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© 2011 New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the Harry Schwartz Papers
 MS 3011

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

© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Jennifer Gargiulo

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on August 15, 2016

Biographical Note

Harry Schwartz was born in March of 1935 in Brooklyn, New York. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University in 1956, a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania in 1960, and attended the University of Rome on a Fulbright Fellowship between 1963 and 1964.

Schwartz began his career working on urban poverty, housing and public services for municipal and private agencies, including the Boston Redevelopment Authority (1962-1963), New York City’s Department of City Planning (1965-1965) and the New York City Housing Department (1965-1967).

For the next 15 years, from 1968 to 1983, Schwartz was a partner in Abeles, Schwartz and Associates, a planning consultancy firm that worked on a broad range of planning and development projects and studies in urban settings. Clients included community development organizations in New York City, Buffalo, Yonkers, Atlantic City, Pittsburgh, and other cities; private firms; and government agencies. Among the many services the firm provided were strategic planning, market and real estate studies, economic feasibility evaluations, zoning reviews and environmental impact assessments, mediation, and assistance with financing.

In 1984, Schwartz founded the Garment Industry Development Corporation, which he describes as the nation’s first economic development corporation dedicated to a specific industry. The company provided worker training and education; business assistance aimed at helping firms obtain capital, enhance productivity and introduce new technology; and real-estate assistance to prevent factory space from being converted into residences and to help firms obtain mortgages and government assistance.

In 1988, Schwartz became an independent consultant on economic development, housing, social and health services, and neighborhood planning. In this capacity, he worked with multiple institutions within and outside New York City including the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, the United States Department of Justice, the Harlem Urban Development Corporation; multiple institutions within St. Louis, Missouri; and the CUNY Institute for Urban Systems, among others.

Throughout his career, Schwartz focused on programs to alleviate poverty and narrow economic inequities, promote economic development, build affordable housing, provide relief efforts for natural disasters, protect environmental resources and provide services for elderly residents of city neighborhoods.

In addition to his consultant activities, Schwartz taught urban planning at various institutions, including Hunter College-CUNY, Washington University in St. Louis, and Columbia University. He was also heavily involved in civic activities, especially within New York City. He served on the Board of Directors for Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center and the House for Elder Artists, and has also been involved with the Waterfront Committee for the Parks Council, the Morningside Heights Historic District Committee, and the Friends of St. John the Divine.