4 Book Lovers who Left Charitable Gifts in Their Wills

J M Barrie
Category: Reading
Tagged: fundraising

Throughout your lifetime, you will experience the remarkable work done by different charities. This may be volunteering, raising money, or making use of a charity’s services. Legacies are the foundation for many charities and are vital in making sure that all the good work that they do can continue.

Here at Scottish Book Trust, we passionately believe that a book is more than just a story. A love of reading and writing inspires creativity and so much more. It improves employability among young people, supports better mental health and wellbeing, and is one of the most effective ways to help children escape the poverty cycle. You could help share your love of reading with the next generation by leaving a gift in your will to Scottish Book Trust.

There are many notable people throughout history who have who have left gifts in their wills in order to make a positive change to causes that were close to their hearts. We have brought together four authors who, by leaving a gift in their will, continue to support great causes today.

Beatrix Potter

“If I have done anything, even a little, to help small children enjoy honest, simple pleasures, I have done a bit of good.” – Beatrix Potter.

“If I have done anything, even a little, to help small children enjoy honest, simple pleasures, I have done a bit of good.”

Born in England in 1866, Helen Beatrix Potter is best known for her children’s books featuring animals such as Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck. Throughout her life, Potter was a fierce campaigner for local conservation issues and was known to visit the Lake District and Scotland frequently, where she found much of the inspiration for her books. When she died in 1943, Potter left almost all of the original illustrations for her books to the National Trust in her will. Potter also left 4,000 acres of land and countryside to the National Trust, including 14 farms. Her legacy has helped ensure the survival of the Lakeland landscape and way of life that she loved so well.

A.A. Milne

“I suppose that every one of us hopes secretly for immortality; to leave, I mean, a name behind him which will live forever in this world, whatever he may be doing, himself, in the next.” – A.A. Milne.

Creator of the much-loved Hundred Acre Wood gang, A.A. Milne is another author who left behind a legacy that is still celebrated today. When he died in 1976, Milne left the rights to his Winnie the Pooh books to four different beneficiaries in his will, including the Royal Literary Fund, a benevolent fund set up in 1790 to help published British writers who had financial difficulties. The Royal Literary Fund has given assistance to many distinguished writers over its history, including Samuel Taylor Coleridge, James Hogg and James Joyce.

J.M. Barrie

“At one time, Peter Pan was an invalid in the Hospital… and it was he who put me up to the little thing I did.” – J. M. Barrie

Sir James Mathew Barrie, a Scottish novelist and playwright born in 1860, is renowned for being the creator of Peter Pan. While the timeless story of Peter Pan has continued to delight children and adults alike all over the world, it has also helped in the care of sick infants for over 80 years. In 1929, Barrie gifted the rights to Peter Pen to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. It still receives royalties from all productions and publications today.

Andrew Carnegie

“To try to make the world in some way better than you found it is to have a noble motive in life.” – Andrew Carnegie.

Andrew Carnegie portrait
Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland and emigrated to the United States with his family in 1848. After moving to the United States, he worked a series of railroad jobs and by 1889 he owned Carnegie Steel Corporation, the largest of its kind in the world. Carnegie was also the author of “The Gospel of Wealth”, an article written in 1889 that describes the responsibility of philanthropy. One of the most tangible examples of Carnegie's philanthropy was the founding of 2,509 libraries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Central Library in Dunfermline, Carnegie’s hometown, was the world’s first Carnegie Library, opening in August 1883. Carnegie spent over $55 million of his wealth on libraries alone, and he is often referred to as the “Patron Saint of Libraries.”


Find out why Fiona McLeod, retired MSP and librarian, thought it was important to leave Scottish Book Trust a gift in her will.

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