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Louis Broido papers

 Collection
Identifier: P-161

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains: writings, minutes, financial records, correspondence, printed materials, newspaper clippings, and photographs relating to Broido's employment, investments, and involvement in Jewish and non-Jewish communal activities.

It includes material on the department store, Gimbel Bros, where he was associated with Bernard Gimbel and where he served as Executive Vice President, and as Chairman of the Advisory Committee; Temple Emanu-El, where he served as trustee and opposed secession from the Union of American Hebrew Congregations; the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, serving as President from 1965-1975 and where he was involved in the investigation of the Charles Jordan murder in Prague; the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, where he served as trustee, and played an active role in financial matters and relations with the Hebrew Union College; the United Jewish Appeal, where he served as President, trustee, and member of the Board of Directors; the New York City Community College (1956-1972) where he served as trustee; and the Department of Commerce and Industrial Development of the City of New York, where he served as Commissioner.

Also includes correspondence and papers relating to the national Council of Jewish Women, efforts on behalf of European refugees, the Hebrew University, the Jewish Statistical Bureau, the Joint Defense Appeal, the New York City Charter Revision Commission, the Citizens Commission on the City Economy, the Citizens Committee to Save the New York Naval Shipyard in Brooklyn, the Co-operative Education Commission, the Harmonie Club, the Liberal Party, the New School for Social Research, and the New York City Industrial Development Corporation, among others.

Contains Broido's writings and speeches, personal correspondence, telephone and mail diaries, as well as biographical vitae, newspaper clippings, and photographs and brochures describing his activities. Among his correspondents are: Jacob Billikopf, Richard J. Blum, Samuel Goldenson, Maurice Eisendrath, Elie Eliachar, Carl Voss, and Anne X. Alpern.

The collection is in English, French, German, and Yiddish.

Dates

  • undated, 1922-1976

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English, French, German, and Yiddish.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.

Use Restrictions

No permission is required to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection, as long as the usage is scholarly, educational, and non-commercial. For inquiries about other usage, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at mmeyers@ajhs.org.

For reference questions, please email: inquiries@cjh.org

Biographical Note

Louis Broido (1895-1975)

Louis Broido was born on September 21, 1895 in Pittsburgh, PA to Morris and Sarah Broido, both of whom immigrated from Lithuania to Pittsburgh in 1880. One of eight children, Broido was a U.S. business executive, and a civic and communal leader.

His father impressed upon him the value of living a "useful life," and Broido graduated from public school before he was 12. When he was 14, he worked as narrator in movie houses for silent films. He was considered the leading orator and debater of his high school, and continued these activities at the University of Pittsburgh. As a freshman, he represented the University in a National Oratorical Peace Contest, and emerged as one of the top two men in the United States. At the same time, Broido was impressed by Dr. J. Leonard Levy and became actively interested in religious education. At the age of 17, he wrote a play entitled "The Enemies of Israel." Broido attended college for one year and then entered the Pitt Law School. Broido received his LL.B. from the University of Pittsburgh Law School in 1917, and was a member of the Bar of New York and Pennsylvania. Broido would become one of the leaders of the Reform Jewish Movement in the United States.

Within one month of the outbreak of World War I, as a senior in Law School, he enlisted in the University of Pittsburgh Base Hospital Unit, spending nearly three years in France. He received the most rapid promotion of any man in the unit. He was commissioned and transferred to the division in charge of the acquisition of hospitals for the American Army. After the Armistice, he became a member of the United States Liquidation Commission, and member of the U.S. Commission for War Claims in France in Italy until 1920. Before his departure from France, he was made a member of the French Legion of Honor. After the war, he spent a short time in the legal department of the Texas Company, later known as Texaco.

When he returned to Pittsburgh, Broido organized the law firm Broido and Rosenbaum, and engaged in general practice for a number of years. His forensic and oratorical ability was known and recognized, and he was active in all communal and civic affairs. He coached the University of Pittsburgh Debating Team for one year; his team defeated Harvard.

Broido practiced law in Pittsburgh and New York until 1936. He left law to take the position of executive vice president of Gimbel Bros., Inc., where he worked for 26, eventually becoming Chairman of Gimbels Advisory Committee. In addition to his many other corporate duties, Broido acted as labor relations negotiator and consultant for the company's various stores. In 1937, with the passage of the state's Little Wagner Act, he handled all the labor relations of the Gimbels New York and Saks 34 Street stores.

In 1937 he negotiated with John L. Lewis and Sidney Hillman the first over-all, storewide labor relations contract in the United States. Concurrently, he negotiated the contract with the AFL Building Service and Maintenance Union with respect to such workers. Thereafter, he conducted the negotiations with the AFL President of the New York State Carpenters Union, and Mr. Johnson, and the head of the AFL Painters Union regarding the craft employees in these stores. Thereafter, for many years, he conducted negotiations with the AFL Teamster's Union regarding the company's warehouse in New York City and Teamster employees in other cities.

During the war, he had extensive experience with the State and National Labor Mediation Boards. He was a member of the Arbitration Panel of the National Labor Relations Board in the New York Region and acted as arbitrator in a number of cases, particularly two large and important cases during the war involving employees in the metropolitan area of the New York and New Jersey Telephone Companies.

Broido was one of the organizers of the Retail Labor Standards Association in New York, which was created in an endeavor to gather pertinent data and to handle labor relations of New York retail stores on a city-wide basis. He was Chairman of this group for some period.

He was Chairman of a committee to negotiate a city-wide contract with the labor unions in the retail field in New York. At that time, Mr. James Mitchell, representing Bloomingdale's, was Vice-Chairman. The negotiations were carried on principally by Mr. Broido and Mr. Mitchell.

Mr. Broido was a member of a committee of New York merchants working with the United Parcel Delivery Service in the negotiation of many contract renewals with the Teamster's Locals, representing the employees of the United Parcel Service. He was a guest lecturer at Harvard University in the field of retail labor management relations, and at the State Labor Relations School at Cornell University. As a member of the Board of the New York City Community College, Mr. Broido has had considerable experience with the problems arising out of faculty labor organization at the Community College level.

Mr. Broido was particularly interested in the problems involved in the labor organization of municipal groups such as teachers, with particular reference to the manner in which these large groups may find proper avenues of expression with necessary and proper safeguards to the public welfare and the public authorities, particularly the freedom of educational authorities in the proper exercise of their public duties.

He retired from his chairmanship of Gimbel Bros. in 1961 and became managing partner of a private investment company in the financial district. He devoted the remainder of his time to various communal and civic activities, primarily in his post as the Commissioner of the newly-formed City Department of Commerce and Industrial Development, charged with the responsibility of improving and developing the commerce and industry of New York City. Broido was also a New York retail trade leader and a member of several municipal committees. Broido served as President of the New York City Retail Drygoods Association and was for many years a member of the Executive Committee of the New York State Retail Council. He served the industry in various capacities in connection with the O.P.A. and War Production Board during World War II.

Mr. Broido was for many years a member of the Board of Trustees and Vice-Chairman of the New York City Community College of Applied Arts and Sciences. He was a former President of the United Jewish Appeal of New York in 1951 and 1952. For many years, he was vice chairman of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and on the Administrative Committee of the Joint Distribution Committee. From 1965, Broido was Chairman of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, of which he was a significant fundraiser. As Chairman of the JDC, he guided the activities of the major American Jewish welfare agency, bringing aid to needy Jews throughout the world. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees of Temple Emanu-El of New York City. His wife, Lucy Kaufmann Broido (1900-1969) helped found the Women's Division of the New York United Jewish Appeal. She was vice president of the Jewish Education Committee (1946-1953), and president of the New York section of the National Council of Jewish Women (1949-1953).

Broido died on April 5, 1975 in New York City.

Extent

17 Linear Feet (34 manuscript boxes)

Abstract

This collection contains writings, minutes, financial records, correspondence, printed materials, newspaper clippings, and photographs relating to Broido's employment, investments, and Jewish and non-Jewish communal activities. It includes material regarding the department store, Gimbel Bros. (1934-1966), where he was associated with Bernard Gimbel, and where he served as Executive Vice President and as Chairman of the Advisory Committee (1953-1961); Temple Emanu-El (1957-1970), where he served as trustee and opposed secession from the Union of American Hebrew Congregations; the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (1944-1976), serving as President from 1965-1975, and where he was involved in the investigation of the Charles Jordan murder in Prague (1967); the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (1953-1972) where he served as trustee and played an active role in financial matters and relations with the Hebrew Union College; the United Jewish Appeal (1941-1972) where he served as President (1951-1952), trustee and member of the Board of Directors; the New York City Community College (1956-1972) where he served as trustee; and the Department of Commerce and Industrial Development of the City of New York (1961-1971) where he served as Commissioner (1961-1966).

Acquisition Note

Gift of Theodore K. Broido, 1976.
Title
Guide to the Papers of Louis Broido (1895-1975), undated, 1922-1976 *P-161
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Marvin Rusinek
Date
© 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • April, September 2020: EHyman: post-ASpace migration cleanup.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States