Warren M. Robbins

Congressional Cemetery2008

Historic Congressional Cemetery

Historic Congressional Cemetery
Washington, DC, United States

Warren Murray Robbins was an American art collector, whose collection of African art led to the formation of the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution. Robbins was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, on September 4, 1923, to Jewish immigrants from Ukraine.

He established the beginnings of a freestanding museum near Capitol Hill in 1963, raising $13,000 and taking a mortgage to purchase for $35,000 half of a home at 316-18 A Street Northeast that had been the residence of abolitionist Frederick Douglass from 1871 to 1877. When it opened in May 1964, it was the first museum in the United States dedicated to African art exclusively. The Frederick Douglass Institute of Negro Arts and History was established in 1966. In addition to Robbins' existing collection, the museum also displayed items borrowed from Life magazine photographer Eliot Elisofon and items on loan from the University of Pennsylvania Museum.


  • Title: Warren M. Robbins
  • Creator: Congressional Cemetery
  • Date Created: 2008
  • Location Created: Washington, DC

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