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Charles Abrams Edit Profile

housing , lawyer

Charles Abrams, lawyer, housing. Recipient Annual Award, League Industrial Democracy, 1954; Catholic Interracial Council, Brotherhood award, 1959; award New York chapter American Institute Architects, 1965; Medal award citation American Society Planning Officials, 1970; Distinguished Service award American Institute Planners (posthumous), 1970.


Abrams, Charles was born on February 16, 1902 in Vilna, Poland. Son of Abraham and Freda (Rabinowitz) A.


Brought to the United States, 1904, naturalized, 1916. Bachelor of Laws, St. Lawrence University, 1922.


Admitted to New York bar, 1923, practiced in New York City. Specialist in city planning. Co-author of municipal housing authorities law, 1934, author, 1935 law (successfully argued constitutionality).

Counsel New York City Housing Authority, 1934-1937, Housing Shortage Investigation, 1936, American Federation Housing Authorities, 1937-1939. Lecturer economics and housing, professor graduate faculty New School Society Research, 1936-1960. Chairman city planning department, professor Columbia, 1965, chairman division urban planning, professor, 1965-1967.

Williams professor department city planning Harvard, 1968-1970. Visiting professor Massachusetts Institute Technology, 1957-1965, University of Pennsylvania, 1951-1956. Columnist New York Post, 1947-1949.

Led United Nations missions to Ghana, 1954, Turkey, 1954. Pakistan, 1957, Philippines, 1958. Advisor United Nations Missions Bolivia, 1959, Ireland, Japan, 1960, 62, Nigeria, 1962, Singapore, 1963, Kenya, 1964, International Cooperation Administration Mission Jamaica, British W Indies, 1961.

Cons. United States Housing Authority Alaska. State Housing Authority, Philadelphia. Special counsel Joint Legislative Committee on Housing and Multiple Dwellings, 1946.

New York State rent administrator and commissioner Temporary State Housing Rent Commission, 1955. Chairman New York State Commission Against Discrimination and member of the Governor’s Cabinet 1955-1959. Director, member executive committee National Housing Conference.

President National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing. Consultant Agency for International Development. Chairman New York City Task Force on Housing and Urban Renewal.


  • Other Work

    • Author: Revolution in Land 1939. The Future of Housing, 1946. Race Bias in Housing, 1947.

      Urban Land Policies and Problems (United Nations), 1953. Forbidden Neighbors, 1955. Man’s Struggle for Shelter, 1964.

      The City is the Frontier, 1965. Home Ownership for the Poor, 1970. The Language of Cities, public posthumously, 1971.

      Also chapters in books on housing and social trends. Contributor nat. mags. All original papers in collection Regional History, Cornell Univercity.


He was one of the first to use to use the expression "Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.".


Member of the American Institute of Planners, Association Bar City of New York, New York Company Lawyers Association.


Married Ruth Davidson, December 22, 1928. Children: Judith, Abby.

Abraham Abrams

Freda (Rabinowitz) Abrams

Ruth Davidson

Abby Abrams

Judith Abrams