LIVERMORE — The Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore announced it has received a $40,000 gift to conserve up to 32 oil portraits of the Washburn family.

The money is from the General Mills’ Foundation, the philanthropic organization linked to the company that’s part of the Washburn family history.

The 19th-century portraits are one of the most valuable educational collections at the Norlands, which uses the paintings to share the Washburn family’s accomplishments. Among the 11 children born to Israel and Martha Washburn of Livermore were two owners of flour mills, two state governors, four Congressmen, one U.S. Senator, two foreign ministers, a secretary of state, a president of a railroad, a major general, a banker, an inventor and three noted authors.

The connection to General Mills in Minneapolis is directly linked to the Washburns. In 1866, at the age of 48, Cadwallader Colden Washburn built a mill at St. Anthony’s Falls in Minneapolis and hired his younger brother, William Drew, to manage it.

He also partnered with John Crosby of Bangor to form the Washburn-Crosby Co. General Mills was created in 1928 when Washburn-Crosby president John Ford Bell merged Washburn-Crosby with 28 other mills.

An 1885 oil portrait of Cadwallader Colden Washburn by professional portrait artist William F. Cogswell will be the first painting restored with funds from the General Mills Foundation. Bandages on the frame keep flaking paint in place and prevent further damage.

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