Abram I. Elkus

Abram Isaac Elkus was born in New York City on August 6, 1867, the son of Isaac and Julia Elkus. [ [http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/eliphaz-ellerbee.html#ELKUS Political Graveyard] ] He was educated in the public schools of the city and in the College of the City of New York. He took his law degree at Columbia and was admitted to the bar in 1888. [http://www.courts.state.ny.us/history/bios/elkus_abram.htm Historical Society of the Courts of New York State] ]

In 1902, Elkus' firm "James, Schell & Elkus", merged with a firm headed by Joseph M. Proskauer, creating the firm of "Elkus, Gleason & Proskauer", a predecessor of the law firm of Proskauer Rose.

In 1910 Elkus was appointed Special Assistant to the United States Attorney for the prosecution of bankruptcy frauds. In 1911 he was Counsel for the New York State Factory Investigating Committee engaged in framing legislation dealing with child labor, working hours for women, fire protection, and similar safeguards for factory workers.

He also served as Chairman of the Reconstruction Commission of this State that proposed a major reorganization of state government to Governor Alfred E. Smith, and for many years he served as a member of the State Board of Regents (which oversees the New York State education system).

In 1916 he was appointed by Woodrow Wilson to be the United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople. While there he also represented the interests of Great Britain, France, Italy, Russia and Belgium which were then at war with the Ottomans. In April 1917, when the United States entered World War I against Germany and the Ottoman Empire, he was recalled, but serious illness prevented his homecoming for many months.

Although twice nominated for Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, he was never elected. Instead, on November 12, 1919, Governor Alfred E. Smith appointed him to complete the term of Judge William H. Cuddeback who died in office. Elkus served on the court until December 31, 1920 and then accepted an appointment as one of the League of Nations Commissioners to settle the Aland Islands dispute between Finland and Sweden.

On October 15, 1947 he died at his home in Red Bank, New Jersey.


:3. The Memoirs Of Abram Elkus: Lawyer, Ambassador, Statesman - Taderon Press, 2004.


* [http://www.courts.state.ny.us/history/bios/elkus_abram.htm Biography] at the Historical Society of the Courts of New York State, which served as the source for much of this article.

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