When the Walker Art Building opened in 1894, Bowdoin College honored three of its most generous patrons in the naming of the new picture galleries. One honors George William Boyd of Bowdoin’s Class of 1810. In 1852, Boyd donated around twenty European and American paintings which, when combined with the earlier gift of paintings and drawings from James Bowdoin III and Sarah Bowdoin, bolstered the nascent collection and its reputation. Boyd’s pictures reveal his classicizing tastes and the way that he furnished his home with ancient views. At Boyd’s death in 1860, he bequeathed the single largest gift from an alumnus the school had ever received. The College expressed its regard for him, affirming its belief that “his honored name will assuredly stand at the head of a long line of benefactors.” Surviving papers reveal an erudite and generous man—a cosmopolite, as he described himself.
George William Boyd
- European and American paintings
Nehemiah Cleaveland and Alpheus Spring Packard, History of Bowdoin College, With Biographical Sketches of Its Graduates From 1806 to 1879, Inclusive (Boston, MA: James Ripley Osgood and Company, 1882),160; Letter, George William Boyd to Nehemiah Cleaveland, April 3, 1858 and Letter, George William Boyd to Nehemiah Cleaveland, June 9, 1858, George William Boyd, Class of 1810, file, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.
George William Boyd, Class of 1810, file, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library. See also George W. Boyd Papers, Coll. 132, Maine Historical Society, Portland, Me.