Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Remembering Joan Davidson

For a woman of Joan Davidson's stature and achievement, one tribute is not enough. For this reason, Gossips shares part of a statement issued by Furthermore, a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund which has its office here in Hudson. It stresses the work she did after retiring as president of the J. M. Kaplan fund.  

Joan Kaplan Davidson, president of Furthermore grants in publishing, and president emeritus of the J. M. Kaplan Fund, died on August 11th in Hudson, N.Y. She was 96.
In 1995, Joan Davidson founded Furthermore grants in publishing as a publication program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund and established its office in Hudson, N.Y. Furthermore supports publication of nonfiction books that concern the arts, history, and the natural and built environment. Since its inception, the program has assisted more than 1,400 books, granting over $8 million to nonprofits across the United States, Canada and Europe. 
Ann Birckmayer, Program Director of Furthermore and the Alice Award, said, “Joan loved books for their capacity to expand knowledge, provoke thought, and speak for the public interest. Across the country, exceptional books that might not have come into being without her support stand as a legacy. We will miss her immeasurably and will carry on her good work.”
In addition to her leadership of Furthermore, in 2013 at the age of 85, Ms. Davidson founded the Alice Award, an annual prize for illustrated books, The $25,000 prize is chosen by a jury of professionals and awarded annually to an illustrated book that makes a valuable contribution to its field and demonstrates high standards of production. Books selected by the award jury for the Alice short list each receive $5,000. At the end of 2023, $385,000 will have been given in support of illustrated publications.
Ian Wardropper, Director of The Frick Collection, said, “First for Furthermore and then for the Alice Award, Joan Davidson created a unique mark in the literary world. Furthermore stands out among foundations for its support of nonfiction books with grants that are often critical for funding leading to their publication.  The Alice recognizes books that exemplify the successful relationship of text to image and the lasting value of the well-made illustrated book. Inherent in Alice books is a special sense of intimacy, as the reader turns the pages to discover fresh insights.  Joan Davidson made a heroic commitment to the writers, editors, designers, illustrators, and publishers who create our beloved books. As chair of the Alice Jury, I and my colleagues found great pleasure in furthering Joan's vision and hope that her spirit will carry forward.”
In 2022, at the age of 95, Joan Davidson created a vibrant speaker series hosted at the Carriage House at Midwood, her property in the Hudson River Valley. Ms. Davidson sponsored the program, under the aegis of the J. M. Kaplan Fund, to encourage participants to, “Listen, see, think, agree, disagree, and have fun!”

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