Focusing on the ancient Near East, the Semitic Museum was erected to counter anti-Semitism and was underwritten by Jacob Schiff, a German Jew who was a principal with Kuhn, Loeb and Company in New York. Unlike the later Germanic Museum located in Adolphus Busch Hall (NY13), the Semitic Museum design did not proclaim the cultures that it was built to showcase, and its architect was not from an ethnic background relating to the museum's focus. The museum was the work of a favored Harvard architect, Alexander W. Longfellow Jr., who produced a Georgian Revival design in Harvard brick that was consistent with the campus image then gaining support.
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