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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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November 12, 1963 - Interview No. 24 - New York City


Mrs. Lasker, you wanted to introduce today a new chapter in your story, which is the relationships you've had with people in political life and, I suppose, largely in Washington.


Well, until the winter of 1939 I was singularly uninformed and disinterested in politics. I knew nothing more than what I had been taught at the University of Wisconsin in a very elementary course in American history and government, and I knew nothing whatever about the workings of practical politics.


Did you know Dr. Ogg, there, a political science professor?


No. I wasn't a sufficiently advanced student, I fear.

I spent my life after I got out of college, as you know, being an art dealer and then selling patterns and other things to chain stores, and had other jobs to make money. Until I met Albert Lasker, I really had no great curiosity about the political field.

However, I did have a friend whose name was Frank Altschul, who was a banker and a strong Republican, and he was rather generous to Republican campaigns. And one night late in the winter of '39 I heard a radio debate quite by chance between a man called Wendell Willkie and Hugo L. Black. Willkie defended the side of the utilities in the then argument or issues about public utilities so effectively and with so much spirit that I

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