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Guide to the Myron S. Falk Papers
 MS 3047

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

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Alexandra Gomer (2018) and Larry Weimer (2021)

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 12, 2021 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical/Historical Note

Myron S. Falk was born in New York City on 13 September 1878. His parents were Arnold Falk (1843-1891) and Fannie Falk (1856-1920). Falk graduated as a Civil Engineer from Columbia University in 1899, and as a Mechanical Engineer from Stevens Institute in 1900. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1904. He spent ten years at Columbia teaching in the Civil Engineering Department, where he wrote text books on the design of bridges with Professor of Civil Engineering, William A. Burr. While teaching, Falk was made head of the Testing Laboratory which resulted in his book "Cements, Mortars and Concretes." In 1904 he was appointed a member of the New York Bay Pollution Commission by Governor Benjamin B. Odell to investigate the pollution of New York Harbor. In 1905 he was appointed Consulting Engineer to the New York State Water Supply Commission, which had control and supervision of all water supplies in the state, including New York City. In 1905, he became Chief Engineer of the Godwin Construction Company. Two years later he became Chief Engineer of H.H. Oddie Inc, a New York construction firm. At the same time, he formed an association with Albert B. Hager, Civil Engineer, with whom he designed many steel building frames for architects.

In 1917 Falk was appointed Major in the Ordnance Department of the Army and was in charge of the production of raw materials for the Ammunition Division during World War I. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel before his retirement in July 1919. He became Chairman of the Board of Directors of Wonham, Bates & Goode Trading Corporation in 1920, which was a branch of M. Samuel & Co. Ltd, of London, an importing and exporting firm for whom he made trips to China, Japan, Brazil, Cuba, etc. In 1923, he traveled with the American Silk Mission to China, Japan, and Korea to discuss silk trade. He resigned his position at Wonham in 1927 to become Vice President and Chief Engineer of the American Bemberg Corporation, for which he built a large plant for the manufacture of rayon at Johnson City, Tennessee. He was also Consulting Engineer to many other projects, such as the construction of the Temple Emanu-El at 65th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City. He also served as an officer and director of the Mercury Theatre.

Falk retired from all active work in 1928 but in 1941, in the months leading to America's entry into World War II, he returned to the Ordnance Department as Consulting Engineer to the Ammunition Division. Based primarily in Washington, Falk was a special assistant to the chief of the division on matters concerning the construction and operation of about seventy powder, explosives and loading plants. In late 1942, Falk was commissioned into the Army and assigned to the St. Louis Ammunition Branch as Head Engineer, before transferring in 1943 to the New York District as Principal Engineer of Industrial Production.

Falk was also associated with various organizations, some referencing his Jewish heritage, such as the Hebrew Technical Institute, the Institute for the Deaf, the Home for Aged and Infirm Hebrews, chairman of the Lavanburg Foundation, and trustee and chairman of the Building and Laboratory Committees of Mt. Sinai Hospital. He was in Harmonie Club, Engineers Club, Columbia University Club, and the Army-Navy Club.

In 1903, Falk married Milly Judith Einstein (1883-1915) whose father was Henry L. Einstein, a wool manufacturer and owner of New York Press. The Falks had two daughters, Eleanor and Mildred, and a son, Myron Falk Jr., who was known as "Johnny." Falk purchased in 1913 Tophill Farm on King Street in Greenwich, Conn.; the property is commonly referred to in the documents as being in Port Chester, N.Y., which was the closest town center/train station. After Falk's death in 1945, the property was sold to the Thermix Corporation as their new headquarters. It was in the vicinity of what is now the Brunswick School's pre-and lower schools.

[This biography was drawn primarily from biographical notes found within the collection, and a New York Times obituary.]