Howard Gilman

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Howard Gilman (died in 1998)

"As chairman and chief executive of Gilman Paper Company, Howard Gilman was the third generation of his family to assume leadership of the largest privately held paper and building products company in the United States. The company was founded in 1884 in New York by Howard Gilman’s grandfather, Isaac Gilman, who emigrated from Belarus at the age of ten to become a dealer in over issue newspapers, which were used at the time as wrapping paper...

"Howard Gilman’s interest did, however, expand well beyond those of the paper industry, and in 1981 he founded The Howard Gilman Foundation in order to support his artistic and animal conservation concerns, as well as to support medical research in the fields of HIV/AIDS and cardiology. Under his guidance, the Foundation’s programming evolved over the years, increasing its contributions to various artistic, medical, social, and environmental endeavors, most of which benefited greatly from his insights and experience.

"One area of the arts where Howard Gilman felt a particularly strong passion was dance. During his lifetime he befriended many dancers and choreographers including Mikhail Baryshnikov, whom he helped to settle in New York immediately following his defection from the Soviet Union. Later, when Baryshnikov expressed an eagerness to work with contemporary American Choreographers, he offered White Oak Plantation as an avenue for creative collaboration between Baryshnikov and Mark Morris, thereby creating The White Oak Dance Project in 1989. Howard Gilman supported many dance companies over the years including world – renowned classical dance companies such as American Ballet Theatre and a variety of smaller dance companies, primarily based in New York." [1]

According to Forbes, his "biggest pet project: $154 million spent transforming the White Oak Plantation in Yulee, Fla., which was acquired by the Gilman family in 1938, into a dance center for Baryshnikov and other noted artists, a conference center and a home for 60 species of endangered and threatened animals, including reticulated giraffes, okapis, black and white rhinoceros, and cheetahs. Howard played host at White Oak to U.S. presidents and celebrities and their families, often using the company's plane to ferry them to White Oak. The guests were fed meals prepared by top-notch chefs. Bill Clinton played golf on Gilman's private nine-hole course...

"...Howard Gilman never neglected his philanthropy, making big gifts to the Howard Gilman Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Howard Gilman Opera House at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Gilman also backed many dance and theater companies and was Baryshnikov's patron from the moment the Russian dancer landed in the U.S. " [2]

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  1. Howard Gilman, accessed June 16, 2010.
  2. The Fall of The House of Gilman, forbes, accessed June 16, 2010.