Skip to main content

Samuel T. Shaw papers, 1889-1946

Biographical Note

Samuel T. Shaw (1861-1945) was a New York-based collector and patron of American art. Shaw was co-proprietor of the Grand Union Hotel in New York City, along with Simeon Ford, for over thirty years and was also a nationally known art collector and patron of the arts. He was a member of the National Academy of Design, Salmagundi Club, Society of American Artists, and other art organizations.
Through his membership at various art clubs like Salmagundi, Shaw sponsored artists by establishing cash prizes for paintings which won best picture at exhibitions. Shaw also held dinners in honor of artists who were the recipients of the awards, and sometimes the paintings were purchased by Shaw for his collection. By World War I, Shaw supposedly had one of the largest private collections of American art in the country and many of the artworks he purchased were displayed at the Grand Union Hotel.
Shaw married Joan Baird, who passed away in 1914, the same year that the Grand Union Hotel closed. In 1916, he married Amalia Luzzatto. In 1926, the American Art Galleries sold the bulk of Shaw's collection in an auction. Shaw continued his patronage of the arts and gave out awards from roughly 1904 to 1944. The dinners he hosted for artists were regularly written about in newspapers and magazines such as The New Yorker.