The Ballard Collection

“INTRODUCTION in 1910-11,when the Metropolitan Museum held the loan exhibition of oriental rugs which first brought to public notice the astonishing wealth of many of our private collections in this class of material, the Museum itself owned only six oriental carpets of first-rate importance. Since then, however, our permanent collection has been greatly increased through the Altman and the Fletcher Bequests and the gift of the J. Pierpont Morgan Collection. Furthermore, the Museum has been privileged, since 1910-11 to exhibit as an in- definite loan from C. F. Williams the well-known treasures of the Joseph Lees Williams Memorial Collection of Oriental Rugs. And now, through the courtesy and public spirit of another great rug collector, James F. Ballard of St. Louis, Missouri, the Museum is exhibiting as a loan for three months, in the Gallery of Special Exhibitions, sixty-nine oriental carpets of unusual interest and importance selected from Mr. Ballard's remarkable collection of over three hundred rugs. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of seeing this collection in Mr. Ballard's private gallery in St. Louis will know how difficult was the task of restricting our selection to the comparatively small number of rugs which the size of our gallery permitted.”

This is an introduction to a booklet of that time published by MET ( I have put the link at the end) , James F Ballard in my opinion was one of the leading collector / scholar of the previous century , James Franklin Ballard (July 16, 1851 - April 23, 1931) was an American entrepreneur and art collector specializing in rugs from Asia and the Middle East, and medieval prints by such artists as Albrecht Dürer.According to Saint Louis Museum Library ,Ballard traveled the world in search of art to buy, but most especially rugs.He started collecting rugs in 1905 He traveled over 470,000 miles through Southeast Asia,China, the Caucasus Mountains, India, Northern Africa, the Middle East, and all over Europe.His travels found him in Egypt during the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.He was briefly imprisoned by the Greek government, and witnessed the Great Fire of Smyrna.

In 1922 Ballard presented (after 1910-11 exhibition)to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, a collection of 126 oriental rugs that at the time was valued at half a million dollars.Later he brought an additional two rugs, one of which featured the coat of arms of Tamerlane(really?), the founder of the Timurid Empire.He also gave a substantial collection of rugs to the Saint Louis Art Museum. Ballard was born in Ashtabula, Ohio to James Ballard and Eliza (Heath) Ballard. His parents owned a large tract of timber land in northern Michigan near Lapere.
Despite the fact that his father had ample money from his timber farm, the younger Ballard chose to join the circus and travel the country at a young age. Later he started drug stores around the country and settled in Saint Louis, Missouri. While in Saint Louis, he became involved with the wholesale drug store chain, Richardson & Company.

In 1882 Ballard withdrew from Richardson & Company, and started his own business again, the Ballard Snow Liniment Company. This company manufactured one of the most widely advertised and distributed proprietary remedies of the time. It was the sales of this medicine that made his fortune. After 1923 his business was called James F. Ballard Incorporated of which he was the chief owner, and in later years the treasurer.Besides Ballard's Snow Liniment, he also sold: Swaim's Panacea, White's Cream Vermifuge, Campho Phenique, Smith's Bile Beans, Ozmanlis Nerve Pills, and Littell's Liquid Sulphur, all of which were advertised in his self-published book: Ballard's Book of the Great War.

Ballard also owned the Henry B. Platte company of New York. He was the director of the Mechanics-American National Bank, and of its successor, the First National Bank & Union Trust Company of Saint Louis. Please go through the booklet on…/c…/p15324coll10/id/15299 which I have added the photos and colorful ones courtesy many sources mainly Hali Magazine.