One of the highlights of Freeman’s November 16 auction of American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts will be a selection of items from the prestigious and eclectic collection of Pennsylvania’s late former Governor and First Lady, William W. and Mary L. Scranton. Some of the featured lots include a portrait of a lady attributed to Gilbert Stuart, a tiger maple flintlock rifle, a polychrome transfer-printed earthenware pitcher depicting the landing of Lafayette at Castle Garden, a Chippendale walnut secretary bookcase, and a Willard Federal carved gilt wood mahogany and églomisé banjo clock.
The Scranton family is well-known for producing important political figures and public servants. A Mayflower descendent, William Warren Scranton (1917-2013) was raised in the Pennsylvania city that bears his family’s name. His lifetime career of service began in the U.S.Army Air Corps during World War II and following his return to Pennsylvania, he established a successful law practice. Governor Scranton was elected to Congress in 1960 and then won the 1962 gubernatorial race by a wide margin. He unsuccessfully ran for the Republican Presidential nomination against Barry Goldwater in 1964. During his tenure as governor, Governor Scranton pushed education reforms and helped create the state’s community college system. He did not seek elected office again but remained active serving Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan. His 1976 appointment as Ambassador to the United Nations capped a career spent in local, national, and international service.
Following her graduation from Smith College, Mary L. Scranton (1918-2015) also served her country during World War II, working for the Army Air Force Intelligence Service and the American Red Cross. Afterwards, she held positions in several Scranton institutions such as the Friendship House, and was the first woman to be appointed for trustee positions at the University of Scranton and the California Institute of Technology.
Bill and Mary Scranton shared rewarding lives of commitment to public service and to their community and Freeman’s is honored to present a glimpse into their lives as astute collectors of high-quality Americana.