KELLEY, HORACE (18 July 1819-4 Dec. 1890) was a wealthy real-estate investor who bequeathed in excess of $500,000 from his estate for the purpose of building and maintaining an art museum.
Born in Cleveland Kelley was the only child of Betsey (Gould) and Joseph Reynolds Kelley, a successful businessman. Joseph's death in 1823 left Horace heir to his father's fortune and in the care of his uncles who raised him on Kelleys Island. Horace later acquired ownership of much of the island.
In 1845 Kelley sold his island interests and returned to Cleveland. Like his father, Kelley multiplied his wealth through real estate investments in Cleveland and off Lake Erie's shore.
Kelley's introduction to art museums came with his first trip to Europe in 1868. Influenced by his wife's art interests Kelley made four subsequent trips abroad and accumulated a fine collection of paintings and other art works which would become the core of Cleveland's art museum.
In 1899 trustees of Kelley's will incorporated the funds under the name The CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART. In 1913, after overcoming several legal obstacles, the Kelly interests agreed to surrender that corporate title in favor of The Horace Kelley Art Foundation. Three-tenths of the monies needed for the art museum were provided by the foundation and the remaining seven-tenths was provided by the museum's second major benefactor, the John Huntington estate.
Kelley married Fanny (Fannie) Miles of Elyria (ca. 1859). They remained childless. Kelley lived in Cleveland and is buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.