This Time article mentions a family memoir written by PAB Widener II, published in 1940 and called "Without Drums". http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,764882,00.html
Widener to Washington
Monday, Oct. 28, 1940 Article ToolsPrintEmailReprints For many years the last great private U. S. art collection has hung on the walls of Lynnewood Hall, a chill, pedimented mansion in Elkins Park, Philadelphia suburb. The collection was begun by Peter Arrell Brown Widener, onetime butcher's boy, who made his pile in Civil War meat contracts and later streetcar franchises. His second and only surviving son, Joseph Early Widener, winnowed P. A. B.'s 700 pictures, made many a swap, bought only the best, until 100 canvases, all good and many masterpieces, glowed like jewels in Lynnewood Hall. The Widener collection was valued as high as $50,000,000.
Last week Joe Widener, ailing at 68, announced, through his son P. A. B. Widener II, that the family pictures (and equally choice statuary, tapestries, porcelains, rugs, jewels) would go to the National Gallery in Washington, now being built with money donated by the late Andrew Mellon. Manhattan's Metropolitan Museum had had no hope of getting the Widener collection, but Philadelphia's Museum of Art had. Apparently unprepared for the announcement, its officials kept the shocked silence of the disinherited.
In Washington the Widener collection's 14 Rembrandts (largest privately owned group in the U. S.), its Van Dycks and Titians, its Raphael Madonna (one of the few genuine ones in the U. S.) will be housed in galleries designated as Widener rooms, adjoining the sections set aside by the National Gallery for each school of painting. Some of the works may stay at Lynnewood Hall while Joe Widener is alive. Collector Widener referred questioners to young (45) P. A. B.'s family history, Without Drums, to be published this week (G. P. Putnam's Sons; $3). Says P. A. B. II:
"The days of America's privately owned treasure houses are over. They are gone with the wind as inevitably as the great Southern plantations of before the Civil War. . . . Today there is a general and salutary leveling of extravagance to safeguard this great heritage of ours, America. . . . We feel that such a gift to the nation is one small step in the direction of disarming those individuals and ideologies that are foreign to the American way."