|Excerpts from John Ringling's will
concerning his museum and home
1. JOHN RINGLING, a resident of Sarasota, in the state of Florida, do hereby make, publish and declare this my last will and Testament, hereby intending to dispose of all my property, real, personal and mixed, in possession or expectancy, and I hereby revoke all other Wills and codicils by my heretofore at any time made; and...
FIRST: I order and direct that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid as soon as conveniently may be after my decease.
SECOND: To the State of Florida, I give, devise and bequeath my art museum and residence at Sarasota Florida, now respectively known as "The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art" and "Cad D'a' Zan" together with all paintings, pictures, works of art, tapestries, antiques, sculptures, library of art books, which may be contained in said museum and/or residence or which may properly belong thereto as well as all objects of art which may at the time of my death be held in the name of the Rembrandt Corporation or any other corporation and with respect to which I may have power of disposition, such bequest and/or devise being subject to the following conditions: (a) that my residence be joined to and become a part of "The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art" and be used for the general purpose of hanging Venetian paintings, thereby becoming a museum of Venetian Art; (b) that said Museum shall always be known as "The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art" without power in any one to change said name and such name shall appear on all catalogues, printings and stationery issued by and in connection with said Museum; (c) no change by sale, trade or other means shall be made in any of the paintings or objects of art which may form a part of said Museum at the time of my death; (d) the income and/or principal which may be paid to the State of Florida pursuant to Paragraph "Fourth" hereof shall be used for the purpose of adding to, embellishing or increasing the contents of said Museum; (e) unless said Museum is endowed by me prior to my death the maintenance of said Museum shall be provided for by the charge of a reasonable admission fee provided, however, that on at least one day per week admission to the public be granted without charge. In the event that the State of Florida should fail to accept this bequest or device subject to the conditions as herein expressed, then it shall go to the City of Sarasota, Florida, on the same terms and conditions.
THIRD: To my wife EMILY HAGUE RINGLING, I give and bequeath the sum of One Dollar ($1.00) only.
FOURTH: One-half of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, I give, devise and bequeath to the trustees hereinafter named, to have and to hold the same in trust, nevertheless, investing and reinvesting the same and paying over the net annual income therefrom in quarterly or other convenient installments to such representatives or agencies of the Government of the State of Florida as may have charge, management, or control of my art museum and residence hereinbefore devised and bequeathed to said State, and anything herein to the contrary notwithstanding, I specifically authorize my trustees in their uncontrolled discretion to advance or pay over absolutely any portion of the corpus of said trust estate to the said representatives or agencies of the State Government for the purpose of adding to, embellishing or increasing the contents of said Museum. In the event that the State of Florida should fail to accept the bequest or devise as provided for in Paragraph "Second" hereof, then and in that event this provision shall apply in the same effect to the City of Sarasota, Florida.
(Four more sections which follow have not been published here because of a lack of relevance).
In witness whereof, I have to this my last Will and Testament subscribed my name and set my seal this 19 day of May, one thousand nine hundred and thirty-four.
(A codicil follows that was written Nov. 2, 1935.)