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Charles Rand Penney was one of the great American collectors of twentieth century. Born in Buffalo, New York, in 1923, Charles Rand Penney acquired his BA from Yale University in 1965, a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1951, and in 1995 he was honored with a Doctorate of Fine Arts from the State University of New York for his life-long support for the arts. Dr. Penney was the recipient of many other awards for his continuous contributions in this field.
A Buffalo native, Dr. Penney loaned his artwork extensively throughout Western New York and the rest of the world. In the early 1990s, he donated his collection of Western New York art to the Burchfield Art Center at Buffalo State College. As a result, the center was renamed the Burchfield-Penney Art Center to memorialize his generous and landmark donation.
An avid collector who devoted his life to the pursuit of art, Dr. Penney collected 833 prints of Niagara Falls, including the first print of the Falls, Father Louis Hennepin's Chute d'eau de Niagara. In 1993, the Castellani Art Museum first displayed a large portion of this collection, which is the largest of its kind in the world.
Dr. Penney eventually donated two-third of his collection to the Castellani Art Museum and the Museum purchased the remaining one-third. This collection was donated to the Castellani because Dr. Penney believed that the prints should be kept near the falls so that visitors from around the world could see and appreciate them.
The Charles Rand Penney Collection of Historical Niagara Falls Prints is full of images that reflect the historic and cultural changes that have taken place since the seventeenth century, and illustrate the significance of Niagara Falls to American History.