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