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Friday, February 2, 2001

Art collector, donor
Donald H. Angus dies


By Harold Morse

Donald Hibbard Angus, Hawaiian art collector and cultural philanthropist, died Sunday at home. He was 92.

Born in Kewalo in 1908, he moved with his family to Nuuanu in 1914. The family home, known for its beautiful garden and unusual and rare plants, was sold in 1961.

Angus' education included Punahou, McKinley High School, Menlo College and the University of California at Los Angeles.

Angus moved to London in 1930. Always interested in Pacific history, he sought relevant manuscripts in archives and libraries, including naval logbooks on voyages that touched on Hawaii. He discovered several accounts then unknown to historians. Angus transcribed this material and sent it back to Hawaii.

His collector instincts also led him to gather early prints and drawings relevant to Hawaii and the Pacific. His discoveries from a wide range of sources continue to be significant in private and public collections. Examples are 19th century Louis Choris watercolor portraits of Kamehameha and Kaahumanu, at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Other such Pacific island drawings are in the Bishop Museum.

An enthusiastic supporter of artist Madge Tennent, he arranged for a West Coast exhibit of her work in 1936.

When the Battle of Britain began in 1940, with London the target of enemy air raids, London resident Angus, then an antique dealer, volunteered to help rescue bomb victims.

"You get used to the idea that you're not a hero when you're out driving a canteen (vehicle) and feeding workers who are digging out the living and the dead in bombed buildings, like I did," he said at the time. "You're just a cog in the wheel."

Eventually moving back to Hawaii in 1972, Angus was a significant contributor to libraries and museums here and to Peabody Museum in Salem, Mass.; the American Legation Museum in Tangier and the Byzantine Collections of the Boston Public Library. The UH Hamilton Library showcases botanical prints given by Angus on its Web site:

Angus is survived by cousins June Walker, Howard Lionel "Bud" Grace and friends Frederick Johnston and Jim and Doric Little.

There will be no memorial services. Donations may be made in his memory to the University of Hawaii Foundation for the Hamilton Library Preservation Department or the Donald Angus Garden Memorial Fund with the Friends of Honolulu Botanical Gardens, 200 N. Vineyard Blvd., Honolulu 96817.

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