Beame, Abe


1975 TLS by the 1st Jewish NYC mayor, presided over city’s mid-1970s fiscal crisis


Autograph ID: 5912
Condition: Very good, very slight see-thruy from docket stamp on verso
Description: “(1906-2001) London-born 5’2” New York City mayor (D) 1974-77, presided over the city during the fiscal crisis of the mid-1970s, during which the city was almost forced to declare bankruptcy. First practicing Jewish mayor of New York City, he grew up on New York’s Lower East Side, taught accounting 1929-46 in a city high school and accounting and commercial law at Rutgers University 1944-45. He was city budget director 1952-61 then elected to 2 terms as comptroller in 1961 & 1969. In 1965 he was Democratic nominee for Mayor, defeated by Republican candidate John V. Lindsay. He was a “clubhouse” or machine politician, a product of the Brooklyn wing of the regular Democratic organization (that borough’s equivalent of Manhattan’s Tammany Hall) as opposed to the “reform” Democrats who entered New York City politics in the 1950s. After defeating State Senator John Marchi in the 1973 mayoral election, Beame faced the worst fiscal crisis in the city’s history and spent the bulk of his term attempting to ward off bankruptcy. He slashed the city workforce, froze salaries, and reconfigured the budget, which proved unsatisfactory until reinforced by actions from newly created state-sponsored entities and the granting of federal funds. He also served during the 1977 blackout crtisis. After a chaotic 4 years as mayor, he ran for a 2nd term in 1977 and finished 3rd in the Democratic primary behind US Rep Ed Koch and New York Secretary of State Mario Cuomo. When he left office in 1977, the city budget had changed from a $1.5B deficit to a surplus of $200M.

TLS on 10 1/2 x 8 1/4 official letterhead as Mayor, NYC, January 21 1975, gilt City seal at top center, regrets he is unable to attend or speak at a testimonial dinner honoring the chairman of the State Workmen’s Compensation Board. With envelope.”
Type: Letter

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