The Larkin Gallery is located in, and funded by, the Larkin Center of Commerce. The exciting new gallery focuses on the history of the Larkin Soap Co., founded in 1874.
The Larkin Gallery received items from several noted collectors including Mary Larkin, the great granddaughter of John D. Larkin Sr. Art Professor Jerome Mead contributed two pencil drawings by company artist Alex O. Levy (1881-1947.) Larkin history enthusiast Sharon Osgood contributed an original journal of interoffice memos covering the period from 1899 to 1902. The memos are full of fascinating insights into the day to day life at the Larkin Soap Company, as well as references to what is believed to be the first company coffee break in America. Jerome Puma provided several unique items including what he refers to as “the first infomercial,” a silent movie of a family making and receiving an order, and live action factory shots of the manufacturing process.
The opening of the Larkin Gallery also created an opportunity for Peg Meisenbach to fulfill the wishes of her late mother, Raeanne Roy, a longtime collector of Larkin related objects. Peg provided her mother’s entire collection as it was Raeanne’s wish that it be ‘donated to a Larkin Museum.’
The Archives Department of the Buffalo History Museum contributed three film strips from the early 1920’s which were intended to be tutorial and motivational to the Larkin Secretaries of Ten, who organized clubs around the country to sell products and earn premiums. It also provided old photos and a huge portrait of John D. Larkin, Sr. The portrait now proudly oversee’s the 701 Seneca lobby.
The gallery mainly operates just off the 701 Seneca lobby, but also meanders past the incredible Larkin Center photos on display leading to the American flag which once flew over the Frank Lloyd Wright, Larkin Administration Building. The flag, which flew from 1907-1909, was donated by way Melissa Crowell (great-great granddaughter of John D. Larkin, Sr., founder of the Larkin Soap Company).
Private tours available by appointment.
Discount for groups
Restaurant On Site
Complimentary WiFi: 1