Lillian T. Pratt – Generous Benefactor of Virginia Institutions

 

Lillian T. Pratt pic
Lillian T. Pratt
Image: faberge.vmfa.museum

Bobby Chhabra, MD, maintains a number of appointments in the University of Virginia Health System, including chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. A board-certified orthopaedic hand surgeon, Bobby Chhabra, MD, holds the distinction of being the health system’s Lillian T. Pratt Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery.

The professorship is named in honor of a generous benefactor of education and art institutions who established a trust agreement with the University of Virginia prior to her death in 1947. The professorship was created with assistance from Lillian Pratt’s estate in 1976.

Many aspects of Lillian Pratt’s life remain unknown, but she is believed to have been born in 1876, most likely in Philadelphia. By the turn of the century, she had made her way to Tacoma, Washington, where she worked as a stenographer and met John Lee Pratt, an engineer and executive at General Motors. Mr. Pratt became Lillian’s husband in 1917, and the couple eventually settled in Virginia.

For much of the rest of her life, Lillian Pratt pursued a passion for collecting Russian and Faberge art. By 1946, her collection had grown to 475 items, the majority of which she purchased from galleries in New York City.

Lillian Pratt established a trust agreement with the University of Virginia in 1943 and subsequently extended her generosity to the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. In 1947, two months after Lillian Pratt’s death, the museum received her Faberge collection, which visitors to the museum can view today.

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