Bruegger’s Bagels Co-Founder Nordahl Brue and Wife Suzanne Brue Donate $1.5 Million to the New England Historic Genealogical Society

The following announcement was written by the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

Gift of $1.5 Million from Nordahl and Suzanne Brue to Advance Educational Programming at American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society

The Brue Family Learning Center at American Ancestors Will Inspire New Family Historians and Genealogists

September 12, 2019—Boston, Massachusetts—Bruegger’s Bagels co-founder Nordahl Brue and his wife Suzanne Brue have made a gift of $1.5 million to New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) to endow the creation of a family history learning center where visitors from all backgrounds can learn more about their ancestry.

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS)—known online as American Ancestors to millions of users—is the nation’s oldest and largest genealogical society. The gift will endow the creation of a new Brue Family Learning Center as part of a campus expansion program to introduce family and local history to wider audiences. It will also fund the creation of unique program content in family history for the organization’s online and special events offerings. This gift follows American Ancestors and NEHGS’s successful $62.5 million capital campaign and its acquisition of an adjacent building at 97 Newbury Street, into which its facilities will soon expand.

Brenton Simons, President and CEO of NEHGS and American Ancestors, announced the Brues’ gift: “This generous gift from Nordahl and Suzanne Brue is testimony to their sharing of our vision to inspire others to engage in history and genealogy. With a deep personal interest in family and local history, they have made a far-reaching commitment to our planned expansion. The creation of the Brue Family Learning Center at our headquarters will guarantee access to research, technologies, programs, and events by many new intergenerational visitors to our facilities and to our website. We celebrate their gift and the inspiration it signifies through a new center of learning bearing their name.”

American Ancestors and NEHGS are leaders in the creation and delivery of educational products and programs in genealogy, providing innovative online and in-person instruction to its 260,000+ members worldwide through its American Ancestors brand.

The expansion of its Back Bay campus in Boston into a center for the discovery of family history will include educational experiences designed to engage visitors of all backgrounds and interest levels in the exploration of their unique family story. New resources there will allow a visitor to explore their personal family history, discover stories of how and why people came to America, learn about the indigenous people who were already on America’s shores, and better understand the burgeoning field of DNA and genetics.

Nordahl Brue said, “We are excited to help NEHGS further its mission as it grows far beyond its Yankee and New England roots. With recent additions of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center, the ground-breaking digitalization of the records of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and its leading role in the GU272 Georgetown Memory Project of African American history, NEHGS has truly become ‘American Ancestors.’ We hope to help our fellow Americans learn to use these magnificent resources as they search the stories of their family’s role in the building of our great country.”

Nordahl Brue, lawyer, entrepreneur, and co-founder of the Bruegger’s Bagels chain of restaurants, is a member of the Board of Trustees of American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society. In 1983 he opened the first Bruegger’s Bagels in Troy, New York, with Mike Dressell. Today, Bruegger’s runs approximately three hundred bakery-cafes in twenty-four states and the District of Columbia.

Brue also serves as Chairman of Northbridge Investments, LLC, and as a principal in the Burt Street Cellars (Sonoma, California wines). He is a Life Trustee of Grinnell College and serves on the National Council of Washington University Law School. He is a former Chair of Green Mountain Power Corporation, PKC Corporation, and Franklin Foods, and served on the Vermont Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors as well as the Council of Environmental Advisors.

Suzanne Brue is an author, teacher, and wellness expert exploring the intersection of fitness, personality, and behavior change, and a frequent speaker at psychological and fitness conferences. Her groundbreaking book, The 8 Colors of Fitness: Discover Your Color-Coded Fitness Personality and Create an Exercise Program You’ll Never Quit, offers practical, down-to-earth advice for every fitness personality—from those new to fitness to no-nonsense gym rats and competitive athletes.

The Brues are residents of Delray Beach, Florida.


How wonderful. Can’t have enough $$ to preserve and extend info to the public. They picked a great organization to utilize it well.


David Paul Davenport September 14, 2019 at 3:03 pm

I don’t begrudge the right of people to do with their money what they want but this is certainly a case of the rich getting richer. Meanwhile dozens if not hundreds of small historical and/or genealogical societies struggle financially because they don’t have a few hundred dollars to digitize unique items/collections that would benefit genealogists who have yet to learn they need to see the unique document in question. Mr. Eastman often brings to the attention of his readers sad tales of collections destroyed by flood, fire, vermin, etc. that haven’t been digitized. I’m not unhappy that this couple gave $1.5 million to the NEHGS, but I would be much happier if Mr. Eastman could have reported that this couple gave a total of $1.5 million to 100 genealogical societies located in 20 different states based on a careful review of applications for assistance to accomplish specific document preservation proposals. What has happened is to me equivalent to a donation of 100 cases to very expensive wine to a fund raising dinner for a political candidate when it would be much better for society to feed a 100,000 homeless people seeking assistance at local shelters.


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