MSS-200.
E.D. Libbey and his wife toured the world seeking art for the museum. This passport provides evidence that Florence continued her travels to acquire items for the museum even after her husband’s death.