Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Albert Lasker papers, 1928-1952, bulk 1946-1952

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 1946-1952
Physical Description 4.62 linear feet (11 document boxes)
Language(s) English .
Access You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in two series.

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.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. 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

Accruals

Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

Ownership and Custodial History

Bequest of Mary Lasker, 1995.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source of acquisition--Lasker, Mary. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1995.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed cnc 7/--/2008.

Revision Description

2009-03-05 File created.

2009-04-17 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

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.

Subject

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

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

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 and Thomas, an advertising firm in Chicago. Lasker rose quickly at Lord and 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.

External users and Columbia affiliates may view materials on-site at RBML. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only Columbia affiliates may view materials on-site at Avery, Starr, and Burke. After clicking 'Submit Request', users will login with their UNI and password (Columbia affiliates) or their special collections account (external users). Appointments are required and will be arranged according to each individual repository's policy.


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.



Box 1 Folder 1 A--General, 1947-1952


Box 1 Folder 2 to 3 B--General, 1947-1951


Box 1 Folder 4 to 5 C--General, 1947-1951, (2 Folders)


Box 1 Folder 6 Cale, Ruth, 1946-1951


Box 1 Folder 7 D--General, 1947-1952



Box 2 Folder 1 E--General, 1947-1952


Box 2 Folder 2 to 3 European File, 1949, 1951, 1949, 1951, (2 Folders)

(Correspondence received by the Laskers while on vacation)


Box 2 Folder 4 Ewing, Oscar R., 1950


Box 2 Folder 5 to 6 F--General, 1950-1952, (2 Folders)


Box 2 Folder 7 G--General, 1950-1951


Box 2 Folder 8 Gimbel, Bernard, 1950


Box 2 Folder 9 Golden, John, 1950-1952

(includes John Gunther)


H--General


Box 2 Folder 10 1950-1951



Box 3 Folder 1 1949-1951


Box 3 Folder 2 Harvard, 1948


Box 3 Folder 3 Health Insurance, 1947

(Re: National Health Insurance bills)


Box 3 Folder 4 I--General, 1949-1950


Box 3 Folder 5 J--General, 1949-1951


Box 3 Folder 6 K--General, 1949-1951


Box 3 Folder 7 L--General, 1949-1951


Box 3 Folder 8 to 9 Lasker Foundation for Medical Research--University of Chicago,, 1928, (2 Folders)


Box 3 Folder 10 Lord & Thomas, 1950



Box 4 Folder 1 to 4 M--General, 1947-1951, (4 Folders)


Box 4 Folder 5 Madison File, 1951

(Correspondence with the University of Wisconsin regarding an honorary degree for Mary Lasker)


Box 4 Folder 6 Mahler, Ernst, 1950-1951


Box 4 Folder 7 Mc General, 1949-1950


Box 4 Folder 8 Meyer, Andre, 1949-1950


Box 4 Folder 9 Murray, Senator James E., 1950-1951



Box 5 Folder 1 to 2 N--General, 1949-1951


Box 5 Folder 3 O--General, 1949-1951


Box 5 Folder 4 Oughterson, Dr. A.W., 1946


Box 5 Folder 5 P General, 1950-1951


Box 5 Folder 6 Patterson, Chat, 1950


Box 5 Folder 7 Pepper, Senator Claude, 1950-1951


Box 5 Folder 8 Q--General, 1948-1952

(Joint Queensview Housing Enterprise)


Box 5 Folder 9 to 10 R General, 1949-1952, (2 Folders)


Box 5 Folder 11 Rosensohn & Family, Etta Lasker (Mrs. Samuel), 1951-1952

(Lasker's sister)



Box 6 Folder 1 to 2 S--General, 1949-1952, (2 Folders)


Box 6 Folder 3 to 4 Sarnoff, David, 1950-1951, (2 Folders)


Box 6 Folder 5 Selz, A.K., 1950-1952


Box 6 Folder 6 to 7 Seversky, Major Alexander P. de, 1947-1951


Box 6 Folder 8 Simon & Schuster, 1950-1951


Box 6 Folder 9 Spies, Dr. Tom, 1950-1951


Box 6 Folder 10 T--General, 1947-1951


Box 6 Folder 11 U--General, 1949


Box 6 Folder 12 V--General, 1949-1952



Box 7 Folder 1 to 2 W--General, 1948-1952, (2 Folders)


Box 7 Folder 3 X-Y--General, 1950-1952


Box 7 Folder 4 Z--General, 1949

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.


Box 7 Folder 5 American Committee for a United Europe, 1949-1950


Box 7 Folder 6 American Jewish Committee, 1947-1951


Box 7 Appointments, 1947 January-1948 January, 1950 1951 April-1952 January, 1947, January, 1950, 1951 April-1952 January, (3 Folders)


Box 7 Folder 7 Arthritis, 1948



Folder 8 Atomic Information, 1946-1947

(Includes correspondence with Albert Einstein)


Cancer



Box 8 Folder 1 Adams, John, 1946


Box 8 Folder 2 to 4 American Cancer Society, 1946-1947, 1949-1952, 1946-1947, 1949-1952, (3 Folders)


Box 8 Folder 5 Memo of Interview with Mr. Jacobi in Re: Cancer, 1946


Box 8 Folder 6 to 7 New York Cancer Committee, 1949-1952, (2 Folders)


Committee for the Nation's Health

(includes correspondence with Chat Patterson)


Box 8 Folder 8 1949 January-June



Box 9 Folder 1 1949 July-December


Box 9 Folder 2 Contributions (Given), 1949


Box 9 Folder 3 Contributions (Foundation) Given, 1950


Box 9 Folder 4 Cortisone, 1950


Box 9 Folder 5 to 8 Friends of Democracy, 1947-1951, (4 Folders)


Health Insurance


Box 9 Folder 9 to 11 Testimony on National Health Insurance Bills, 1947 July 11, (3 Folders)


Box 9 Folder 12 to 13 1949 January-June, (2 Folders)



Box 10 Folder 1 1949 July-December


Box 10 Folder 2 Lasker, Albert D. Testimony on National Health Insurance Bills, 1947 July 11 & 1949, 1947 July 11, 1949


Box 10 Folder 3 1950


Box 10 Folder 4 National Health Bill (Speeches, Articles, Etc.), 1947-1948, Undated, 1947-1948, Undated


Box 10 Folder 5 Bills, 1949


Box 10 Folder 6 Jewish Affairs--Organizations, 1950


Lasker, Albert D.


Box 10 Folder 7 Clippings, 1950-1952


Box 10 Folder 8 Personal, 1950


Box 10 Folder 9 Trustee, 1947-1950


Box 10 Folder 10 Lasker Foundation for Medical Research (University of Chicago), 1933-1937, 1949-1951, 1933-1937, 1949-1951


Box 10 Folder 11 Luckman, Charles, 1946-1950


Box 10 Folder 12 Mailing Lists, 1951-1952, Undated, 1951-1952, Undated

(Lists for Christmas cards, thank-you notes, etc.)


Box 10 Folder 13 The Marshall Plan, 1947-1948


Box 10 Folder 14 Medical Education, 1948-1950



Box 11 Folder 1 Medical Research--General, 1928-1952


Michael Reese Hospital


Box 11 Folder 2 The Psychiatric and Psychosomatic Institute, 1945


Box 11 Folder 3 1945, 1949-1950, 1945, 1949-1950


Box 11 Folder 4 Motion Pictures, 1946-1952


Box 11 Folder 5 The Nation , 1949-1950


Box 11 Folder 6 National Broadcasting Company (NBC)--Niles Trammell/John Royal, 1950-1952


Box 11 Folder 7 National Committee on Housing, Inc., 1948-1949


Box 11 Folder 8 to 9 National Foundation for Medical Education, 1949-1952, (2 Folders)


Box 11 Folder 10 New School of Social Research, 1948-1949


Box 11 Folder 11 Public Affairs Expense, 1949


Box 11 Folder 12 Theatrical Productions, 1949-1951


Box 11 Folder 13 Travel, 1951