The Peterson Foundation
The Clementine Lockwood Peterson Foundation
In 1992, the Library received a $25,000,000 bequest from the estate of longtime Greenwich resident Clementine Lockwood Peterson. The bequest is the largest gift ever made to a community library in the United States. In her will, Mrs. Peterson established an independently-controlled foundation, the Clementine Lockwood Peterson Foundation, to disburse the funds with the understanding that it would benefit two areas in the Library - business and music. She chose business to honor her husband, J. Whitney Peterson, who had been president and chief executive of the United States Tobacco Company. She wanted to enhance the Library's music collection in memory of her only child, Jonathan, who was an avid music fan before he died in a car accident at age 24.
The Library Trustees' Long-Range Planning Committee had for several years studied changing use patterns and the design limitations of the Library's original building. Mrs. Peterson's extraordinary gift enabled the trustees and staff to think more comprehensively and creatively about the Library's future. A decision was made to remain at the present site and add a 32,000 square-foot wing which would function as an integrated whole with the existing structure and house the Library's business and music collections. $16.5 million was used for the construction of the new wing, designed by architect Cesar Pelli. The Peterson Wing officially opened on June 12, 1999.
The remaining portion of the bequest has been invested to generate income for the operation and the maintenance of the new wing.
J. Whitney Peterson and Clementine Lockwood Peterson