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Greenfield, Albert Monroe


GREENFIELD, ALBERT MONROE (1887–1967), U.S. financier and civic leader. Greenfield, who was born in Kiev, Ukraine, was taken to the U.S. at the age of five. He worked at several jobs before he entered the real estate field, founding Albert M. Greenfield and Company. By the time he was 30, Greenfield had amassed a multi-million dollar fortune. Upon his retirement in 1956, his company was one of the largest real estate firms in the U.S. Greenfield lost much of his first fortune when his Bankers Trust Company was compelled to close in the early days of the Depression of the 1930s, and subsequently made another. In the 1950s and 1960s he took pride in his designation as "Mr. Philadelphia," because the Greenfield interests controlled so many department stores, hotels, and specialty shops, through his City Stores holding company, and because his participation was solicited for every conceivable philanthropic and civic cause. Greenfield was also extremely active politically and was considered a power in Philadelphia politics. He was a member of the Philadelphia Common Council (1917–20), and was extremely close to William S. Vare, the boss of the Philadelphia Republican machine. Although he seconded Herbert Hoover's nomination in 1928, from 1934 on he was identified with the Democratic Party (while continuing to give financial and other support to occasional Republican candidates). He served as a delegate to all the Democratic national conventions from 1948 through 1964. Greenfield was a member of the influential Jewish delegation which waited upon President Harry S. *Truman the night/morning he granted U.S. recognition to Israel. Greenfield was close to President Lyndon B. *Johnson, because he had been a member of the small group that supported Johnson for president in 1960. Greenfield was never wholly committed to a single Jewish cause or institution; he accepted the usual board memberships and honors, took pride in his early service as a trustee of the Jewish Institute of Religion, and in the decisive role which he played in the merger of three Jewish hospitals in Philadelphia in 1951. At one time, the National Conference of Christians and Jews briefly stimulated his interest, and through its agency he endowed a Center for Human Relations at the University of Pennsylvania.

[Bertram Wallace Korn]

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