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   Albert Lasker Papers, 1928-1952 (bulk dates 1946-1952).

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Albert Lasker Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information

Abstract

Albert Lasker (1880-1952) is best known as an advertising executive and philanthropist. His papers contain personal and business correspondence, as well as material related to Lasker's activities and interests, particularly with regard to medicine and public health issues.

At a Glance

Call No.:MS#1460
Bib ID:6906282 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Lasker, Albert Davis, 1880-1952.
Title:Albert Lasker Papers, 1928-1952 (bulk dates 1946-1952).
Physical description:4.62 linear ft. (11 document boxes)
Language(s): Material is in English
Access: This collection has no restrictions. This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. This collection has no restrictions.  More information »

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in two series:

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Description

Scope and Content

Albert Lasker is best known as an advertising executive and philanthropist. His papers consist primarily of correspondence and subject files from the last five years of his life. During these years, he experienced bouts of ill health that forced him to restrict his activities for extended periods. His papers do document his interests and philanthropic work in medicine, particularly as related to cancer and proposals for national health insurance and a national medical education fund. There is also some material related to the Lasker Foundation for Medical Research at the University of Chicago.

The collection includes a small amount of personal material, including appointment books, biographical information, clippings, contribution information, and mailing lists.

There is necessarily overlap between Albert Lasker's papers and the more extensive papers of his wife, Mary Lasker, whom he married in 1940. Additional information on the couple's philanthropic work is filed with her papers.

Series I: Correspondence, 1928-1952

Lasker's correspondence files include personal and business correspondence on both unique and routine matters. The files include correspondence handled by both Lasker and his secretary. Notable correspondents include Claude Pepper, David Sarnoff, and Major Alexander P. de Seversky.

Series II: Subject Files, 1933-1952

This series contains subject files documenting Lasker's activities and interests. Most of these files are related to medicine, and include material on cancer, the Committee for the Nation’s Health, the Lasker Foundation for Medical Research at the University of Chicago, the National Fund for Medical Education, Michael Reese Hospital, and legislation on national health insurance (1947-1950). The series also includes a small amount of personal material, including appointment books, biographical information, clippings, contribution information, and mailing lists.

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Using the Collection

Offsite

Access Restrictions

 This collection has no restrictions. This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

      offsite requestMore information and link to off-site request form

This collection has no restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts/University Archivist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Albert Lasker Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Selected Related Material-- at Columbia

Reminiscences of Albert Davis Lasker, Oral History Research Office

Mary Lasker Papers, 1940-1993 Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Reminiscences of Mary Lasker : oral history, 1965 Oral History Research Office

Reminiscences of Mary Lasker : oral history, 1982 Oral History Research Office

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Papers processed 7/--/2008 cnc

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion March 5, 2009 Finding aid written in English.
    2009-03-05 File created.
    2009-04-17 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz

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Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Subjects

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Committee for the Nation's Health.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lasker, Albert Davis, 1880-1952.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lasker, Mary.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
National Fund for Medical Education (U.S.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
National health insurance--Law and legislation--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Philanthropists--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
University of Chicago--Lasker Foundation for Medical Research.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Albert Davis Lasker was born in Freiberg, Germany, on May 1, 1880, but was raised in Galveston, Texas. He was the third child of Morris Lasker, an investor and banker, and Nettie Davis Lasker.

Lasker was initially interested in journalism, and worked as a newspaper reporter during his teens. His father disapproved of this career, and in 1898 secured a position for him at Lord & Thomas, an advertising firm in Chicago. Lasker rose quickly at Lord & Thomas, becoming a partner in 1903, and sole owner within the next decade. He ultimately sold the firm to his partners and retired from active business at the end of 1942. Considered a pioneer in modern advertising, the firm's clients included Kotex, Lucky Strike, Pepsodent, Kleenex, Palmolive, Studebaker, Sunkist, RCA, and Frigidaire.

Lasker's interests were not limited to the world of advertising. From 1916-1925, he was part owner of the Chicago Cubs. Indeed, the Lasker plan for the reorganization of baseball after the 1919 "Black Sox" scandal paved the way for the election of the sport's first commissioner in 1920. He also supported the University of Chicago. He donated his private golf course to the university, and also gave one million dollars to establish the Lasker Foundation for Medical Research in 1928. He served as a trustee of the university from 1937-1942.

In addition to sports and education, Lasker also had an interest in politics that spanned some 34 years. Although he was a Republican, he served in both Republican and Democratic administrations. In 1917, he served as a special assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture under President Woodrow Wilson. He served as an Assistant to the Chairman of the National Republican Committee from 1918-1920, and worked on the campaign and election of President Warren Harding. He then served as the Chair of the United States Shipping Board from 1920-1923. Later, he was a floor leader for the Illinois delegation to the Republican National Convention in 1940.

Concerned with Jewish affairs on both a local and national level in the early 1940s, Lasker was the director of the Jewish Charities of Chicago and a member of the executive board of the American Jewish Committee. In memory of his father, who had an interest in agriculture for Jews, Lasker and other family members purchased farming land in Pennsylvania that allowed for the training of poor Jewish immigrants in agriculture. He also donated to Hadassah and other organizations. In 1950, he and his wife made a trip to Israel, which he described as the highlight of his life.

A renowned philanthropist, Lasker founded the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation with his wife in 1942, dedicated to the support of biomedical research for curing disease and improving human life. The foundation presents annual awards recognizing those who have made major advances in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure, and prevention of human disease. The awards are considered to be among the most prestigious in medical science. In 1944, Lasker was the primary force behind a fundraising drive to increase the money spent on cancer research in the United States. He was also interested in federal involvement in medical issues, and was involved in efforts to create national health insurance and a national fund for medical education during the Truman administration.

Lasker died of cancer on May 30, 1952, in New York City.

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