March 13, 2014 – In a plot twist equal to a classic mystery novel, a generous New Yorker has donated $6 million to The New York Public Library in honor of her love of reading. Lotte Fields of New York City bequeathed the donation to the Library after her death at the age of 89. Although she was a regular modest donor to the Library, the extraordinary gift was unexpected.
“Lotte Fields lived a modest life in New York City, but one of her great joys was spending the weekend reading with her husband. Her donation shows just how much Lotte loved books and how important she felt it was to support her fellow book lovers,” noted Irwin Cantor, executor of Ms. Fields’s will.
“To be honest the Library was astounded to receive Ms. Fields’ gift, but we are deeply honored to pick up her mantle and promote the joy of reading. It’s a responsibility we look forward to honoring, along with her life and her bequest,” said NYPL President Tony Marx.
As requested by Ms. Fields, the Library will split the funds between its branch libraries and the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street, with each receiving half.
Of German Jewish descent, Ms. Fields inherited her wealth from her husband’s family, who were wool merchants.
The Library received the largest share of her estate totaling $6 million, $3.6 million of which was received in January.