Cohen Family Book Fund
What do you get a happily married couple for their 40th wedding anniversary when they say they want nothing? That was the position the family of Meyer and Jennie Cohen of Derby found themselves in back in 1951.
Deciding to do something that would honor their parents and last into perpetuity, their daughter-in-law, Jane Cohen, established the Cohen Family Book Fund, an endowment to support the Derby Public Library. It began with three, $40 donations to represent the 40 years of marriage. And every anniversary thereafter, the three Cohen children and their spouses donated to the fund an amount equivalent to their parents' anniversary year.
Over the years, many gifts in honor of births, anniversaries or individuals have been made to the book fund by family and friends.
"My grandfather was a self-made, self-taught man who read a lot and appreciated the library. He thought education was the most important thing in the world," says past VCF Board Member and President, Jamie Cohen. Jamie's grandfather arrived in the united States from Vilnius, Lithuania at age 12 in 1898, with no formal education.
"The Derby Public Library has been very important to our family over the years," adds Jamie. Meyer and Jennie Cohen's late son, David, a local lawyer and judge, whose office was located above his own father's dress shop at 221 Main Street, was an avid reader and library patron, and his wife, Jane, served as a member of the library's board of directors for 25 years. Jamie, himself a lawyer, who served as vice president of the library board, recalls visiting the library two to three times a week in his youth.
The Cohen family also underwrote the historic restoration of the library's original vestibule and lobby.
"It allows the library to supplement its budget and purchase books it otherwise would not be able to afford," says Jamie.
Now that was something both Meyer and Jennie Cohen would have wanted.
To make a tax-deductible contribution to this fund, please complete the secure, online credit card form below: