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Seymour Posner Papers

Call Number



1940-1989, inclusive


Posner, Seymour
Posner, Ann (Role: Donor)


5 Linear Feet 5 record cartons and 1 manuscript box.

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.


Seymour Posner (1925-1988) was a pro-labor New York State Assemblyman, who represented the 76th District in the Bronx. He was actively involved with the Workman's Compensation Board, in addition to the Workers Defense League, Inc. Posner was an admitted Socialist who joined the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee during the late 1970s. The papers and photos featured in Posner's collection mostly relate to his service as Assemblyman and his work with the Workman's Compensation Board.

Historical/Biographical Note

Seymour Posner (1925-1988), New York State assemblyman and labor legislator, was born on May 21, 1925 to Nathan and Fannie Posner. He was raised in the Bronx, New York. In 1942, he enlisted and served in the 3rd Infantry Regiment in France and Germany during World War II, during which he lost hearing in one ear. Upon his return to New York, Posner enrolled at the City University of New York, earning a BS in social science in 1948. He began his active involvement in Democratic politics during this time, as a supporter and officer in the Young Democrats. His involvement with the labor movement also began about this time, as he chaired the organizing committee of Local 371 of the Government and Civic Workers (AFSCME) from 1949 to 1951 and was a member of the New York City Central Labor Council from 1949 to 1954. In 1958 Posner completed the MA program at New York University's School of Public Administration.

Posner became the public relations director for the Urban League of Greater New York in 1958 and served as director of public relations for marches on Washington in 1958 and 1959, and again for the 1963 march led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He also spent several days in a Maryland jail as a Freedom Rider in 1963. Posner served as the community relations director to the Manhattan Borough President for one year (1961-1962) and was Bronx director of the American Jewish Congress (ca. 1962-1964). During this period he worked in public relations and direct-mail marketing of services primarily aimed at the housing market. In 1964 Posner sought and won the 76th A.D. Assembly spot, representing the South Bronx. Despite two consecutive reapportionments of the 76th district in 1965 and 1966, Posner was able to win re-election and became a fixture in the Assembly. He communicated with his constituency via newsletters and flyers. He concentrated on labor-related issues, supporting bills that permitted collective bargaining rights for domestic workers and for workers employed by non-profit, educational and charitable institutions and that guaranteed workman's compensation for farm workers. He sponsored bills on retirement benefits, insurance, and workman's compensation.

In 1972 he began serving on the Assembly Labor Committee, rising to the position of Chairman (1974-1976). He failed in a 1973 bid for the position of Bronx City Councilman at Large, and, in 1978, retired from the Assembly to accept appointment an from Governor Carey to the State Workman's Compensation Board, though his nomination was only narrowly confirmed by the Senate. Posner had some difficulties with two chairmen of the Board, Robert Steingut and Arthur Cooperman, but he did win appointment as the Vice-Chairman of the Board in 1984. Posner took a decidedly pro-union position on the Board and served until June of 1988, when he retired. He acted as the legislative director for the New York City Central Labor Council until his death on November 2, 1988, a span of less than six months.


This collection is arranged into three series:

This collection is arranged into five series:

Missing Title

  1. New York State Assembly, 1958-1988
  2. Workman's Compensation Board, 1960-1988
  3. General Files, 1940-1989
  4. Photographs, 1949-1977
  5. Unprocessed Material

Scope and Content Note

The bulk of the collection is comprised of correspondence and clippings, along with photographs, case files, legislative drafts, press releases, flyers, newsletters, lists, transcripts of speeches and reports. The clippings, many of which are from local Bronx newspapers, provide context for legislative material and background on Posner's general activities.

The Seymour Posner Papers primarily document Posner's time as New York State Assemblyman and his involvement with the Workman's Compensation Board. Included in the collection are reminiscences concerning Posner's participation in the Civil Rights Movement and various marches; also featured is limited photographic material on Posner and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, D.C. This collection contains relatively sparse coverage of Posner's activities prior to 1964; additionally, there are not any contemporary documents.


Posner, Ann

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions. It should be noted that Series V, comprising Boxes 5 and 6, is unprocessed but open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright (or related rights to publicity and privacy) for materials in this collection, created by Seymour Posner was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Seymour Posner Papers; WAG 070; Box number; Folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Ann Posner, 1989. The accession numbers associated with this gift are 1989.002, 1989.007, 1989.010, and 2009.058.

Collection processed by

Cathy Moran in 1989

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-20 16:50:23 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: English

Processing Information Note

During initial processing, photographs and graphic materials were established as separate collections: the Seymour Posner Graphics (GRAPHICS 014) and the Seymour Posner Photographs (PHOTOS 045). In January 2013, the photograph and graphics collections were reincorporated into the Seymour Posner Papers (WAG 070).


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012