One of the highlights of April at The Osborn is Founders Week. It starts on April 15, Miriam Osborn’s birthday, and continues until April 21, the anniversary of The Osborn’s opening in 1908. Founders Week was made official in 2002 by resolution of the Board of Trustees to honor our Founders, Miriam Osborn and her lawyer and friend, John Sterling.
Miriam Osborn became a widow at a young age in the late 19th century. Though personally well-cared for by her husband’s estate, she was inspired to create a place where others less fortunate might live comfortably and be cared for into their old age.
Upon her death in 1892, the Miriam Osborn Memorial Home Association was established by the New York State Legislature. John Sterling, her friend and attorney, carried out this legacy with careful financial stewardship and the purchase of land on Theall’s Hill in Rye. Architect Bruce Price designed the magnificent red brick Georgian structure that is the centerpiece of our 56-acre campus today.
Twenty years after it opened, John Sterling’s long-time assistant, Helen Adams, stepped up to oversee the construction of the Sterling and Strathcona buildings. She served as a Trustee and became a resident of The Osborn when she retired after 50 years of service. The naming of The Adams Library recognizes her extraordinary accomplishments —a woman ahead of her time.
On Founders Week, residents often visit Woodlawn Cemetery where Miriam Osborn and John Sterling are buried. Guided group tours trek across Theall Road and down the hill to visit The Osborn Cemetery where a stately obelisk honors Miriam Osborn near the grave of Helen Adams. It’s a lovely spot to pause and remember the vision, dedication, hard work and genuine care for others that created The Osborn and sustains it now, over a century later.
~ Jennifer Christensen, Director of Development, The Osborn Foundation