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Helmsley, Harrylocked

(04 March 1909–04 January 1997)
  • Ann T. Keene

Extract

Helmsley, Harry (04 March 1909–04 January 1997), real estate magnate, was born Henry Brakman Helmsley, the son of Henry Helmsley, a wholesale dry goods buyer, and the former Minnie Brakmann. The family moved from Manhattan to the Bronx, New York, several years after his birth. Harry, as he was nicknamed, and his younger brother, Walter, were educated in local public schools. Harry graduated at the age of sixteen from Evander Childs High School in the Bronx but could not afford to attend college full time; instead, he went to work to help support his family. He was hired as an office boy by a city real estate firm, Dwight, Voorhis and Perry, which paid him twelve dollars a week. Harry had secured the job through the connections of his maternal grandfather, who had been a city landlord, and he quickly proved adept at the business. Soon he was assigned to rent collection from properties managed by the firm; eventually he was given properties to oversee himself. His salary rose accordingly, as did his knowledge of buildings throughout New York City. During this time he also began a continuing program of self-education, taking extension classes at Columbia and New York universities as well as the YMCA. His favorite subject was history....

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