WILLIAM HAYES ACKLAND
Larson decided to fight Ackland's rela- " "- tives on the legal doctrine known as cy pres, " which allows a court to interpret the terms
of a will - in this case, that Ackland
wanted a museum and that maybe the next 9 a best thing to Duke would best satisfy his
intentions. The family members claimed cy
pres (pronounced "see pray") was not valid
in Washington; a judge agreed.
Larson then launched into exhaustive
research on cy pres and emerged convinced it was in force. An appeals court
concurred, and that was the end of the
line for the supposed heirs. The court
said the beneficiaries of the trust were
intended to be art students and the
public art audience.
In 1946, the estate trustees visited
Rollins, where they made side tours of
Stetson University, Tampa University and
Florida State University. They then saw
Chapel Hill, plus several colleges in
Greensboro, Elon College and almost all
of the colleges in the future Research Tri-
angle. It's not known why they visited the
other schools. But extensive reports on
the merits of Rollins and Carolina clearly
showed the trustees favored Carolina.
But when Rollins challenged the
decision in federal district court, the court
sided with the smaller school, saying it
had shown more interest in the museum.
Carolina appealed again, and this time the
judge ruled that the lower court had
substituted its judgment for that of the
trustees - advantage Carolina.
At one point, Gardner told Larson that
he "had never had a law case that meant
more to him than this one." Gardner died
in 1947, but an argument he'd helped
shape was carried forward: Carolina was
so much like Duke, who'd know the dif-
ference? Location, financials, enrollment
- all sin1il.ar; if Duke was one of the
leading education and cultural centers of
the South, Carolina was, too.
The legal fight took nine years, and
Larson emerged as Carolina's hero. When
the Ackland was dedicated just a shout
from the intersection of Franklin and
Columbia streets, he gave a 16-page speech
Gardner died in 1947,
but an argument
he'd helped shape
was carried fonvard:
so much like Duke,
and cultural centers
of the South,
Carolina was, too.
ground vault for Ackland. They were told
it must be above ground. So there he is.
The marble-walled room lit with two wall
sconces and four ceiling lights is just inside
the front door. The statue is of a sleeping
man covered in a sheet or robe, holding
what looks like a scroll in one hand. Over
the sarcophagus are the words:
William Hayes Ackland
He wanted the people of his native South
to know and love the fine arts
And that's all there is of him in the
museum - his personal collection never
made it here, so there are no plaques
bearing his name in the Ackland galleries.
A few personal effects are stored there,
and the Southern Historical Collection in
Wilson Library holds his personal papers
and the manuscripts of novels, short stories and plays he wrote.
Michael Newman, architect of the
Hanes Art Center, which was added to
the Ackland complex in the 1980s, said:
"There's always been a rumor that he
wasn't really there. There was a rumor he
arrived before the building was completed
and that he might be buried out in the
yard." But it wasn't confirmed, Newman
said, and he left satisfied that the donor
was where he had expected to be.
Part of what's great about a college is,
there are more questions than answers.
Adelicia Acklen and five of her six children are buried in a rather elaborate mau-
soleum in a Nashville cemetery. It could
well be that William H ayes Ackland just
wanted to hang out with the arts crowd.
PS.: Duke began acquiring a classical
art collection and, in 1966, purchased a
large medieval and Renaissance collection
and opened an art museum in an old
science building on East Campus in 1969.
The university expects to break ground
this fall on its first building dedicated as
an art museum. The Nasher Museum of
Art at Duke University is the product ofa
$7.5 million gift from alumnus and former trustee Raymond Nasher. m
DAVID E. BROWN ' 75 is associate editor
!if the R eview.
who'd know the difference?
if Duke was one
of the leading education
sity brought Joseph C. Sloane from Bryn
Mawr College to direct the museum.
"[Ackland] wanted to establish a center
for art in the South. That much we know;'
said Riggs, assistant director of the museum.
"A fortune the size of Ackland's would not
have made much of an impact on the arts
scene in Washington. I don't think anybody
knows why he picked UNC."
Architects first designed an under-
S ep Ie/II &er I0 ct0 b er 2001