Charles Joseph Tanenbaum. Died on October 17, 2009 at age 94, devoted husband of Szilvia Szmuk-Tanenbaum and proud father of Ann Tanenbaum, his daughter by the late Mary Mayer Tanenbaum, to whom he had been happily married for 59 years.

Graduate of Exeter, Harvard College and Yale Law school, he was admitted to the New York Bar in 1937. He served in the army during World War II and the Korean War, primarily in the Military Intelligence at the Pentagon. His active legal practice largely ended by 1947, when his father’s death left him with primary responsibility for family real estate. He served for over 50 years in leadership roles in the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women and was active in the refugee field with the American Jewish Philanthropic Fund and the International Rescue Committee. Beginning as a book collector in 1963, what started as a hobby became a second career including service on Library Visiting Committees at Harvard and Stanford universities, mounting over 30 book exhibitions at libraries across the nation. Charles had a unique and imaginative approach to philanthropy. During his lifetime he established several awards in a variety of institutions, and these were always named for people whose contributions to that particular institution were meaningful. The Hamilton Award at New York Hospital in White Plains; the Douglas Bryant Award at Harvard Library; the Miller Award at FEGS; the Fabrizio Michelassi Award for graduating Surgical Residents and Medical Students at Weill Cornell Medical School and New York Presbyterian Hospital; and the George Baer Award for Medical students in the joining MD and MPH program at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He was an honorary member of the Grolier Club after 40 years of distinguished membership. He also enjoyed the conviviality of the Century, Harmonie, Harvard and Lotos clubs in New York and the Book Club of California. In lieu of flowers, you may wish to make a charitable donation to an organization of your choice in Charles’ memory.

Services will be held at Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel (1081 Madison Ave.), Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 3:30 p.m. The family will be receiving at the Funeral Chapel on Monday evening from 6-9 p.m. In addition there will be a gathering celebrating Charles’ life at the Grolier Club at a date to be determined. For more information, call William Rothmann at (415) 806-0574.