Abraham D. Beame took more than 60 percent of the vote yesterday to become New York City’s 104th mayor and the first Jew to hold that post. As expected the 67-year-old City Controller received his largest pluralities in the Jewish middle class districts of Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens. But he also gathered nearly 70 percent of the vote in the city’s Black and Hispanic neighborhoods such as Harlem and East Harlem, Bedford Stuyvesant and Ocean Hill.
In Manhattan, Beame lost only three districts and these went to the other Jewish candidate in the four-way race. Assemblyman Albert H. Blumenthal. Blumenthal won in the predominantly liberal areas of the West Side, East Side and Greenwich Village where there are large number of Jewish voters. Many observers throughout the campaign which consisted of two Democratic primaries saw a split in the Jewish vote with older and more middle class Jews voting for Beame and younger college-educated Jews going for Blumenthal.
Beame, who became Mayor after 23 years in public office, was born in London March 20, 1906 but came to the United States with his family as a three-month-old infant. His family name of Birnbaum was legally changed when Beame was six years old. The family lived on the lower East Side and Beame went to public schools and finally City College of New York. His father was an old-line Socialist and a founder of the Liberal Party but Beame was never a Socialist.
Beame, with his long-time friend and colleague the late Brooklyn Borough President Abe Stark, had long been active in Jewish philanthropic work in Brooklyn. He served with the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, the Zionist Organization of America, the Brooklyn Jewish Community Council, B’nai B’rith’s Hillel Foundation and Anti-Defamation League, Israel Bonds, and the American-Israel Cultural Foundation. Beame, a member of an Orthodox synagogue in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, refused to campaign on Saturdays.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.