Alan H. Kempner

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Published: December 19, 1985
Alan H. Kempner, a stockbroker, publishing executive and philanthropist, died Tuesday at his home in Purchase, N.Y. He was 88 years old.

A collector of fine art and a lover of books, Mr. Kempner over the years donated rare books and manuscripts, as well as money, to Columbia University, from which he graduated in 1917. Last year, the university named the exhibition hall of its new rare book and manuscript library for Mr. Kempner and his wife.

After graduation, Mr. Kempner worked for the American Zinc and Chemical Company in Pittsburgh for nine years, becoming manager of its main office. In 1929, he purchased a seat on the New York Stock Exchange and became a partner of Byfield & Company.

Joined Publishing House

Mr. Kempner, who served as an Army lieutenant in World War I, joined the Army Air Corps in World World II, leaving the military as a lieutenant colonel. After the war, his interest in books prompted him to join the publishing house that is today Farrar Straus & Giroux. He served as production manager and after his retirement, as a board director.

He was married in 1920 to the former Margaret Loeb, daughter of Carl M. Loeb, a banker and philanthropist after whom the Loeb Student Center at New York University is named.

On his 70th birthday in 1967, and the 50th anniversary of his graduation from Columbia, his wife and their three sons endowed a chair in biological sciences in his honor.

In 1981, he and Mrs. Kempner were cited by Columbia for distinguished service for contributions of manuscripts, first editions and important illustrated books by Bodoni, Piranesi and Turner.

He was also a former president and chairman of the board of the Orthopedic Institute Hospital for Joint Diseases and former president of the Play Schools Association, the National Association of Practical Nurses and the Purchase Community Center. He was also a member of the Grolier Club.

He is survived by his wife; three sons, Alan Jr., of Paradise Valley, Ariz., Carl, of White Plains, and Thomas, of Manhattan; a sister, Charlotte Kempner of San Francisco; eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at noon tomorrow at Temple Emanu-el, Fifth Avenue and 65th Street.

photo of Alan Kempner