A final act of generosity from a quietly simple life:

New York City’s own Mary Bailey was a quiet, modest woman…She lived a seemingly average life, graduating at the Bank Street College, teaching pre-school for a few years, visiting her beloved 58th Street library regularly, and purposely remaining under-the-radar, where she preferred to be.

One would never guess that she was actually a multi-millionaire.

The understated Bailey decided to leave the Library some money, no surprise to those who knew her and knew how much she loved the institution, her local branch and what the library offered New Yorkers.

What was surprising to many was the amount – an incredible $10 million, which will go towards collections, programs, and other services that help the people of New York City. Half of the donation is specifically earmarked for the branches that Bailey loved.

bw-main-reading-roomRose Reading Room, NY Public Library
Photo © Karen Johnson