Sandra Grindlay

Seen here [this photograph not available on-line] at the Fogg Art Museum with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, LL.D. 1859, is Sandra Grindlay, curator of the Harvard University Portrait Collection and manager of the University Loan Program. The author of The Song of Hiawatha was sculpted by Edmonia Lewis—part African American and part Chippewa Indian— who lived in Boston but worked for a time in Rome, where she began on Longfellow, surreptitiously, when the poet visited the city in 1869. Harvard acquired the marble bust in the 1870s, and such records as exist suggest it was the gift of friends of Longfellow. Harvard got Grindlay in 1987, when she took a job in the paintings-conservation lab after course work and apprenticeship in that field—which she decided to pursue following 10 years teaching art history at Buckingham Browne and Nichols School in Cambridge and earlier experience as an art editor at Houghton Mifflin. She became curator of the portrait collection in 1990 and now looks after about 700 portrait paintings (ranging in date across more than three centuries) and 300 marbles, plasters, and bronzes, as well as a hundred or so portraits of Harvard itself. About 900 of these objects are on view in a hundred Harvard buildings. The loan program she manages also gets art out of the storeroom and onto the walls of anyone in a Harvard building who is willing to pay a small annual fee to live with a museum piece. Members of the community have a thousand objects, mostly paintings, to choose from. Grindlay and her husband, their two grown children flown, live in Lincoln, Massachusetts, where she likes to garden, to cook, and to walk in Mother Nature's masterpiece, the countryside.        

You might also like

The Roman Empire’s Cosmopolitan Frontier

Genetic analysis reveals a culture enriched from both sides of the Danube.

Tobacco Smoke and Tuberculosis

Harvard researchers illuminate a longstanding epidemiological connection. 

Discourse and Discipline

Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences broaches two tough topics.

Most popular

Small-Town Roots

Professors’ humble beginnings, concentration choices, and a mini history of Harvard and Radcliffe presidents

Vita: Fanny Bullock Workman

Brief life of a feisty mountaineer: 1859-1925

Being Black at Work

Realizing the full potential of black employees

More to explore

Illustration of a box containing a laid-off fossil fuel worker's office belongings

Preparing for the Energy Transition

Expect massive job losses in industries associated with fossil fuels. The time to get ready is now.

Apollonia Poilâne standing in front of rows of fresh-baked loaves at her family's flagship bakery

Her Bread and Butter

A third-generation French baker on legacy loaves and the "magic" of baking

Illustration that plays on the grade A+ and the term Ai

AI in the Academy

Generative AI can enhance teaching and learning but augurs a shift to oral forms of student assessment.