New ATBL Leaders Welcomed

Morgan Library Director Griswold Joins Board of the American Trust

William M. Griswold

William M. Griswold

William M. Griswold, director of the Morgan Library & Museum, has joined the Board of the American Trust for the British Library. He had been until 2007 director and president if the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

A specialist in master drawings, Mr. Griswold graduated from Trinity College in Hartford with honors in art history, then took his PhD at London’s Courtauld Institute of Art.

He began his career as a research assistant st Hartford’s Wadsworth Athenaeum, moving up in the1990’s to become associate curator in the department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum if Art. By the mid-nineties Griswold was leading the same department at the Pierpont Morgan Library as it was then named.

Mr. Griswold spent the early part of this decade at Los Angeles’s J. Paul Getty Museum as associate director for collections, then as acting director and chief curator. He moved to Minneapolis in 2005, before returning three years later to the Morgan Library.

Last fall Mr. Griswold invited members of the ABL Board and governing councils to view the Morgan’s stunning exhibition of works by William Blake, the 18th-century English artist, poet and mystic.

Mr. Griswold has served on the Board of Governors of the Courtauld Institute and as a trustee of the American Federation of Arts. He is a member of the Grolier Club and Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Christine Zuromskis to Join ATBL’s Chairman’s Council

Christine Zuromskis

Christine Zuromskis

Christine Zuromskis of Boston is the newest member of the American Trust’s Chairman’s Council.

A graduate of Harvard University, Mrs. Zuromskis oversees the real estate acquisition investment firm that she and her husband Michael founded thirty years ago in Boston.  She is a student of Caribbean history and is currently compiling research for a study on 17th-century sugar plantation life in the British West Indies.

Mrs. Zuromskis also maintains houses on the island of Nevis in the West Indies, and in London, where she has hosted receptions for visiting ATBL Chairman’s Council groups.

John Carter Brown Library Director / New member of ATBL Advisory Council

Edward L. Widmer

Edward L. Widmer

Edward L. Widmer, director and librarian of the John Carter Brown Library in Providence, RI, has joined the American Trust’s Advisory Council.

Mr. Widmer, an award-winning author, historian and former speechwriter in President Clinton’s White House, has written widely on topics in American history and politics.  His most recent book, Ark of the Liberties:  America and the World,  was published last year to wide acclaim.

Prior to his appointment to the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University in 2006, Mr. Widmer had served as associate professor of history at Washington College, Chestertown, MD and as the inaugural director of the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American experience.  He is a graduate of Harvard University where he earned his master’s and doctorate in American history, and later lectured on history and literature.

At the White House in the 1990s he wrote foreign policy speeches as a special assistant to the president for national security affairs.  He also counseled the president on scholarship-related issues and later interviewed Clinton extensively while the former president was drafting his autobiography.  He is currently a frequent contributor to such publications as The American Scholar and the New York Times.

Mr. Widmer joins colleagues on the ATBL’s Advisory Council who include other authors and university librarians like Ada Louise Huxtable, Alice Prochaska and William Stoneman.

The John Carter Brown library holds one of the world’s leading collections of books,maps and manuscripts on the colonial period of North and south America form 1492 to the early 1800s.

William T. Golden, Long-Time Leader Of American Trust, Dies

William T. GoldenWilliam T. Golden, whose leadership of the American Trust for the British Library dates to the late 1970s, has died at the age of 97. He was the co-chairman of the ATBL at the time of his death.

Mr. Golden, along with the late Arthur Houghton, the late Viscount David Eccles and the late Douglas Bryant, the ATBL’s founding director, was instrumental in nurturing the American Trust in its fledgling days.

In the British Library’s time of need, Golden led the campaign in the U.S. to restore the Library’s American collections which had been damaged in WW II. His generosity also accounted for much of the replenishment of the British Library’s extensive Judaica during the early 1980s. For the last two decades he continued to lead the ATBL, inspiring many of his numerous friends to join its ranks as significant benefactors.

For more than fifty years, as a main architect of American science policy in the 20th century, Bill Golden was “at the nexus of science and society as a man who knew almost everybody in science and government,” the New York Times reported in its obituary.

A third-generation descendant of Lithuanian immigrants, Mr. Golden made his fortune on Wall Street as an investment banker before plunging into his second life as a philanthropist. Over the years he served as a trustee or officer or board member of nearly 100 organizations, universities and government agencies.

He is remembered by his American Trust colleagues for his singular humanity, his penetrating wisdom and advice, his warm wit and modesty, traits that endeared him to not only his fellow book lovers in this organization but reached across the ocean to touch his many British friends as well.

The ATBL Board of Trustees, at its annual meeting on October 15th, just a week or so after Mr. Golden’s death, passed a resolution honoring his long service to the ATBL and expressing the Board’s deep sorrow at his passing.

Royal Opening

The official opening by Princess Anne of the British Library’s Centre for Conservation, a world-class facility for all aspects of book conservation and the restoration of recorded sound; the ATBL, which provided grants for the Centre’s building, has two named plaques on a training workbench and leather preparation area in the new Centre.

Arthur Ross, New York Philanthropist And Chairman’s Council Member, Dies

Arthur rossArthur Ross, a longtime generous supporter of the American Trust through its Chairman’s Council, has died. Mr. Ross, a successful investment manager and a wide ranging philanthropist whose interests centered on the arts and the environment, played a major role in the New York City cultural scene along with his friend, the late William Golden.

A lieutenant commander in the Navy during World War II, he later became involved with international affairs, serving on various United Nations delegations and establishing a program at the Council on Foreign Relations to award authors of outstanding books on foreign policy.

One of Mr. Ross’ surviving sons, Alfred, is a Patron supporter of the American Trust.

Princeton University Symposium on Dunhuang Manuscripts and Paintings

Five leading international scholars working on Buddhist art and texts presented recent research in a public forum last September at Princeton University.

The speakers – FAN Jinshi, Director, Dunhuang Research Academy; Jean-Pierre Drege , Professor, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes; Susan Whitfield, Director, International Dunhuang Project, British Library; Jacob P. Dalton, Professor, Yale University; and CHEN Huaiyu, Professor, University of the West – presented papers on recent advances in the conservation and study of wallpaintings, the history of the Chinese book, advances in digital technology; and web resources for the study of Silk Road materials. Continue reading

Lynne J. Brindley made a Dame of the British Empire

Lynne J. BrindleyCongratulations to Lynne J. Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library, who was made a DBE (Dame of the British Empire) for services to education in the Queen’s New Year’s Honour’s list. She will be invited to Buckingham Palace later in the year to receive her commendation from the Queen.

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