Thomas Pendergast Vladeck home

Vladeck is a nom de guerre

I posted this on facebook, but I wanted to make sure it existed somewhere else too.

I included a few facts about my great-grandfather in a business-school admissions essay, and got something wrong. My father, reviewing it, supplies some facts:

A few facts about grandpa that are hard to find on the internet. One is that he used the name “Vladeck” in Russia as his revolutionary name to protect his family during the 1905 Revolution, which was unsuccessful. Vladeck was his nom de guerre. When he came to the US and wanted a public life, Russian and Jewish immigrants knew him as Vladeck, and so he took that name formally when he arrived in the US. I think you can say that we believe that the name is unique and that anyone with the same last name is a direct descendant of grandpa. Two, as I understand it, more than 1/2 million people lined the streets to watch, not “follow,” his funeral process. I am not sure that the turnout has ever been equaled in NY. Third, during the La Guardia administration, grandpa was actually the majority leader of the city council because the Socialists (the American Labor Party) caucused with the Democrats to give them a majority, and one concession the ALP got from the Dems was that grandpa would be the majority leader. At grandpa’s funeral, Gov. Herbert Lehman, Sen. Robert Wagner, Socialist leader Norman Thomas and of course Mayor La Guardia spoke, as did many, many others. My grandmother, who was a sourpuss, complained bitterly that the funeral service went on way too long. Fourth, the Vladeck houses were named after grandpa because he fought to create the NY Public Housing Authority; his brother Bill was actually the architect for the project. Grandpa believed that the city had to get people out of the overcroweded, disease-ridden teniments they crowded into and that public housing would be a vital public service. He died before they were built and they were named after him for his leadership on the issue. This was the first housing project built by the New York City Housing Authority. Finally, grandpa is probably better known for his role in the Jewish Daily Forward, which at the time the largest non-English language publication in the US, with a huge circulation. During his tenure the average daily circulation was over a 1/4 of a million. He was active too in Jewish affairs, forming the American Jewish Congress in the early 1930s and trying to persuade companies early on to boycott German goods.