Eliot Howland Lumbard practiced law for 40 years as an associate or partner in various New York and Pennsylvania firms. In addition to his private practice, he compiled a distinguished record in government service, including service on several commissions to investigate, combat, and control crime, and as a key advisor on crime to New York State Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller.
Lumbard was born in Fairhaven, MA on May 6, 1925. He received a B.S. from the Merchant Marine Academy in 1945, a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania in 1949 and his J.D. from Columbia University in 1952. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1953 and the U. S. Supreme Court Bar in 1959. In addition, in 2005 he received an honorary Doctorate of Science from the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
Following his admission to the Bar, he began his legal career in government service. From 1953-1956 he was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. During this time, he was assigned to a wide variety of both civil and criminal matters. From 1958-1961 he was Chief Counsel of the New York State Commission of Investigation. Governor W. Averell Harriman signed the Commission of Investigation into law on April 25, 1958 and charged the Commission with the duty and power to conduct investigations in connection with organized crime and racketeering, the conduct of public officers and public employees and any matter concerning the public peace, public safety and public justice. In his role, Lumbard organized and directed many large and complex investigations, including the investigation of the police departments in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, as well as investigating organized crime, harness racing, bingo, the New York City school construction program, and Albany real estate tax delinquencies. In 1961 Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller hired Lumbard as Special Assistant Counsel for Law Enforcement, a position he held until 1967. As a key Rockefeller advisor, Lumbard discussed many ideas and issues related to the socials problem of crime and crime control. Lumbard organized the Oyster Bay Conferences on Organized Crime (1963-1967), developed the New York State Information and Intelligence System (NYSIIS) which was the first computer-based criminal justice record system that included individual criminal histories and proposed creating a school of criminal justice, eventually established at the University at Albany in 1965.
During his career in private practice, Lumbard worked on many cases of commercial litigation on finance and bankruptcy matters. Some of his cases included: counsel to Charles Seligson and trustee in bankruptcy of Ira Haupt and Co. (1964-1973), a large Wall Street case known as the salad oil debacle in 1963; trustee in bankruptcy of Universal Money Order Co., Inc. (1977-1982) which was the nation’s largest consumer bankruptcy; and trustee in Roy Cohn proceedings who was accused of professional misconduct. In the early 1970s, he represented the Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health (CRASH), located in New York City and at the time the largest freestanding abortion clinic in the world. CRASH opened in 1970 after New York legalized abortion.
Lumbard worked in academe as a lecturer at the New York University Law School from 1963-1965 and as an Adjunct Professor of Law and Criminal Justice at John Jay College from 1975-1985. From 1967-1969, Lumbard researched and wrote an unpublished work titled “Harm to Each Other: Crime and Crime Control in America”.
In addition, Lumbard served as director or trustee of many organizations including the New York Police Foundation, Inc. (1971-1991) and the New York State Maritime Museum (1969-1980). Lumbard was a member of many professional organizations including the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the International Bar Association, the New York Bar Association and the American Bar Association.
Currently, he is retired and living in Nashua, NH.
The Eliot Lumbard Papers document the life’s work of a lawyer who devoted himself towards both public service and private practice with equal vigor and success. The collection is arranged into 12 series: Series 1: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York; Series 2: New York State Commission of Investigation; Series 3: Special Assistant Counsel for Law Enforcement to New York State Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller; Series 4: Other Public Service, Professional Associations and Organizations; Series 5:Publications- Harm to Eachother: Crime Control in America; Series 6: Other Publications; Series 7: Private Practice; Series 8: Teaching; Series 9: Correspondence; Series 10: Personal Files; Series 11: Subject Files; Series 12: Audio/Visual. Series 6 is further divided into two subseries each.
The Lumbard papers are useful to scholars, students and historians studying New York State government of the 1960s, bankruptcy cases, SUNY Albany, and criminal justice. The entire collection totaling nearly 53 cubic feet contains records from his public and private sector work which he had commercially bound. The collection includes: correspondence, memorandum, press releases, reports, court proceedings, notes, speeches, journal articles, academic papers, drafts, newspaper clippings, and background research.
All of the significant positions that Lumbard held are represented in this collection including his service as Assistant U.S. Attorney 1953-1956, Chief Counsel for the New York State Commission of Investigation, 1958-1961, and Special Assistant Counsel for Law Enforcement to New York State Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1961-1967. Also of significant interest are his records from private practice cases including: counsel to Charles Seligson and trustee in bankruptcy of Ira Haupt and Co. (1964-1973); formation of the University at Albany’s School of Criminal Justice; review panel to disbar to Roy Cohn, accused of professional misconduct; and representation of the Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health in the early 1970s.
Access to some individual legal case files in Series 7 are restricted. Consult the head of the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives for details.
Beginning in 1972 and continuing during the mid 1970's, portions of this manuscript group were donated to the University at Albany by Eliot Lumbard. Lumbard transfered additonal materials in 1999, 2005, and 2006 to the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives. Additional accessions were deposited by Martin Greenberg in 2002.
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Archival materials can be view in-person during business hours in our reading room, located on the top floor of the Science Library on the Uptown Campus.
We can also deliver digital scans for remote research for a fee.
This collection is unrestricted with the exception of select folders in Series 7, Subseries 1 and 2.
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Preferred citation for this material is as follows: Identification of specific item, series, box, folder,Eliot Howland Lumbard Papers, 1943-2006, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York.
a4bcd4efac8b5e1ef0a36da22af1c91dPrivate Practice, 1951-1999
This series concerns Lumbard’s career as an attorney where he specialized in general commercial litigation, including serving as legal representation for brokers, investment bankers and on bankruptcy matters. Some of his significant cases were: counsel to Charles Seligson, trustee in bankruptcy of Ira Haupt and Co.; trustee in bankruptcy of Universal Money Order Co., Inc; Chairman of the Board, Palisades Life Insurance Company, formerly Equity Funding Life Insurance Company of New York; special master in admiralty of Hellenic Lines, Ltd.; counsel to Cyprus Minerals Company; trustee in Roy Cohn proceedings. He also represented the New York City abortion clinic, the Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health (CRASH). Please consult the head of the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives for details about restricted individual legal case files.