Lasker, Mary

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1900-11-30
Death 1994-02-21
Gender:
Female
English

Biographical notes:

Mary Lasker and her husband were founders of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation which gives an award for contributions to medical research and public health administration. She was associated with many charitable organizations.

From the description of Papers, 1945-1962. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 155523699

Mary Lasker (1900-1994) along with her husband Albert D. Lasker, co-founder of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation. Between 1900 and 1940 major sources of financing for medical research were nongovernmental, with private foundations and universities the principal sponsors and hosts of basic research. Before World War II most American scientists opposed large-scale federal financing or coordination of research. The war changed such attitudes by increasing government sponsorship of medicine and making research a priority. Following the war the emergence of a private, lay lobby for medical research greatly expanded government support. Henceforth the U.S. government and its tax dollars would become an important part of the U.S. medical establishment. Lasker had worked with voluntary organizations and took a major role in reorganizing the American Cancer Society. She knew of the National Health Survey of 1936, which emphasized the poor state of health among American people. The fact that four million of fourteen million men examined for military service before June 1944 had been rejected as mentally or physically unfit convinced her and others that American public health had to be improved. Her experience with private sector health-oriented organizations proved to her that public funding support was required in the fight against disease. Lasker had a friend, Florence Mahoney, who had experience campaigning for improvement of health programs; and through her family''s connections with the Cox newspaper chain, Mahoney had the power to help on the political front in the battle for expanded medical-research support. This "noble conspiracy," also known as "Mary and her little lambs," believed the doctors and research scientists were too used to thinking small. Lasker, as a result of her background, was used to thinking big, and she had the conviction something could and should be done about increasing the government''s sponsorship of medical research. The public was accustomed to mass medical fund-raising by such organizations as the March of Dimes. Public-opinion polls showed support for more expansive government assistance to medicine. The Lasker lobby cultivated key figures in Congress, many of whom were opponents of national health insurance. Many covered their political opposition to national health insurance by voting generous appropriations for medical research instead. Lasker''s money and Mahoney''s editorials pressured politicians to support government funding for medical research. Lasker encouraged doctors and research scientists to ask for more money from Congress than ever before, and Congress approved it. Lasker''s "noble conspiracy" helped to create governmental support of medical research and education.

From the description of Lasker, Mary W. (Mary Woodward), 1900-1994 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10679487

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Mary Woodard Lasker (1900-1994), civic worker and philanthropist, was a businesswoman prior to her marriage in 1940 to the advertising executive and philanthropist, Albert Davis Lasker (1880-1952). With her help, Lasker re-ordered his life and priorities. Together they shared a life centering on philanthropic work. They founded the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation which gives awards in the fields of medical research and public health administration. Mary Lasker had a strong interest in the arts, civic beautification, reproductive planning, dress design, and health issues, specifically cancer and heart disease. She was actively involved with the promotion and development of national bodies dealing with cancer, heart disease, arthritis, mental health, neurological disease, and blindness. She was an able and effective Washington lobbyist and knew many statesmen, legislators, artists, and scientific pioneers. Lasker was decorated as a Chevalier Officer of the French Legion of Honor and, in 1969, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

From the guide to the Mary Lasker Papers, 1940-1993., (Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library, )

Promoter of medical research, philanthropist; interviewee married Albert D. Lasker.

From the description of Reminiscences of Mary Lasker : oral history, 1965. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 298686766

Mary Woodard Lasker (1900-1994), civic worker and philanthropist, was a businesswoman prior to her marriage in 1940 to the advertising executive and philanthropist, Albert Davis Lasker (1880-1952). With her help, Lasker re-ordered his life and priorities. Together they shared a life centering on philanthropic work. They founded the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation which gives awards in the fields of medical research and public health administration. Mary Lasker had a strong interest in the arts, civic beautification, reproductive planning, dress design, and health issues, specifically cancer and heart disease. She was actively involved with the promotion and development of national bodies dealing with cancer, heart disease, arthritis, mental health, neurological disease, and blindness. She was an able and effective Washington lobbyist and knew many statesmen, legislators, artists, and scientific pioneers. Lasker was decorated as a Chevalier Officer of the French Legion of Honor and, in 1969, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

From the description of Mary Lasker papers, 1940-1993. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 606936763

Promoter of medical research; philanthropist; interviewee married Albert D. Lasker.

From the description of Reminiscences of Mary Lasker : oral history, 1982. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 298686765

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Ark ID:
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SNAC ID:
71282192

Subjects:

  • Performing Arts
  • Roadside improvement
  • Public health
  • Molecular cloning
  • Federal aid to research
  • Urban beautification
  • Medicine--Research
  • Philanthropists--Interviews
  • Health insurance
  • Interferon
  • Birth control
  • Psychiatry--Research
  • Mental health services
  • Albert Lasker Awards
  • Landscape protection
  • Heart--Diseases--Research
  • Art--Collectors and collecting
  • Alcoholism

Occupations:

  • Women civic leaders--United States
  • Civic leaders--United States
  • Philanthropists--United States

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)