Isacson, Leo, 1910-1996

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Leo Leous Isacson (April 20, 1910 – September 21, 1996) was an American lawyer and politician. A member of the American Labor Party, he represented New York's 24th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1948 to 1949.

Born in Manhattan, New York City, he attended the public schools there before graduating from New York University in 1931 and New York University School of Law in 1933. He was thereafter admitted to the bar and commenced practice in New York City defending labor and tenant cases. In 1936, Isacson became a member at the founding of the American Labor Party. In 1944, he was elected to represent the 13th Bronx district in the New York State Assembly as the candidate of the ALP and the Republican Party, and he served from 1945 to 1946 as a member of the 165th New York State Legislature. He lost re-election in 1946. On January 6, 1947, the ALP named Isacson their "legislative representative."

On February 17, 1948, Isacson won a stunning victory over Democratic nominee Karl Propper in the special election to fill New York's 24th congressional district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. By one measure, Isacson was the second most liberal person to serve in Congress between 1937 and 2002. He opposed the Marshall Plan and the peacetime draft, and was one of three Congressmen to oppose legislation to increase the size of the Air Force. He also pushed for immediate recognition of the State of Israel. In March 1948, he continued public speaking in New York City on topics that included Palestine, thanks to sponsorship that included the ALP and the Progressive Citizens of America. Isacson joined fellow New York ALP representative Vito Marcantonio and Democrats in voting unsuccessfully against an "unprecedented" $200,000 appropriation to the House Un-American Activities Committee. In April 1948, he became the first Congressman ever to be denied a United States passport by the State Department when he attempted to go to Paris to attend a conference as an observer for the American Council for a Democratic Greece. In the fall of 1948, he unsuccessfully ran for election to a full term against Democrat Isidore Dollinger.

Following his time in Congress, Isacson returned to practicing law. After losing a 1949 race for Bronx Borough President, he moved to Eastchester, New York and became active in the Democratic Party. Isacson served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1968. In the early 1970s, he moved to Tamarac, Florida and taught as an adjunct professor of political science at Nova Southeastern University. Isacson died of cancer at a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Guide to the Daily Worker and Daily World Photographs Collection, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
creatorOf Leo Isacson Papers, Bulk, 1945-1949, circa 1920-1990, bulk 1945-1949 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Harvard Law School Forums Records Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
referencedIn J. B. Matthews Papers, 1862-1986 and undated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
memberOf American Labor Party corporateBody
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
correspondedWith Harvard Law School Forum corporateBody
associatedWith Matthews, J. B. (Joseph Brown), 1894-1966 person
memberOf New York (State). Legislature. Assembly corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf New York University corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf New York university. School of law corporateBody
employeeOf Nova University corporateBody
memberOf United States. Congress. House person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Fort Lauderdale FL US
New York City NY US
Tamarac FL US
Eastchester NY US
Legislators--United States
State Representative
Labor activist
Professors (teacher)
Representatives, U.S. Congress--New York (State)


Birth 1910-04-20

Death 1996-09-28






Ark ID: w6tg4hg3

SNAC ID: 43133681