From Lansing Lamont

Dear Friends,

This will be my last report to you as ATBL’s president.

Seana Anderson gives Lansing Lamont a new laptop.

ED Seana Anderson presents Lansing Lamont with a new laptop which (hopefully) will replace his trusty Remington 440 typewriter.

After ten years of service it’s time for a change in leadership, for younger and fresher hands o carry on our work. The first of the new year I turn over my duties to David Redden , a fellow ATBL trustee who has made his career in the book world as vice chairman of Sotheby’s, North and South America. I can’t think of better hands to leave the American Trust in.

We’ve come a ways since those palmy days when a handful of us shared brown-bag lunches in former chairman Bill Golden’s Manhattan office and plotted how we could improve on that first year’s grand total of grants approved for the British Library – a munificent $28,000 and change

The year was 2000. We were, for the first time since  our days as an English-Speaking Union ‘subsidiary’, a newly independent charitable trust with our own Board of Trustees, volunteers all, still subsidized in part by the BL but intent on severing those last financial (though not philanthropic) ties to the Library.

In the following decade we, like the BL itself on a much larger scale, grew and adapted to the competitive realities of the new age in fundraising. Our assets have grown fivefold, thanks to several generous bequests, and currently stand at $1.7 million. Out total membership is 273, up from two hundred last year.  Our normal grants giving to the BL tops $200,000. All told, over the past decade, more than $2 million in ATBL grants have flowed to the British Library.

This progress would not have transpired without the dedication and generosity of my colleagues on the Board, the Chairman’s Council, the Advisory Council, our super-efficient executive director – and you, our loyal members. For that I am immensely grateful.

Our financial aid to the British Library, never an easy proposition, has suffered this year a recessionary (albeit temporary) dip: $108,000 in grants to the BL.

Meanwhile I’m delighted to welcome Bill Griswold, director of the Morgan Library & Museum, to our Board. The Morgan hosted a private viewing of the William Blake and Puccini exhibits after the October Annual board meeting.  I am also delighted that Christine Zuromskis from Boston is joining our Chairman’s Council. I’m particularly pleased Ted Widmer, director of the John Carter Brown Library in Providence, R.I., has agreed to serve on our Advisory Council.

With your continued help, and with David Redden at the reins, the American Trust enters the new decade in good health, sufficiently robust to seize the challenges of further growth and run with them.

We need to keep spreading the word about the vital work of the British Library that is so deserving of Americans’ support. We need to increase all categories of our membership — and I thank those of you who upgraded your giving this past year. I thank all of our members, new and old , who’ve had the vision and commitment to become part of our ATBL family.

Happily for me, I shall remain part of that family, joining Steve Stamas as co-chairman. Again, many thanks for having made my tenure as president such a congenial and rewarding one!

Lansing Lamont, President

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