Collecting at Princeton - Dan Fellows Platt
A Twentieth-Century Kunstkammer: Dan Fellows Platt’s Collection at Princeton University A Renaissance man of the twentieth century, Dan Fellows Platt (1873–1937) trained as an archaeologist; practiced law; traveled the world; dabbled in politics; studied, documented, and lectured on art; and ultimately created a vast collection in his palatial home in Englewood, New Jersey. As a student at Princeton (Class of 1895), Platt began to collect Roman glass, coins, and other small archaeological objects. He developed an interest in Italian medieval and renaissance art during his studies with Allan Marquand (1853–1924), professor of art history in the Department of Art and Archaeology and the first director of the Princeton University Art Museum. This grouping demonstrates the variety of Platt’s collecting tastes. Like a European Kunstkammer (“room of art”) of the sixteenth century, Platt’s collection included works in different media from diverse time periods and reflected his own era’s cultural and artistic climate. More than five thousand objects from Platt’s collection are now in the Art Museum’s collections. Platt bequeathed and donated many objects to the Museum before his death in 1937, but most were given by his widow, Ethel Bliss Platt, in 1944 and in the early 1960s. Many of Platt’s personal documents, including correspondence with art historians and some 720 albums comprising his vast photographic archive, are housed in Princeton’s libraries.