A scrap of fabric from Napoleon's tent in Egypt, "captured" in 1833, from an exhibit in the Luxembourg museum in Paris. A piece of wood, taken from a bookcase at Malmaison. Ferns and moss gathered from St. Helena, chunks of rock and mortar, chipped from the Invalides. Relics of Napoleon I.
Charles Evan Fowler, an American who was born in 1867, 46 years after Napoleon's death, enhanced his collection of Napoleona with the dedication, artistry and imagination he brought to his profession as a civil engineer. His many books include Endurance and Beauty in Steel Bridges (1928), The Ideals of Engineering Architecture (1929), and Revisions of the Niagara Railway Arch Bridge (Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, 1919).
When Mr. Fowler died in 1937, his collection was sold at auction in Paris to George Edward Budnevic, an international banker who had been forced to move to Paris from Russia, with his wife and son. When in 1940 the Nazis occupied Paris, the Gestapo requisitioned the Budnevic's Paris apartment, and the family was forced again to flee, this time to the United States. They brought with them only a few valued possessions, among them a portion of Charles Evan Fowler's collection.
The newly named Budd family settled in New York and then in California, and over time, the Fowler Collection was further dispersed. In 1949 George Edward Budd's son Edward George Budd married Mary Heydrick, of Kentucky. Their son, George Edward Budd, has graciously loaned the remains of Charles Fowler's collection to the Museum for this exhibit.