Lasker, Mary

Lasker, Mary (b. Woodward)

(1900–94) philanthropist; born in Watertown, Wis. She worked as an art dealer and started a dress pattern line called Hollywood Patterns (1932). In 1942 she and husband Albert Lasker founded the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation using some of the money from the sale of Albert's successful advertising agency, Lord and Thomas Company. The foundation has influenced and supported medical research and public health initiatives in a number of ways, including the coveted Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards. Much honored, she is a member of the French Legion of Honor, and she holds the 1969 American Medal of Freedom and the 1989 Congressional Gold Medal. A pink tulip was named for her to honor her urban beautification efforts in New York City and Washington, D.C.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.