Mary Griggs Burke

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Mary Livingston Burke (Griggs)

Birthdate: (95)
Death: February 22, 2012 (95)
Place of Burial: Douglas County, Oregon, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Theodore Wright Griggs and Mary Steele Livingston

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Immediate Family

About Mary Griggs Burke

Mary Griggs Burke (June 20, 1916 – December 8, 2012) was an American art collector. Over fifty years, Burke acquired the largest private collection of Japanese art outside of Japan. Her collection grew so large that she housed it in a separate apartment adjacent to her own on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. In 1985, portions of her collection were exhibited at the Tokyo National Museum, becoming the first Western collection of Japanese art to be displayed at the museum.


Burke was born Mary Livingston Griggs in St. Paul, Minnesota, on June 20, 1916, to Theodore W. Griggs and Mary Steele Livingston. Her mother was the grandniece of Gen. Henry Hastings Sibley, the first Governor of Minnesota. Her maternal grandfather, Crawford Livingston, and paternal grandfather, Col. Chauncey Griggs, were early leaders in the city of St. Paul who both profited handsomely from banking and railroads.

Burke received her bachelor's degree from Sarah Lawrence College in 1938 and earned a Master's degree in clinical psychology from Columbia University.

The government of Japan awarded her the Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1987.

Mary Griggs Burke died at her home in Manhattan, New York City, on December 8, 2012, at the age 96. She was a widow, as her husband Jackson Burke, who she married in 1955, died in 1975. Her vast collection of Japanese art will be divided between the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts following her death, as she had announced previously in 2006. In addition to her home in New York City, she kept a winter home in Florida and a second house in Cable, Wisconsin.

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Mary Griggs Burke's Timeline

April 18, 1916
February 22, 2012
Age 95
Douglas County, Oregon, United States