James Felt papers, 1955-1962

James Felt papers, 1955-1962 (bulk 1956-1959)
1 linear inch
This collection contains primarily typescript correspondence between James Felt and Robert Moses, dated from December 1955 to October 1962. Topics mainly concern issues of urban planning and development in New York City on which Felt and Moses held divergent viewpoints. In particular contention were slum clearance projects funded under Title I of the Housing Act of 1949. Also included are meeting minutes, internal memos, several event programs, a postcard, and a newspaper clipping.
Biographical / Historical Note
James Felt was a real estate developer and philanthropist in New York City and influential chairman of the New York City Planning Commission. Felt graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Finance and Commerce in 1924 and joined his father in the real estate business for several years. In 1932, Felt opened his own consulting firm, specializing in land use analysis, lot packaging and tenant relocation. He also served in several goverment bodies, including the City Housing Authority and the Mayor's Committee for Better Housing, before joining the Planning Commission. Felt was sworn in as chairman of the Planning Commission in January 1956 and stepped down in 1963, after which he served for another two years as a commission member. Felt is perhaps best known for his leadership in enacting the Zoning Resolution of 1961, which rewrote the city's outdated zoning laws to favor stronger regulation of development. During his tenure on the Planning Commission, he frequently opposed Robert Moses, one of the most powerful figures in redeveloping New York City. In 1967, Felt was appointed chairman of New York City's Public Development Corporation, a quasi-governmental agency founded in 1966 to develop city properties. Felt died in New York City in 1971.
This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please call (212) 854-4110 or email
Columbia University is providing access to the materials in the Library's collections solely for noncommercial educational and research purposes. The unauthorized use, including, but not limited to, publication of the materials without the prior written permission of Columbia University is strictly prohibited. All inquiries regarding permission to publish should be submitted in writing to the Director, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. In addition to permission from Columbia University, permission of the copyright owner (if not Columbia University) and/or any holder of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) may also be required for reproduction, publication, distributions, and other uses. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of any item and securing any necessary permissions rests with the persons desiring to publish the item. Columbia University makes no warranties as to the accuracy of the materials or their fitness for a particular purpose.
Cite As
James Felt papers. Located in the Dept. of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.
Language Note
Materials are in English.
Manuscript/Archive Manuscript/Archive
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