TISHMAN, U.S. family in real estate and construction. Founded by JULIUS TISHMAN (d. 1936) in the United States in 1898, the Tishman family companies constituted a construction behemoth that built 400 million square feet of hotels and skyscrapers that started with tenements. Julius had five sons and six grandsons and, in various guises, the company continued as a major force through the early years of the 21st century. PAUL TISHMAN joined his father's company in 1924 after graduating from Harvard and doing graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University. He left the company in 1949 to form Paul Tishman Inc., which specialized in urban renewal, buildings for universities and hospitals, and buildings for Federal, state, and local governments. Among his projects was Washington Square Village, where modern apartment buildings replaced several blocks of older housing in Greenwich Village. He retired in 1969 and died in 1996 at the age of 96. He collected African art and the collection was acquired by Walt Disney Productions for Epcot Center in Orlando, Fla.
The Tishman company went public in 1928 and was dissolved in 1978 by a third-generation president, ROBERT TISHMAN, who launched a partnership with his son-in-law, Jerry Speyer. The company was reconstituted in 1980 as a private concern under Robert's cousin, JOHN, who became chief executive officer. John Tishman, a teacher whose father died when he was four, was put in charge of construction, a job the other cousins showed no interest in. In 1965 the Tishmans got a shot at managing the construction of Madison Square Garden in New York. Such high-profile projects begat others, including the first 100-story tower, the John Hancock, in Chicago. The Tishmans were called in as consultants on the World Trade Center. When they suggested ways to cut costs, the Port Authority hired the company as the builder. Tishman continued to develop its own properties but also emphasized research. It invented body-heat detectors that turn lights on and off when people enter or leave rooms. It developed a new roofing installation with Owens Corning Fiberglas, and with U.S. Gypsum it developed an inexpensive fireproof process. During a downturn in the economy John Tishman diversified the company into services. It began managing hotels such as the St. Moritz on Central Park South. It took on financial consulting jobs. John brought in his son, Daniel R., who had been running Tishman's New England projects out of Boston in 1994, and he was put on a direct path to succeed his father. DANIEL TISHMAN (1955– ) joined the company in 1990 to lead it into the 21st century. Another Tishman, ALAN V. (1917–2004), was in charge of the leasing arm. The Tishmans were prominent in Jewish philanthropies. Among
MARGARET (PEGGY) TISHMAN (1919–2004), who was married to Alan V. Tishman, played a prominent role in American Jewish affairs. She was an organizer of the merged UJA-Federation of New York and served as its first president, from 1986 to 1989, becoming one of the first women to gain national recognition as the chief executive of a major charitable federation. She helped found the Jewish Association for the Aged (JASA) in 1968, and she developed an endowment program to support that work. She served on the boards of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Home and Hospital and was president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. As Peggy Westheimer, she graduated from Wellesley College and received a master's degree in education and psychology from Fairfield University. She gained a national reputation in 1954 when she joined the board of the Jewish Home and Hospital amid a growing debate over how society cared for its elderly, and she helped persuade the Jewish Home to build one of the country's first assisted-living residences for older adults. She also served on New York City's Commission on Heroin Addiction and twice was a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.