In 1900 President Harper wrote a friendly letter to Helen Culver, undoubtedly to keep in touch in case she was inclined to provide additional financial support for the University. In it, he casually mentions his idea of buying the MBL for the University. No evidence has been found to suggest that this thought ever led to any action by either Harper or Culver.
Letter from Harper to Culver remarking on desire to purchase MBL
Office of the President, Harper, Judson, Burton Administrations Papers, Box 37. Special Collections Research Center. The University of Chicago Library.