Louise Hawley Stone was a devoted friend of the ROM. The Museum’s first volunteer, she was also a donor, fundraiser, Board member and committee chair.
In 1940, Louise Hawley Stone came to a lecture by the ROM’s new Keeper of the Chinese Collections, Bishop William White. Hooked, she studied under him to obtain her Master’s degree, and became a loyal supporter of the Museum.
Her involvement with the ROM spanned over 50 years. As the ROM’s first volunteer, she organized the study room for the Far Eastern Department in 1948. She served as a Board member (1958 - 1972), and was a frequent donor to the collections. Her donations to just one collection, costume and textiles, made during her lifetime number approximately 1,000 and include Japanese country textiles, English embroidery, and Chinese imperial court costume.
In memory of Bishop White, she helped establish the Bishop White Committee in 1960 to raise funds for the Far Eastern Department and to raise public awareness of Asian studies and the collections. Stone believed that every department should have a support group like the Bishop White Committee. She was instrumental in establishing the Textile Endowment Fund Committee in 1974, with a gift of a $1,000 Aluminum of Canada Bond. In 1994, she also financed the first fully endowed curatorial position at the ROM—the Louise Hawley Stone Chair of Far Eastern Art.
Louise Hawley Stone died in 1997, and left her greatest gift for last. The terms of her will established a charitable trust of $45 million for the Museum, the largest cash bequest ever received by the ROM. The Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust provides a steady income for the Museum to purchase objects for the collections, and fund related research and publications.