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Leonard, Stewart | Lesley, Capt. Everett Parker Jr. | Lindsay, Sgt. Kenneth C.

Lesley, Capt. Everett Parker Jr.  

Captain, Monuments, Fine Arts and Archive (MFAA) Officer

A Captain with the MFAA in the United States Military Government in Germany immediately following World War II, Lesley was assigned to several posts including Frankfurt and Bad Nauheim. In April 1946, he accompanied a restitution train from Nuremberg to Cracow, Poland. The shipment included some of the most significant artworks stolen from Poland during the war, such as the Veit Stoss altarpiece from the Church of Our Lady, Cracow and Leonardo’s Lady with an Ermine, from the Czartoryski Collection. In 1945, Lesley helped write– and later signed – the Wiesbaden Manifesto, a letter that formally objected to the American government’s decision to transport 202 German-owned works of art to the National Gallery of Art, Washington for safekeeping. From 1946-47, he was Chief of the Restitution Branch in the Office of Military Government for Greater Hesse, Germany.

Lesley was a distinguished scholar and expert on the decorative arts. Prior to the war, Lesley earned degrees at Stanford (B.A. in Classical Literature) in 1934 and Princeton (M.F.A., Art and Archaeology) in 1937. From 1939-42, he was a Professor at the University of Minnesota. After the war, Lesley studied at New York University and then in 1950, he was Keeper (curator) of Exhibitions at Cooper Union Museum in New York. Also in the early 1950s, Lesley was Acting Director at the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences (later Chrysler Museum of Art) in Norfolk, Virginia, as well as Professor of Art at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. From 1959-79, Lesley was Professor of Art at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, where he was later made Professor Emeritus. From 1974-76, he was Curator of Decorative Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

For his restitutions efforts during and after World War II, Lesley was awarded the Chevalier, Order of Poland Restored (Polinia Restituta), and the Honorary Medal of Art and Science, House of Orange-Nassau (Orde van Oranje-Nassua), The Netherlands. He donated his papers, comprised of documents and photographs related to his MFAA service, to the National Gallery of Art in Washington in 1979. Today the E. Parker Lesley Jr. Papers are conserved in the Gallery Archives.


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