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Guide to the Robert Price Papers
1930s-2012 (bulk 1958-1965)
 MS 3130

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Joseph Ditta

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on March 29, 2023
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical / Historical

Robert Price was born in the Bronx, New York, on August 27, 1932, to Eastern European Jewish immigrants Solomon and Frances (Berger) Price. Robert graduated from Bronx High School of Science in 1950 and later attended New York University (A.B., 1953). After serving as corporal in the U.S. Army (1953–1955), Price married Margery Beth Weiner on December 18, 1955. They would have two children: Eileen Marcia Price (later Farbman), born 1960, and Steven Price, born 1962.

After marrying, Price worked as an assistant in the legal department of R. H. Macy & Company while attending Columbia University's School of Law. He took an LL.B. from Columbia in 1958 and passed the New York State bar that same year. He worked briefly (1958–1959) as a law clerk to Judge Archie Owen Dawson of the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, and as Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (1959–1960), before forming a law partnership with Theodore R. Kupferman in 1960.

By then Price had entered the world of political strategy. In 1958 John V. Lindsay, who sought election to Congress as the representative from New York's 17th district (on Manhattan's Upper East Side, so-called the "Silk Stocking District" for its affluence), recruited Price from the New York Young Republican Club to manage his campaign. Lindsay won the election and three subsequent reelections to the same seat in 1960, 1962, and 1964.

In 1964 Lindsay "lent" Robert Price to New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller to manage the latter's bid for the Republican nomination for president. Through Price's skill, Rockefeller, who had been running fourth in the Oregon polls, won that state's May 15 primary, eliminating Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. from the race and suddenly becoming a threat to rival Barry Goldwater in the upcoming California primary. Rockefeller wished to retain Price for the duration, but Lindsay needed him for his own reelection to Congress in November 1964, and so refused Price's services to Rockefeller.

John Lindsay decided to run for Mayor of New York City in 1965, and once again tapped Robert Price to get him elected. This he did, and Lindsay became the City's 103rd mayor on January 1, 1966. In reward Lindsay appointed Price his deputy, making him, at thirty-three, the youngest deputy mayor in New York history. Although his tenure was brief—from January to November 1966—Price negotiated an end to the 13-day transit strike that met the Lindsay administration on its first day. Price also killed Robert Moses's ill-met proposal to build an 8-lane highway, the Lower Manhattan Expressway (LOMEX) through Little Italy and Soho to connect the Holland Tunnel with the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges.

Robert Price effectively left politics in 1966, beginning work that year as Executive Vice President, then Director, of the Dreyfus Corporation, and Investment Officer for the Dreyfus Fund. Between 1969 and 1972 he was President then Chairman of the Board of Price Capital Corporation (later called Highland Capital Corporation). Next he served as Vice President and General Partner of Lazard Frères & Co., Investment Bankers, from 1972 through 1978. The following year he founded Price Communications Corporation, which, by 1985, owned and operated three television and eleven radio stations, and had purchased New York Law Journal. In 1992, with his son, Steven, Price founded PriCellular Corp., a rural cellular carrier. The company went public in 1994 and in 1998 was acquired by American Cellular Corp. for $1.4 billion.

Robert Price died in Manhattan on April 15, 2016, aged eighty-three. His son, the philanthropist Steven Price, is executive chairman of Townsquare Media, an American radio network and media company, and a minority owner of the Atlanta Hawks basketball team.

See Sam Roberts, "Robert Price, Strategist for Lindsay and Rockefeller, Dies at 83," New York Times, April 22, 2016.