Alfange, Dean, 1897-1989

Alternative names
Birth 1897-12-02
Death 1989-10-27

Biographical notes:

Dean Alfange (1897-1989), lawyer, politician and political advisor to U.S. presidents and New York governors, was instrumental in the formation of the Liberal Party in 1944. He was active in the Greek-American community from 1934 to 1975 and was involved in human rights issues, particularly for immigrant groups in the U.S.

From the description of Dean Alfange papers, 1927-1988. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122455950

Dean Alfange was born in Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) of Greek parents, December 2, 1897. His family migrated to the United States and settled in Utica, New York, when he was very young. He attended Hamilton College where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1922. Later he attended Columbia University Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1925.

Alfange's interests led him to pursue a career in politics as well as law. He was also deeply involved with the Order of Ahepa, a Greek-American cultural organization, and was its national president from 1927-1929. He ran for New York State Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1942 against Thomas E. Dewey and was a strong advocate of the New Deal and a great admirer of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

During World War II he was the Vice-Chairman of the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe. He made speeches for aid to the Jews against the Nazis, and at a hearing before the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives submitted a plan to save the Jews in Europe. After World War II he became chairman of the Committee to Arm the Jewish State, a group aimed at lifting the arms embargo on Palestine.

He was instrumental in the formation of the Liberal Party in 1944 when the American Labor Party split between pro-communist and anti-communist factions. However, crossing party lines Alfange held nominations or appointments from Democrats and Republicans as well as the Liberal and American Labor Party. As early as 1954 he expressed opposition to the American policy of military aid to the French government in Indo-China, his position being one based on anti-colonialism. This position continued throughout America's involvement in the Viet Nam Conflict.

Other positions held by Alfange were: Deputy Attorney General of New York State, Trustee of the Fashion Institute of Technology and New York State Quarter-Horse Racing Commissioner. Among his awards are the Freedom Foundation Award (1952) for his composition "My Creed" (included in Ephemera Series) and the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Award for his book The Supreme Court and the National Will (1937).

He died in New York City on October 24, 1989 at age 91.

From the guide to the Dean Alfange papers, 1927-1988, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)


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Ark ID:


  • Greek Americans
  • Immigrants
  • Immigrants--United States
  • Jewish--Arab relations--History--1917-1948
  • Political campaigns--United States
  • Jewish refugees
  • Political Campaigns


  • Politicians
  • Political activists


  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)