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Max J. Rubin Files, 1961-1964, Series 379 


The Max J. Rubin Files, 1961-1964, document portions of the work of a member and president of the Board of Education. They comprise Series 379 of the Board of Education Record Group and are part of the subgroup of records of members of the Board. They have been assigned accession number 04-087.

The records were placed in the custody of Teachers College Library by the Board of Education in 1981. They were transferred to the Municipal Archives in 2003.

The series consists of 12.25 feet of records. They were organized and inventoried by the Municipal Archives in 2005, with support from the New York State Archives under its Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund.

Biographical Note

Max J. Rubin served as a member of the Board of Education and as its president from September 1961 to December 1963. His appointment by Mayor Robert Wagner was part of an overhaul of the Board membership mandated by the Legislature.

Rubin, a native New Yorker, born in 1906, attended public schools in the city, studied for one year at City College, and transferred to New York University Law School from which he received a law degree in 1927, Rubin engaged in private law practice in the firm of Rubin, Baum, and Levin. His educational work included service in 1951 as president of the Great Neck Board of Education. In 1955 he participated in the White House Conference on Education and chaired its subcommittee on school-community relations. In 1959 he was appointed to the State Education Commissioner’s Committee on Inquiry and also served as president of the State Citizens Committee for Public Schools.

As president of the New York City Board of Education, Rubin emphasized the importance of adequate funding and petitioned the State for increased support for school construction. In November 1963 he announced his intention to resign from the Board for health reasons, at the insistence of his physician. In an eleven-page letter to Mayor Wagner he summarized the main issues faced during his term on the Board as collective bargaining, local school boards, adequate financial support, integration, personnel, and “fundamental concept of a lay Board of Education.”

His health regained, Rubin served as a member of the New York State Board of Regents from 1965 to 1973. He died on May 22, 1996 at age 90.

Scope and Content

The Max J. Rubin Files are organized into four subseries, reflecting the original organization of the records. The first subseries, and by far the largest, consists of subject files integrated with correspondence files. They give a sense of the organizations and individuals with which Rubin interacted in regard to policy and administrative matters. Among the significant topics included are school finance, civil rights, and collective bargaining.

The second subseries, files on individual schools is notable for its coverage of schools in all boroughs, although as board president Rubin’s involvement with individual schools was necessarily limited.

Press releases and public statements constitute the third subseries. It is apparent that the teachers strike of 1963, and the accompanying widespread concern about the schools, compelled Rubin to increase his public exposure.

The fourth subseries preserves documentation of the selection process for superintendent of schools in 1962. Rubin maintained this file separate from others in part because of the confidentiality of much of the material. While much of the need for confidentiality has dissipated over time, access to some documents may require restriction to protect individual privacy rights.

Series Descriptions

Subseries 1: Subject Files (1961-1964). 9.5 cubic ft.

The subject files subseries combines topical subject files with correspondence files, in accordance with Rubin’s filing system. Included are correspondence, memoranda, pamphlets, publications, legal papers, and statistical reports. The subseries is divided into two chronological units, for 1961-1962 (folders 1-253) and 1963-1964 (folders 254-538), each of which is arranged alphabetically. The first file for each letter of the alphabet is a file of general correspondence, with its contents arranged alphabetically. The subject files focus on administrative and policy matters, such as budgets, state aid, personnel, civil rights, legal cases, collective bargaining, decentralization, integration, and community boards. The records also provide information on school personnel, including board members and administrative staff.

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Subseries II: School Files (1961-1963). 2.25 cubic ft.

The subseries contains correspondence, memoranda, reports, and student publications. It is arranged by borough, then within boroughs by schools. For each borough, high schools are arranged alphabetically, followed by junior high schools arranged numerically, followed by elementary schools arranged numerically.

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Subseries III: Press Releases and Public Statements (1961-1963). .25 cubic ft.

The subseries includes press releases, transcripts of Rubin’s media presentations, and resource documents used in preparation of public statements. Press releases and other public presentations are arranged chronologically, followed by the resource documents. Related materials are included in subseries I, including a file of press releases and files of correspondence with broadcasting companies. Notable in the subseries are Rubin’s public statements at the time of a teachers’ strike in 1963.

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Subseries IV: Superintendent of Schools Search Files (1962). .25 cubic ft.

The subseries documents the selection process for a new Superintendent of Schools in 1962, which resulted in the selection of Calvin Gross. It contains correspondence, memoranda, reports of the selection committee, candidates’ resumes, and photographs. The selection process included employment of a professional search firm (Boyden Associates) and appointment of a committee of consultants (including such notables as Francis Keppel and Eleanor Roosevelt) to assist the Board. The arrangement tracks the stages of the selection process: after a file of general correspondence it includes materials relating to Boyden Associaties, then files on the committee on consultants, and finally files on the three candidates recommended by the consultants. .Selection of the chief administrator was one of the top priorities for Rubin as president of the Board of Education. Use of this subseries may be subject to restrictions to protect privacy of individuals.

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