Belmont was completed in 1853 as a summer villa by Ackland's parents, Adelicia Hayes Acklen and
Joseph Acklen. It's now part of Nashville's Belmont University. The portrait of Ackland, left, was painted
by Robert O. Skemp and can be seen by appointment at the Ackland Museum.
Acklands will) written
in 1936) said a little
He couldn)t take the money
with him) but the money
had to take him with it.
Any museum hefunded
would include a sarcophagus
complete with recumbent
final resting place.
incorporated into Duke Chapel. Duke
President William Few pounced enthusias-
tically on Ackland's overtme. He ordered a
design drawn for a museum, a move he
hoped would seal the deal. The Ackland Art
Museum for Duke University was designed
for the west campus immediately, including
galleries, gardens and a 46- by 60-foot
William Hayes Ackland Memorial Room.
Ackland was impressed but not swayed
to Duke's canlp. Then Few asked hin1 to
re-write his will to reflect a commitment
A new will, written in 1938,
mentioned only Duke as a museum site. It
directed the construction ofa"memorial
building in the form of a gallery or
museum," costing a minimum of
$250,000 and not more than $300,000.
Ackland reiterated that his family
members were living comfortably without his
money. The will also directed the estab-
lishment of a $50 annual William Hayes
Ackland Prize for the best student essay as
designated by the faculty - at Rollins.
At this point Ackland's relatives were
challenging the will. Enter John E. Lar-
son, who represented the estate manager,
American Security and Trust Co. In a late
1980s interview, Larson told Timothy
Riggs, assistant director of the Ackland
museum,"I told Mr. [Ted] Olds [co-
executor and co-trustee of the will] to let
me know when Mr. Ackland died,
because I'd do what I had done in a lot of
other will cases and had broken the backs
of the people that attacked the wills."
Larson never met Ackland - the
mysterious arts patron died in early 1940.
As did the other two schools, Carolina
had responded with interest to the initial
request from Ackland. Robert Burton
House ' 16, then the dean ofadministra-
tion, wrote to Ackland that his idea coin-
CAR0LINA ALUMNI REVlEW