A Remarkable Family

Howard Gilman (1924-1998) was born into a family of highly compassionate thinkers and doers. His grandfather, Isaac Gilman, arrived in the United States from Russia at the age of 14. Poor, illiterate, and determined, Isaac began peddling surplus newspapers to be reused as wrapping paper. This venture secured his place in the paper industry; by the time of Isaac’s death, his was the largest privately owned paper company in the country, with mills in Vermont, Maine, and Georgia and administrative offices in New York. So beloved was Isaac as an employer (he famously provided exceptional wages, helped with medical bills, and knew every employee’s first name) that the citizens of Fitzdale, Vermont renamed their town “Gilman.”

Isaac’s son Charles took over the family business after his father’s passing, and in 1945, he added another element to the Gilman legacy: The Gilman Foundation. The Foundation supported charitable endeavors in education, science, medicine, humanities, and the arts. Through the examples set by his grandfather, father, and beloved mother, Sylvia, Howard grew up steeped in a tradition of generosity and kindness.

All three generations of Gilmans have aimed to leave the world a better place for their having been around. —John Russell, late art critic, the New York Times