The Handley Trust was established by virtue of the last will and testament of Judge John Handley, an Irish-born resident of Scranton, Pennsylvania, who fell in love with the City of Winchester during his many visits there. Judge Handley died on February 15, 1895, leaving the City the sum of $250,000, to be held in trust and invested in bonds of the Commonwealth of Virginia until the bequest plus interest increased the amount to $500,000. At that time, he directed the City of Winchester to build a library to be called “The Handley Library.” No more than $250,000 was to be spent on the building and its equipment, with the remainder to be invested. The income was to be used to maintain the library and to purchase books, maps, works of art, and similar items. Construction of The Handley Library began in 1908 and was completed in 1913, though still in need of final repairs. The library finally opened that same year. The remainder of this library fund was held in the Handley Trust until it was transferred to the care and custody of The Handley Library Board of Directors.
The investment and administration of the Handley Trust was the function of the Handley Board of Trustees, which was chartered by the Virginia General Assembly in 1896. The Trustees saw to the fulfillment of Judge Handley’s instructions with regard to the investment of his bequest and the building of the library. In addition to the original sum of $250,000, the Board of Trustees was tasked with administering over $1,600,000, “the rest and residue of [Handley’s] estate,” bequeathed to the City of Winchester for a period of twenty years. The income arising therefrom was to be expended on the creation of schoolhouses for “the education of the poor children of Winchester.” This bequest resulted in the building of the Handley School (opened in 1923), the Frederick Douglas School (completed in 1927), and the purchase of land for the Virginia Avenue School (1929).
*Information has been provided by the Handley Trust. Click here for sources*