Remembering the life and legacy of Richard Gilder, Jr.

Visionary Gettysburgian and 1997 Gettysburg College honorary degree recipient, Richard Gilder, Jr., passed away on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, at the age of 87.

Gilder was a business leader and philanthropist who was passionate about preserving history and educating younger generations.

He co-founded the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York and the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the largest private archives of historic documents and artifacts in the nation, alongside Lewis Lehrman. The Institute devotes itself to history education by supporting magnet schools, teacher training, curriculum development, exhibitions, and publications, as well as endowing several major history awards.

Gilder and Lehrman also established the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize in 1990, together with then Prof. Gabor Boritt, Director Emeritus of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College. The Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize is awarded annually for the finest scholarly work in English on Abraham Lincoln, the American Civil War soldier, or a subject relating to their era.

Gilder was a generous friend to and supporter of the College. Since 1990, he and Lehrman have bestowed more than $1 million upon the annual Lincoln Prize recipients. In honor of his philanthropic support, Gilder’s name was added to our Benefactors’ Wall in 2018.

“Everyone who knew him, and millions who did not, benefitted from his generosity, his vision, and his faith in the future,” wrote James Basker, President of the Gilder Lehrman Institute.

Read Basker’s full message and a short biography of the life and legacy of Gilder.