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Emmanuel Church Cemetery Great River, Suffolk County, New York, USA
Harry Twyford Peters (August 1, 1881 - June 1, 1948) was a coal merchant, Master of Hounds, and "pioneer rediscoverer" of Currier & Ives, the printmakers. He was a member of the Horace Walpole Society, elected in 1945 and resigned in 1947.
Born in Greenwich, Conn., a son of Samuel Twyford Peters (1854–1921) and Adeline Mapes Elder (1859–1943), Peters was graduated from Columbia College in 1903, and then entered his father's wholesale coal firm, Williams & Peters. He continued in the coal business, was president of Willliams & Peters, Inc., and during the first World War served as chairman of the New York State Coal Conservation Committee. He was a trustee of the New York Trust Company, chairman of the board of the Fairbanks Company, and a director of the Peabody Coal Company.
Peters inherited $500,000 dollars upon the death of his father in 1921–the equivalent of over $6 million dollars by today’s standard–making him a very wealthy man. This fortune allowed Peters the leisure time to pursue personal and scholarly interests, in addition to his professional activities.
From 1925 Peters was Master or Co-Master of the Meadow Brook Hunt Club. For some years Harvey D. Gibson shared the honors at Meadow Brook, as, later, died Jackson Dykman. But on the merger of Meadow Brook with the Smithtown Hunt in 1933, Peters was named M.F.H. for the combined clubs.
A lifelong student and collector of Americana, who made himself an expert on prints, Peters became infatuated with the charm of the Currier & Ives lithographs. He is reputed to have been the first person to appreciate their artistic and historic importance, and he was largely responsible for making the American public aware of it.
He gathered a remarkable Currier & Ives collection of his own, and he prepared the two large volumes entitled "Currier & Ives: Printmakers to the American People," of which the second was issued in 1931. A year later appeared "America on Stone, The Other Printmakers to the American People." In 1942, "Currier & Ives," by Harry T. Peters, was published. It contained reproductions of prints in the author's collection, and selling at the comparatively modest price of five dollars, and with the support of the Book-Of-The-Month Club, it attained a wide sale throughout the country. Another book by Peters, "Just Hunting," told of his years with the hounds.
Long a member of the Westminster Kennel Club, Peters had often been an exhibitor or judge at the dog shows in Madison Square Garden. He was the youngest past president of the Grolier Club, and also belonged to the Century Association, the Piping Rock Club, and the Raquet and Tennis Club.
He married Natalie Wells (1882–1976) and was the father of Harry T. Jr. (1910–1981) and Natalie Peters Webster (1907–1979).
He had a country home at St. Mark's Lane, Islip, L.I. He died at his city residence, 136 East Seventy-ninth Street, New York. He was 66 years old.
Peters’s estate donated nearly 2,300 Currier & Ives prints to the Museum of the City of New York in the early 1950s. The Museum also holds a manuscript collection related to Peters’s life, work, and interests, which is believed to have been donated by his heirs around the same time. The Museum recently completed archival processing of the Peters papers thanks to the generous support of the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.
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