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Ira Saul Glasser

Ira Saul Glasser, American Civil liberties organization executive. Avocation: sports M C. Recipient Martin Luther King, Junior award New York Association Black School Suprs.,1971, Gavel award American Bar Association, 1972, Allard K. Lowenstein award Park River Indiana Democratic, 1981, Malcolm, Martin, Mandela award Greater Baptist Trinity Church, 1993.


Glasser, Ira Saul was born on April 18, 1938 in Brooklyn. Son of Sidney and Anne (Goldstein) Glasser.


Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Queens College, 1959. Master of Arts in Mathematics, Ohio State University, 1960. Doctor of Laws (honorary), New York Law School, 2001.


He earned a graduate degree in mathematics from Ohio State University. In the early 1960s, Glasser taught mathematics at Queens College (CUNY) and Sarah Lawrence College. From 1963 to 1967, he was the editor of Current magazine.

In 1970 he became the NYCLU's executive director, in which capacity he served until he became the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1978. The ACLU website credits Glasser with transforming the American Civil Liberties Union from a " 'mom and pop'-style operation concentrated mainly in a few large cities to a nationwide civil liberties powerhouse." Indeed, at the end of Glasser's presidency the ACLU maintained staffed offices in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. When he became director in 1978, only about half of the states had staffed offices.

Glasser raised the ACLU's annual income from $4 million in 1978 to $45 million in 1999. Although the ACLU had protected civil liberties solely through litigation, Glasser expanded the scope of ACLU's activities through lobbying and public education programs. Glasser retired in 2001.

He was succeeded as executive director of the ACLU by Anthony D. Romero. In his retired life, Glasser serves as the President of the Board of Directors of the Drug Policy Alliance.


Chairman St. Vincents Hospital, New York City, Community Advisory Board, New York City, 1970—1972.


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Married Trude Maria Robinson, June 28, 1959. Children: David, Andrew, Peter, Sally.