Courtesy of University
Library Special Collections
McIntire helped launch
art, music and commerce at U.Va.
designs being created for a new studio art building and a concert
hall and funding secured for the former, the Virginia
2020 Planning Commission on the Fine and Performing Arts is
helping to raise the arts to a new level at the University.
most of its first century, U.Va. had no art and music departments.
Both were launched in 1919, made possible through the generosity
of local philanthropist Paul
look at McIntire and his gifts places in perspective both the
history of the arts here and the life of a man whose name is nearly
as pervasive in Charlottesville as Thomas Jefferson's, yet whose
biography is less familiar. Two U.Va. Commerce
School faculty members, associate professor William R. Wilkerson
and William G. Shenkir, William S. Farish Professor of Free Enterprise,
chronicled his legacy in Paul G. McIntire: Businessman and Philanthropist,
published in 1988.
Edwin A. Alderman (center) and McIntire (right) welcomed French
Ambassador Paul Claudel to the University Nov. 20, 1929. McIntire
received the French Legion of Honor medal that day for funding
a new hospital in France after World War I.
who was born in Charlottesville, made his fortune in Chicago and
New York and moved back here in 1918. He made his mark on the
area with his philanthropy, giving parks and statues to the city,
as well as funding the creation of three departments at the University.
He also gave U.Va. a flagpole, an amphitheater, and numerous objects
from his art collection. He served on the Board of Visitors from
1922 until 1934.
attended a local private school and worked in his father's drug
store before attending U.Va. for one semester in 1878. (It wasn't
unusual in those days to attend a university only briefly, as
most professions didn't require a degree.)
1880, McIntire moved to Chicago and worked as a coffee salesman,
relocating to New York City and becoming a Wall Street financier
in 1901. He had one child with his first wife, Chicagoan Edith
Clark, a daughter named Charlotte Virginia who was mentally ill
and resided in a sanitorium.
not working, McIntire traveled in Europe extensively, collecting
reproductions of Old Master paintings, Russian icons, enamelware
and china, some of which he later gave to the University. He also
traveled to more exotic locales, such as Puerto Rico and Zimbabwe,
whose tropical scenery he loved.
decided to retire at the age of 58 , McIntire returned to Charlottesville,
where he delved into various philanthropic projects. A devotee
of New York's commuter rail lines and Charlottesville's street
cars, McIntire never owned a car.
After he expressed his interest in helping the University establish
a school of fine arts (departments were called schools then),
U.Va. President Edwin A. Alderman prepared a proposal, estimating
that the University would need $5,000 for materials and an endowment
of $70,000, to generate $3,500 a year. That amount would get "a
tip top man at the outset," he said. (Assistant professors
earned $1,500 a year then.)
little idea how wealthy McIntire was or what he might be inclined
to give, Alderman also outlined a plan for a future school of
music, including a concert hall, that would need an endowment
Within a week, McIntire sent $155,000, specifying that the income
from the funds be used for the art and music programs in perpetuity.
The equivalent in today's dollars would be between $1.5 million
and $3 million.
from his days in Charlottesville of the friction between town
and gown, McIntire said he hoped U.Va. would offer many concerts
and lectures "so that the people will appreciate more than
ever before that the University belongs to them and that it exists
In 1920, McIntire gave the University $60,000 to build an outdoor
amphitheater next to Cabell Hall and $24,000 to purchase an organ
for it (which was sold in the 1970s).
to encourage the teaching of his own profession, he gave $200,000
in 1921 to establish the Commerce School "to give such training
for the career of business as will give our youth knowledge and
skill in that field, and will inculcate in them those habits of
economy and integrity upon which our whole economic life depends."
To Charlottesville he donated land for four parks (Lee, Jackson,
Washington and McIntire), three statues (Lee, Jackson, and Lewis,
Clark and Sacajewea); the building and books for the first public
library; and a third of the cost of building McIntire High School,
along with a scholarship fund for its graduates.
local public schools he also gave thousands of dollars worth of
Victrolas, records, maps and books about art, literature and philosophy,
saying he hoped the children who used them would "have a
broader culture than one out of 25 boys have at the University
when they leave college."
ended up moving back to New York and died there in 1952.