NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY TO RECEIVE
THE PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL PAPERS OF Elizabeth and Felix Rohatyn
Rohatyn Archive Chronicles a Lifelong Legacy of Public Service in New York and Beyond
New York, NY—June 24, 2016—The New-York Historical Society is pleased to announce that Elizabeth and Felix Rohatyn have donated their archive of professional and personal papers to New-York Historical’s Patricia D. Klingenstein Library. The Rohatyn Archive chronicles the couple’s lives in public service and their leadership in the worlds of business, politics, and culture in New York City and the nation, including Elizabeth Rohatyn’s role as chair of the New York Public Library, and Felix Rohatyn’s service as chairman of the Municipal Assistance Corporation of the City of New York, where he managed the negotiations that allowed New York City to resolve its financial crisis during the 1970s. The collection will be available for consultation by researchers and others later in 2017.
The Rohatyn Archive includes professional and personal records and files, plans for public service initiatives and events, official documents, and correspondence between prominent government officials such as Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, and Joseph Biden; noted business figures including Jack Welch (GE), Lew Wasserman (MCA) and Hollywood mogul Steven Ross; and prominent New Yorkers such as Governor Hugh Carey, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Brooke Astor. Other highlights include drafts and final manuscripts of books, essays, op-ed pieces, congressional testimony, speeches, and other writings, as well as photographs, videos, and other records and materials contributed by family, friends, and former colleagues of the Rohatyns.
“The Rohatyn Archive provides an intimate record of one couple’s lifelong dedication to public service,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “We sincerely thank Mr. and Mrs. Rohatyn for gifting their archive to New-York Historical and for recognizing the need to preserve important moments of our city’s history, in which they played a central role.”
“Elizabeth and I are both first generation New Yorkers—she from Memphis and myself an immigrant refugee from Europe,” said Mr. Rohatyn. “We have a profound love for this city that has given us so much, and are pleased that our papers will be housed in one of its great institutions. We are deeply grateful to the New-York Historical Society for archiving them and enabling others to share some of the fascinating moments in history that we were so fortunate to experience.”
The Archive includes records and materials showing Mr. Rohatyn’s historic service as chairman of New York City’s Municipal Assistance Corporation and his efforts to prevent the city’s fiscal collapse in the 1970s. The collected papers also feature records from Mr. Rohatyn’s long career as an investment banker with Lazard Frères & Co LLC and his support of many New York institutions, including his role on the Board of Governors of the New York Stock Exchange, trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and vice-chairman of Carnegie Hall.
Additionally, the Archive holds extensive materials from Mr. Rohatyn’s tenure as U.S. Ambassador to France in the 1990s and distinction as a commander of the French Legion of Honor, as well as a large volume of his personal correspondence, including letters exchanged with U.S., European, and New York financial and political leaders, among them presidents of the U.S. and France. Correspondents include Richard M. Nixon, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, François Mitterrand, and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. The Archive also contains documents and materials from Mr. Rohatyn’s youth as an Austrian Jew whose family took refuge from Hitler in Paris, then escaped the Nazi invasion of France by fleeing to America via Casablanca and Rio de Janeiro.
Mrs. Rohatyn’s varied public service projects are also featured in the Rohatyn Archive, including materials relating to her work as chair of the New York Public Library; founder and chair of Teaching Matters, Inc.; and creator and U.S. president of the French-American Museum Exchange (FRAME). Of special interest are materials relating to Mrs. Rohatyn’s role in managing and directing the residence of the U.S. Embassy in Paris.
About the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library
The New-York Historical Society’s Patricia D. Klingenstein Library is one of the oldest and most distinguished research libraries in the world, containing more than three million books, pamphlets, maps, atlases, newspapers, broadsides, music sheets, manuscripts, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings. The Klingenstein Library is one of only sixteen libraries in the United States qualified to be a member of the Independent Research Libraries Association. Among its collections are far-ranging materials relating to the founding and early history of the nation; one of the best collections of 18th-century newspapers in the United States; an outstanding collection of materials documenting slavery and Reconstruction; an exceptional collection of Civil War materials, including Ulysses S. Grant’s terms of surrender for Robert E. Lee; collections relating to trials in the United States prior to 1860; American fiction, poetry, and belles-lettres prior to 1850; a broad range of materials relating to the history of the circus; and American travel accounts from the colonial era to the present day.
The Library continues to receive important research materials relating to education, philanthropy, social service, and the history of New York and the nation, among them the records of the Children’s Aid Society, the archives of the New York Sun, and significant additions to the architectural and photographic collections. In 2013, the New-York Historical Society Library was a finalist for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, and in 2015, Time Inc. donated archive to the Library its 20th-century, which is comprised of more than 7,500 linear feet of an estimated seven million documents and artifacts documenting events as they took place around the world.
About the New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s pre-eminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research and presenting history and art exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.