Percy & Harold D. Uris

Percy Uris (1899-1971) & Harold D. Uris (1905-1982)


The Percy and Harold D. Uris Papers, 1901-2003, primarily contains materials related to Percy and Harold Uris and their real estate businesses.

Correspondence, financial records, and estate papers document the professional and personal lives of the brothers and their wives, Joanne Diotte (Mrs. Percy) and Ruth Chinitz (Mrs. Harold). The bulk of the business records are from their proprieties at 380 Madison Avenue and 300 Park Avenue in New York City. There is limited information about other Uris properties and the Uris Building Corporation. Finally, the collection contains records from the Uris Brothers Foundation, Inc. about the family's philanthropic endeavors. Materials include office papers, holographic and typescript papers, printed papers, photographic materials, architectural reprographic prints, mixed media

This collection is restricted according to the terms of its donation. Researchers wishing to consult or publish material from it must first apply in writing to the Curator, Avery Library Department of Drawings & Archives, who will seek the appropriate permission. Confidential employee materials are restricted until January 1, 2080. The bulk of this collection is maintained in off-site storage and will be retrieved with advance notification only. For further information about obtaining permission and to make an appointment to view the collection, please call (212) 854-4110.

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Percy Uris (1899-1971) and his younger brother Harold D. Uris (1905-1982) were raised in New York City, where their father established a successful ornamental ironwork factory. Percy attended Columbia University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration in 1920. After graduation, Percy and his father developed residential properties. Upon completing his degree in civil engineering at Cornell University, Harold joined the family in real estate development. After World War II, the Uris brothers focused on commercial properties and became profitable investment builders in New York City. Percy handled the financial side of the business, including the purchase of properties, negotiation of loans, sale of parcels, assembly of plots, financing, rental pricing, and calculation of profits, while Harold was primarily involved with construction.

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Commercial properties developed in Manhattan by the Urises included: 380 Madison Avenue; 300 Park Avenue (Colgate-Palmolive Building); 488 Madison Avenue (Look Building); 575 Madison Avenue; 485 Lexington Avenue; 750 Third Avenue; 2 Broadway; 850 Third Avenue; 320 Park Avenue; 350 Park Avenue (Manufacturers Hanover Trust Building); 60 Broad Street; 1290 Avenue of the Americas (Sperry Rand Building); 1301 Avenue of the Americas; 245 Park Avenue; 111 Wall Street; 1633 Broadway; 10 East 53rd Street; and 55 Water Street. The Urises frequently employed the architectural firm of Emery Roth & Sons to design their buildings, including several of those listed above. In 1960, Percy and Harold organized Uris Buildings Corporation and it became a prominent investment builder. The brothers retained private ownership of four buildings: 380 Madison Avenue, 300 Park Avenue, 485 Lexington Avenue, and 750 Third Avenue.

Percy and Harold Uris were active alumni of their respective alma maters and generous philanthropists. They established the Uris Brothers Foundation, Inc. in 1956 to direct their donations to several charitable organizations and educational institutions. Two years after Percy's death in 1971, the family's interest in Uris Buildings Corporation was sold to National Kinney Corporation. After Harold's death in 1982, the family appears to have retained ownership of the remaining office buildings until the late 1990s.

The bulk of this collection was a gift from the Uris family through Victoria Sanger in 2003. A second gift of two boxes of materials was received in 2004. Additionally, a gift of Uris Brothers Foundation, Inc. correspondence and administrative records was made by the Uris family through Susan Halpern in 2005. The collection was processed by Bridget T. Lerette, Processing Archivist in the Department of Drawings & Archives, with funding from the E.H.A. Foundation.

A related collection, the records of Emery Roth & Sons--the Uris brothers' primary architect--is also held by the Department of Drawings & Archives at Avery Library.