Planned Gifts & Bequests

The Esther Forbes Society
Esther Forbes seated in front of a fireplace with a dog facing her.

From gifts of collection items to bequests, legacy gifts have helped the American Antiquarian Society grow and flourish from the very beginning.

  • Before his death in 1831, AAS founder Isaiah Thomas made provisions in his will not only to bequeath his library, but also to endow two funds, one to support new acquisitions and another to provide support for the operating budget.
  • A bequest from Stephen Salisbury 3rd brought AAS the land and the funds to build the current Antiquarian Hall, which opened in 1910.
  • In 1967, Esther Forbes left the Society her literary rights, from which AAS receives royalties every year.

The Esther Forbes Society honors those who include AAS in their long-term plans through bequests of assets (both financial and collections), life-income gifts, or other planned giving arrangements. 

There are many options for donors to create a legacy at AAS, among those listed below. Please note that this information is not intended as legal advice, and you should consult with your attorney or financial advisor before making a planned gift. 

If you are thinking about making a planned gift to the American Antiquarian Society, please contact Lynn Swain, Vice President for Advancement, (lswain [at] (lswain[at]mwa[dot]org)) or Scott E. Casper, President (scasper [at] (scasper[at]mwa[dot]org)); each can also be reached at 508-755-5221.

  • Bequests: Include a statement in your will that specifies an amount or share of your assets to be left to the American Antiquarian Society. A bequest reduces the estate tax. Suggested Bequest Language form
  • Gift of a Retained Life Estate: Donate a residence, farm, or other land as a future gift, and continue using the property through your lifetime. You receive a partial income tax deduction and reduced estate taxes.
  • Individual Retirement Account (IRA) Assets: By naming the American Antiquarian Society as beneficiary of your IRA, you reduce your estate taxes and avoid heavy inheritance taxes. If you are aged 70 or older, you can direct a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) as a transfer of funds from your IRA, which may help to lower your taxable income.
  • Life Insurance Policy: By assigning your life insurance policy to AAS as owner and beneficiary, your premium payments will be tax-deductible.
  • Pooled Income Fund: Set up an existing trust that pays a share of net income to you or others. After your lifetime, remaining assets go to AAS.
  • Charitable Gift Annuity: Set up a contract that guarantees to pay you a fixed sum during your lifetime. Like the Pooled Income Fund, remaining assets after your lifetime can create a Named Fund at AAS
  • Charitable Remainder Trust: Creating a charitable remainder trust can give you income for life, or for a defined number of years. After that time, the remainder can be distributed to AAS.