An heir to the Crayola fortune, he went to Harvard College, and stayed for a Ph.D. in Romance Languages. He amassed a large collection of ballet prints and theater books, which he later gave to Harvard.
Persian miniatures were his first foray into collecting Asian art. He moved on to Ottoman art, and then to South Asian paintings, as market prices outpaced his means. He intended his collection of South Asian painting to be encyclopedic, with two works from every court during every period of interest. The 1,453 paintings he left to The San Diego Museum of Art come admirably close to achieving that goal.