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Richard Gilder, co-founder of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, heads the brokerage firm Gilder, Gagnon, Howe & Co. The firm's specialty is trading leveraged stocks and shortselling.
After working at the brokerage firm of A.G. Becker & Co., Gilder founded the firm now known as Gilder, Gagnon, Howe & Co. in 1968. He is Chairman of the Executive Committee at the New-York Historical Society and serves on the Executive Board of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. He is a trustee of the Gilder Lehrman Institute, Morgan Library & Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, the Central Park Conservancy, and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. He is Chairman Emeritus of both, the conservative think-tank, the Manhattan Institute and the conservative political action committee, the Club for Growth. Gilder is the Chairman Emeritus of the Club For Growth, and his ex-wife, Virginia James, continues to be a major donor. In 2005, Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman received the National Humanities Medal for their work promoting the study of American history. He has now set up a PhD. program at the American Museum of Natural History in his own name, the Richard Gilder Graduate School at AMNH.
Gilder attended Northfield Mount Hermon School before enrolling in Yale College. He graduated from Yale in 1954. He received a Doctor of Humane Letters in 2007 from Yale. He provided $4 million, over half the necessary funding, in honor of his daughter, Virginia Anne, a two-time Olympian, for the recently completed Gilder Boathouse for Yale rowers.The boathouse carries only the Gilder last name to honor three generations of Yale alumni. 
Gilder has four children. His daughter Virginia Gilder (born 1958), also a Yale graduate, was a member of the American women's quadruple sculls team that won the silver medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics. and is a co-owner of the Seattle Storm, a professional women's basketball team in the WNBA.