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Albert D. Lasker papers
mssLasker papers  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administration Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Albert D. Lasker papers
    Inclusive Dates: 1881-2015
    Bulk Dates: 1920-1950
    Collection Number: mssLasker papers
    Creator: Lasker, Albert Davis, 1880-1952
    Extent: Approximately 4,050 items in 38 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
    The Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Fax: (626) 449-3477
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The collection reflects broadly the professional life of American businessman and philanthropist Albert D. Lasker, as well as other family members including Mary Lasker, Edward Lasker, Frances Lasker Brody, and Mary Lasker Block.
    Language of Material: The records are in English.

    Administration Information


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please go to following web site .

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining permission rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of Item], Albert D. Lasker papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Gifts of Christopher Brody and Steven Lasker, October 2012.


    Albert D. Lasker was an American businessman who is often considered to be the founder of modern advertising. Lasker, who was Jewish, was born in Germany in 1880 and raised in Galveston, Texas. In 1898 he moved to Chicago and got an advertising position at Lord & Thomas. In 1903, after Lord retired, Lasker purchased his share and became a partner. He purchased the firm in 1912. Lasker worked on and created advertising for several large companies including: Lucky Strikes, Palmolive, Pepsodent, Kotex, and Kleenex. In 1921, President Harding appointed Lasker to the United States Shipping Board; he served for two years. After thirty years at Lord & Thomas, Lasker sold the firm to three senior executives. Lasker and his third wife, Mary, became nationally prominent art collectors and philanthropists. Together they founded and endowed the Lasker Award, which has recognized the work of many leading scientists and researchers, particularly in the field of medical research. His uncle was German liberal politician Eduard Lasker. Albert D. Lasker died in 1952.
    Albert D. Lasker married Flora Warner in 1902. They had three children, all of whom became prominent figures in their fields of interest: Mary Lasker Block (b.1904) established the Block Museum in Chicago along with her husband Leigh B. Block; Edward Lasker (b.1912) was a successful businessman, lawyer, and thoroughbred racehorse owner; and Frances Lasker Brody (b.1916), art collector and philanthropist, became a founding benefactor of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and a guiding patron of the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Gardens. After the sudden death of his wife, Flora, in 1936, Lasker was briefly married to actress Doris Kenyon. In 1940, Lasker married Mary Reinhardt; they were married until his death.

    Scope and Content

    The collection spans Albert D. Lasker's entire life and his family up to the 21st century. The majority of the collection is made up of interviews and research conducted by Boyden Sparkes, who Albert D. Lasker had hired to ghost-write his autobiography in 1938 (not for publication). This includes interviews with Lasker himself, family members, colleagues, and fellow businessmen, and covers Lasker's early life and his career in both advertising, art collecting, and philanthropy. There is also some material about Lasker's involvement in the defense of Leo Frank, a Jewish American factory superintendent, in Georgia, who was convicted of the murder of a 13-year-old girl; Frabk was ultimately taken from prison and lynched in August 1915. There is also material about Lasker's family including: his first wife Flora, their three children (and their families), his brief marriage to Doris Kenyon, and his third wife Mary Woodard Lasker. There is also some material about his father Morris Lasker and his life in Galveston, Texas. There is a small amount of material about Edward Lasker's career with horse racing and about his second wife American actress Jane Greer.
    The collection includes a large amount of ephemera, scrapbooks, photograph albums, and loose (and framed) photographs and portraits. Also included are several audio-visual items, published books, and a Grammy Award.
    Many of the photographs in the photograph albums are loose or coming loose.


    The collection is arranged in the following series: Albert D. Lasker Material (Boxes 1-9); Lord & Thomas Material (Boxes 10-11); Family Files (Boxes 12-16); Photographs/Scrapbooks (Boxes 17-32); Ephemera (Boxes 33-35); Audio-Visual Material (Box 36); and Books (Boxes 37-38). The material is arranged in alphabetical order within each series.

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Block, Leigh B., 1905-1987
    Block, Leigh B., Mrs., 1904-
    Brody, Frances Lasker
    Brody, Sidney F.
    Frank, Leo, 1884-1915
    Greer, Jane, 1924-2001
    Howard, Roy Wilson, 1883-1964
    Kenyon, Doris, 1897-1979
    Lasker, Albert Davis, 1880-1952 -- Archives
    Lasker, Eduard, 1829-1884
    Lasker, Edward, 1912-1997
    Lasker, Mary
    Lasker, Morris, 1840-1916
    Rubicam, Raymond, 1892-1978
    Sparkes, Boyden, 1890-1954

    Corporate Names

    American Tobacco Company
    Lord & Thomas


    Advertising agencies -- Illinois -- Chicago
    Art -- Collectors and collecting -- United States
    Businessmen -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Archives
    Jews -- United States
    Philanthropists -- United States -- Archives


    Family papers -- United States -- 20th century
    Personal papers -- United States -- 20th century
    Professional papers -- United States -- 20th century
    Research (document genres) -- United States -- 20th century