The Edward and Mary Wilder Society

The Edward and Mary Wilder Society recognizes our friends who have included The Library Foundation in their wills and estate plans through bequests, trusts, charitable gift annuities, or other similar gift arrangements.

Private philanthropy has always played an important role, and the Library has received many beautiful and unusual gifts. Early benefactors Edward and Mary Wilder helped raise the funds to build the first permanent library in Topeka. The Wilders made a lifetime commitment to the Library that still delights visitors today.

By confirming their long-term commitment, these generous individuals help ensure the continued pre-eminence of the Library in our community. The Edward and Mary Wilder Society provides its members with the knowledge and security that their gifts are ones of lasting generosity.

The Edward and Mary Wilder Society

The Library Foundation’s Federal Tax Identification Number is:  48-0956441

A Wilder Society membership is for those who have made arrangements in their will, or through some other form of deferred giving, for a gift to The Library Foundation. To notify us of your plans or if you have not already made arrangements, please contact The Library Foundation by using the Pledge of Testamentary Commitment Form, or by calling our office at 580-4493.

Your gift is your personal legacy. There are no predetermined amounts. Generally, outright charitable bequests, whether given in the form of cash, securities, or properties, are fully deductible from your gross estate, thereby reducing estate taxes. You are encouraged to consult with your attorney to ensure that your will is both legally valid and effective in carrying out your intentions.

The Library Foundation can assist you in making more precise arrangements for how to use your gift. We encourage you to consider this avenue of giving, and we appreciate your interest in shaping your Library for the future.

As a Wilder Society member you will have:

  • the knowledge that your gift will influence future generations in our community.
  • the opportunity to dedicate funding to specific programs or services.
  • permanent recognition in your name or your family’s name.
  • VIP invitations to Library events.

For more information about The Edward and Mary Wilder Society, please contact Nancy Lindberg, Executive Director at 785-580-4493 or

Early Benefactors

  • The Wilders were community leaders, with Edward employed as the Santa Fe Railroad’s treasurer.
  • He was elected as president of the Topeka Library Association in 1874, a position he held until his death in 1905.
  • In 1880, he raised funds for the new library from both the Santa Fe and Union Pacific railways and matched these with donations from private individuals.
  • The Wilders were generous donors of contemporary art collected while traveling in Europe. This memorial gift created the first public art collection in the city.

Bequests & Deferred Gifts

Bequests and deferred gifts have been a critical part of the Library’s support since its founding in 1870. In more recent times, gifts from individuals have created endowed resources to support the Library’s mission.

Why Joining The Library Foundation Wilder Society is a Great Choice