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Lasker Family

LASKER, family of prominence in the 19th–20th centuries in the U.S. MORRIS LASKER (1840–1916), who was born in Prussia, immigrated to the U.S. in 1856. After settling in Texas in 1860, he participated in a number of Indian campaigns and fought in the Civil War with the Confederacy. After the war Lasker moved to Galveston, where he became a prominent merchant, real estate and livestock dealer, and banker. He was elected to the Texas state senate in 1895. His brother Eduard *Lasker (1829–1884) was a prominent German politician and author.

ALBERT DAVIS LASKER (1880–1952), an advertising pioneer, public servant, and communal leader, was brought up in Galveston. Lasker worked as a reporter for the DallasNews before joining the Chicago advertising agency of Lord & Thomas in 1898. He subsequently bought the agency (1910), and when he dissolved the firm and retired in 1942, the agency was the largest of its kind in the world. Lasker's inventiveness, particularly his use of what he called "salesmanship-in-print," sparked a tremendous growth in the advertising business. His public and political posts included aide to President Wilson's secretary of the Department of Agriculture; head of the Republican National Committee's publicity department (1918); and chairman of the U.S. Shipping Board (1921–23). Before resigning from the last, Lasker oversaw the extensive reorganization of the U.S. merchant marine and the disposal of $3 billion worth of the board's assets. In 1940 he was a delegate from Illinois to the Republican National Convention. Active in Jewish affairs, Lasker contributed to the Hebrew Union College, was a trustee of the Associated Jewish Charities of Chicago, and was a member of the American Jewish Committee's executivecommittee. He also founded and endowed the Lasker Foundation for medical research in 1928.

His sister FLORINA LASKER (1884–1949), a communal worker, was born in Galveston. She served as chairman of the National Council of Jewish Women's immigrant aid section, was a board member of the National Consumers' League, and wrote, with Etta and Loula Lasker, Care and Treatment of the Jewish Blind in the City of New York (1918) for the Bureau of Philanthropic Research. A board member of the American Civil Liberties Union, she was also secretary of the New York Labor Standards Committee (1934), dedicated to the improvement of wages, hours, and working conditions; additionally, she reorganized (1943) and presided over the Consumers' League of New York, which, under her direction, conducted important surveys of migrant workers in New York State.

A second sister, Etta Lasker *Rosensohn (1885–1966), was a social and communal worker and Zionist. A third sister, LOULA DAVIS LASKER (1886–1961), who was also born in Galveston, was a social and communal worker and Zionist. She held posts with the Bureau of Philanthropic Research (1916–17) and the New York County chapter of the American Red Cross. She was also a member of the U.S. immigration commissioner's advisory panel on welfare conditions at U.S. immigrant reception stations (1921), and chairman of the Commission on Immigrant Aid and Immigrant Education for the New York section of the National Council of Jewish Women (1921–23). During 1928–52 she was associate editor of Survey and Survey Graphic. A founder in 1937 and board chairman of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, Loula Lasker was also a founder of the League for Industrial Democracy and a board member of the American Civil Liberties Union. Active in Jewish affairs, she became a member of Hadassah's national board in 1949, edited the Hadassah Newsletter from 1952 to 1955, and subsequently served as a Hadassah vice president.


J. Gunther, Taken at the Flood: The Story of Albert D. Lasker (1960).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.