The Kind of Business that Is Nobody’s Business

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 76, Spring 1998 The C. S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

Douglas Gresham became Honorary Vice Chairman of the Kilns Restoration Committee of Endorsement in 1989. Steve Schofield soon asked Doug whether — as co-heir to Lewis’s literary estate — he was donating any of his windfall to the cause. Steve published Doug’s answer in the spring 1990 issue of the Canadian C. S. Lewis Journal.

“As to whether or not I or my brother decide to contribute to the restoration of the Kilns,” Doug answered, “firstly let me remind you that Jack and Warnie themselves cared so little for the house that had it not been for my mother, the building would probably have fallen down around us. I, like Jack, feel that people are more important than houses, however much nostalgia they may have attached to them; and thus, also like Jack, I prefer to apply my giving to charitable concerns that have a direct bearing on the welfare of people in need, particularly disadvantaged children. Secondly, if anyone is interested in my ‘gratitude or ingratitude for my personal fortune’, let me tell you at once that I am not in the least grateful for money no matter where it comes from. If gratitude exists at all outside the minds of optimists, it is owed for the home Jack gave me, (and I do not refer to the house), the love and care he extended to my mother and myself, and the lessons he taught me, and not for the work of publishers, editors and agents since he died.

“Finally on this topic let me point out that what I decide to do with my money whether earned. unearned, or even stolen, is none of your business, and none of your readers’ business either.”

In spite of his avowed lack of personal interest in the Kilns, since 1990 Doug has become increasingly active in fundraising endeavors for the C. S. Lewis Foundation. In 1997 he sent out a colorful and persuasive fundraising appeal to all the people on Stan Mattson’s mailing list.