Spotlight on Donors

Libraries Receives $100,000 Gift

In August, the Smithsonian Libraries received a $100,000 planned gift from Dr. George Zug, emeritus research zoologist with the National Museum of Natural History's Division of Amphibians and Reptiles. Zug established The Zug Family Amphibian and Reptile Endowmentin 2008, which expands the Libraries' annual subscriptions of periodicals for Smithsonian researchers and visitors in subjects such as biology, evolution, and systematics of amphibians and reptiles.

"Over my career at the Smithsonian, and especially during the past decade and a half, many new herpetological periodicals have appeared, but the inflationary shrinkage of the budget has prevented us from subscribing to these," says Zug. His generous gift will help cultivate scholastic growth and opportunities to the Smithsonian research community for years to come. To read more about Smithsonian Libraries' endowments, visit our new page

Konze's Give $100,000 Annuity

Alice Konze has given the Smithsonian Libraries a Charitable Gift Annuity of $100,000 for the Libraries Futures Fund. Alice and her husband Bill have been visitors and supporters of the Smithsonian since 1966.
The Libraries Futures Fund is our fund for unrestricted donations, and is vital to the Libraries' success. The Futures Fund gives us the flexibility to take advantage of extraordinary opportunities as they arise. This past year, the fund was used for staff training in data curation, image processing, and color management. These courses offer staff skills to greatly improve the quality of the Libraries' digital collection. Additionally, the Futures Fund supports our Resident Scholar Program which provides a monthly stipend to individuals working on a topic relating to the Libraries' Special Collections. Recently, money from the fund also was used to study the impact of social media on scholarly publishing. Whether staff members are pioneering innovative technologies or collaborating on new initiatives, their projects are crucial pilots that will guide the Libraries' course for years to come. 

Furth Family Donates $1,000,000

The Smithsonian Libraries has received an unrestricted donation of $1 million from Hope L. and John L Furth. This extraordinary gift builds upon the Furth's existing endowment to the Smithsonian Libraries begun in 2005, which is used to further the Smithsonian Libraries' mission and strategic initiatives.

"Libraries are my passion," said Hope Furth. "The Smithsonian Libraries represents many of the values that are most important to John and me: scholarship, education, dissemination of knowledge, collaboration. The opportunity to support the Libraries at one of the world's stellar institutions is a great joy to us both."

Hope Furth just completed a nine-year term on the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board.  She is the former long-time chair of the Mathematics Department at Rye Country Day School and former head of the school's Academic Affairs Committee. She is currently a Trustee and rotating chair of the White Plains Public Library, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees and treasurer of the Westchester Country Library System. Mr. Furth is a Vice Chairman and Member of Klingenstein, Fields & Co. LLC in New York. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC) designations, and is a Member of the CFA Institute and the New York Society of Security Analysts. He is a Trustee Emeritus of Barnard College, a Trustee and Treasurer of the Foundation for Child Development, a Trustee of Congregation Emanu-El of Westchester, a former Chairman and current board member of Blythedale Children's Hospital and Vice Chairman and former President of the Board of The Grand Street Settlement. He also serves on the Yale Development Board and participated on the Yale Tomorrow Executive Committee of the university's recent Capital Fund Campaign. Mr. Furth is a graduate of Yale University and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Longtime SI Volunteer and SIL Donor Takes Work Seriously

If it’s a Wednesday afternoon and you’ve signed up for the Highlights Tour at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, you’re in for a treat because that’s the day Celia Barteau volunteers to lead the tours.  Following a thirty year career with the U.S. Navy, Celia began volunteering at the museum over twenty years ago and is now a walking encyclopedia of entertaining and informative facts about the museum’s many exhibits and the people who put them together.  Modest and dedicated, Celia sees the tours as a type of report to the 'stockholders.'  "I want the public to know that we’re taking good care of these materials."

She grew up in the Chicago suburbs and became interested in museums after spending time in the city’s Field Museum and later at the Chicago Planetarium.  However, she is quick to point out that the Smithsonian isn’t like museums that are mostly exhibit based.

"We’re not just another pretty face," she says.  "Collections, primarily in the sciences, are the big deal here."

During her tours, Celia tries to share the story of James Smithson’s bequest with her visitors and says that Europeans, who must often pay entrance fees to visit museums there, are always surprised that everything within the Smithsonian is free.

Celia enjoys the gems and minerals section of the museum most of all, adding that the Hope Diamond is always a popular stop on the tour.  She is looking forward to showing off the diamond next year when the museum celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the donation from Harry Winston.