Augustus Juilliard’s Gift for the Future

Augustus D. Juilliard

Augustus D. Juilliard

A textile merchant, banker and arts patron, Augustus Juilliard wanted to make a lasting gift through his will that would foster the education of promising musicians, encourage new compositions and produce new works. His name has since become synonymous with artistic excellence and a performing arts education of the highest caliber. Juilliard's background, however, was similar to that of many emigrants of the 19th century.

Augustus D. Juilliard was born in 1836, the same year his parents emigrated to the United States from the Burgundy region in France - during his parents' sea crossing, according to one account. He grew up in a small farming community near Canton, Ohio, and worked in his brother-in-law's dry-goods store. Juilliard eventually moved to New York to establish his own business and became a textile baron of the late-nineteenth century.

Although Augustus Juilliard was not a musician, he had a lifelong love of music. He was a founding member of the Metropolitan Opera and Real Estate Company and served as its president for several years. In addition, he was a trustee of the American Museum of Natural History and a member of the American Geographical Society, the American Fine Arts Society and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His philanthropy also reached back to his roots: he helped establish a public library in Bucyrus, Ohio.

When his will was made public in 1919, all but his closest family members were surprised to learn that it included the largest bequest up until that time for the advancement of music. Juilliard's will had bequeathed legacies to several other charities, including hospitals, aid societies and a museum. It was the residue of his estate, estimated at some twenty million dollars, which was left to the lofty purpose that eventually became The Juilliard School. Over the years his generosity has benefited not only classical musicians but also our culture heritage.

Though extraordinary in size and scope, Juilliard's estate plans are much like the plans of other generous donors who have included the School in their wills. Over the years bequests large and small have helped give The Juilliard School a secure financial foothold and have aided generations of talented young people.

We would like to encourage you to join Augustus Juilliard and leave a legacy in your estate for one or more of your favorite charities. We also hope you will consider The Juilliard School as you plan.