M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives


Finding Aid for the

Papers, 1961, 1964-1965, 1970-1976, 1980

For reference queries contact M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives Reference staff

Finding Aid Compiled by
Geoffrey Huth
May 8, 1989

M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives 
University Libraries / University at Albany / State University of New York 
1400 Washington Avenue / Albany, New York 12222 / (518) 437-3935

VOLUME: .75 cubic feet

ACQUISITION: All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by the [enter donor info here]

ACCESS: Access to this record group is unrestricted.

COPYRIGHT: The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.


Biographical Sketch

Scope and content note

Box and Folder List

Albert J. Abrams, Papers
Biographical Sketch

Albert Jack Abrams was born in Stamford, Connecticut, on May 29, 1915.  Abrams began his university studies at the University of Michigan in 1932, and he attended the National Institute for Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., in 1935.  He received an A.B. from New York University in 1936, and he continued his studies at Columbia University (1940) and the Cornell School of Labor and Industrial Relations (1946).[1]

He married Ruth Elsie Weinert on March 7, 1943, and they had three children:  David, Eugenie, and Valerie.  His first wife died in 1959.  On December 16, 1967, Abrams married Lorena Friedman Kessler, a widow who had one adult son, Marc.[2]

Albert J. Abrams was a lecturer at the Vassar Summer Institute and other universities, and he taught a seminar on legislative administration at the Graduate School of Public Affairs, at SUNY, Albany, in 1975.  In 1936, while still attending New York University, Abrams worked in the New York State Senate as a research assistant to Senator Thomas circa Desmond of Newburgh.[3]  He was the director of the New York State Joint Legislative Committee on Problems of Aging (1947-58), city manager of Newburgh, NY (1958-60), and director of social and economic planning for the New York State Senate (1960-62).[4]  Abrams served in the Senate as a special assistant (1960-61) and then executive assistant (1961-62) to Senate Majority Leader Walter J. Mahoney.  Abrams was elected Secretary of the Senate on January 6, 1963, and was re-elected to the post in January 1966.[5]  He continued as Secretary until 1976.

The American Society for Public Administration awarded Abrams the Governor Alfred E. Smith award for "outstanding administrative achievement in a staff position" in 1964.[6]  A member of the American Society for Public Administration, Abrams served as the president of the Capital District Chapter in 1968.[7]

Abrams wrote articles on public administration for technical journals and also explained the workings of the legislative process to the general public through articles in popular magazines.[8]Abrams also wrote articles for the Delmar Spotlight of humorous anecdotes and his take on the century.

Albert J. Abrams died in 1993.


Back to History

1. Who's Who in the East.  14th edition.  1974-1975.  p. 3.
2. Who's Who in the East, p. 3.
3. Albert J. Abrams, Papers, "Seminar on Legislative Administration--Syllabus," 1975.
4. The New York Red Book.  83rd edition.  1975.  p. 118.
5. Who's Who in the East, p. 3.
6. The New York Red Book, p. 118.
7. American Society for Public Administration--Capital District Chapter, Records, 1952-53, 1956-86.  "Annual Report of American Society for Public Administration-- Capital District Chapter," 1963-64, p. 25.
8. ASPA--CDC, Records, 1952-53, 1956-86.  "1968 Annual Report: American Society for Public Administration--Capital District Chapter," 1968.
9 Who's Who in the East, p. 3.Albert J. Abrams, Papers

Albert J. Abrams, Papers
Scope & Content Note

The records in this manuscript collection were originally arranged in a numerically classified subject file under the general subject of legislative administration.  This filing system was never completely utilized (most of the folders were empty because no documents fitting the descriptions for those folders were ever created) and there was no key that explained the numbers, so there has been no attempt to maintain that filing system.  However, most folders retain the originally assigned titles.  The folders have been rearranged in alphabetical order to simplify searching.

Since Abrams worked in legislative administration and also taught about it (through articles and through classes he taught), his ideas about the subject are well considered and of interest to someone researching the subject.  Beyond this, the papers offer a glimpse into the day-to-day running of the New York State Senate, such as handling the Senate's internal budget, space allocation, maintenance, security and personnel.  Abrams looked at legislative bills from the standpoint of what these cost to print and how to handle the physical volume of these bills, rather than that of the intended legislative effect.  These papers also contain some files on personal interrelations among legislators, which are interesting given the effect that such matters can have on the passage of bills.  The most interesting of these is "Socialization of Senators Within the Senate Chamber" (1975), which tallies up conversations between senators and names those initiating and receiving conversations.

This series contains copies of essays, staff reports, newspaper clippings, notes, memoranda, photographs and correspondence pertaining to Abrams' work as secretary of the New York State Senate.  This series includes files on aspects of administrating the functions of the senate, essays he wrote on legislative administration, and teaching material from a course he taught on legislative administration in 1975.  The papers also contain some published material, such as senate handbooks.

For further information on Abrams, a researcher should refer to the records of American Society for Public Administration--Capital District Chapter.  These records do not contain his president's records, but there is at least one printed message from him found in the chapter's 1968 annual report.

Albert J. Abrams, Papers
Box and Folder List

Box 1

1.  American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries, 1972, 1980.
2.  Broadcasting of Legislative Sessions, 1975.
3.  Budgets for Legislature, 1966-67, 1973.
4.  Campaigns of 1970, 1970.
5.  Chisholm, Shirley--Profile, circa 1975.
6.  Codes of Ethics, 1964, circa 1975.
6.  Committees--Administration, circa 1975.
8.  "The Common Good:  New York State's Legislature in Action"--Film Teaching Guide, 1964.
9.  Computer Systems--Administration, 1975.
10. Debate Strategies, circa 1975.
11. Dinner Program, 1966.
12. "Guide to Legislative Administration," 1975.
13. "Guide to State Legislators:  What Every Federal Administrator Should Know," circa 1975.
14. "Guidelines to Better Legislative Administration," circa 1975.
15. Joint Senate-Assembly Operations, circa 1975.
16. Junkets, circa 1970.
17. "Legislative Administration," 1971.
18. Legislative Administration, 1974.
19. "The Legislative Administrator," 1975.
20. Legislative Bills, 1972-73.
21. Legislative Bills, 1974.
22. Legislative Bills--Printing, 1975.
23. Legislative Bills--Volume, circa 1975.
24. "Legislative Innovation: A Selected Annotated Bibliography," 1975.
25. Legislative Organization, 1973.
26. Legislative Process, circa 1975.
27. Legislative Reform--Folder 1, 1975.
28. Legislative Reform--Folder 2, 1975.
29. Legislative Salaries and Prequisites, 1975.
30. Legislative Security, 1972.
31. Legislative Session--Length, 1970.
32. Legislature, 1974, 1976.
33. Legislature, 1975.
34. Legislature--Administrative Environment, 1964-65, 1975.

Box 2

1.  Let Us Pray--Prayers from Opening Sessions of New York Senate, 1973.
2.  Lulus, 1975.
3.  Mailing List Development and Maintenance, 1966, 1975.
4.  "Manual of Procedure for the Senate Document Rooms," 1975.
5.  National Conference of State Legislative Leaders, 1961.
6.  Openness in Government, circa 1970.
7.  Organization and Procedures Manual for New York State Senate, 1975.
8.  Orientation on Procedures, Services and Policies, 1975.
9.  Parliaments, 1972.
10. Payroll--Administration, 1975.
11. "Pennsylvania Coal and Electrical Energy Independence for the Northeast," ca. 1975.
12. Personnel--Administration, 1971-73.
13. Personnel in Senate, 1973.
14. Photographs, circa 1975.
15. Political Values, 1973.
16. Program Development, 1970.
17. Public Relations, 1961, 1972, 1974.
18. Reapportionment, circa 1975.
19. "A Report on Albany Library Resources for Programs in Legislative Development," circa 1975.
20. Rivalries Within the House, 1975.
21. "Rules and Rulings" of the New York State Senate, circa 1975.
22. "Rules of the Senate," 1974.
23. Salary Standardization, circa 1975.
24. Scandals, 1975.
25. Security in Chambers, 1973.
26. Seminar on Legislative Administration--Papers and Exam Questions, 1975.
27. Seminar on Legislative Administration--Readings, 1975.
28. Seminar on Legislative Administration--Syllabus, 1975.
29. Senate/Assembly Adversary Relationship, 1975.
30. Senate and House Apportionment by State and Seat Population, 1975.
31. "Socialization of Senators Within the Senate Chamber," 1975.
32. "The Staff of Liberty," 1970.
33. Staff Training, 1974.
34. Tensions Between Executive and Legislative Branches, 1975.
35. "Women in the Legislature," circa 1975.

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Last updated July 28, 2004