Frank Brandeis Gilbert
Frank Brandeis Gilbert has been a beloved supporter of the university named in honor of his grandfather, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis, since the university’s early years.
An attorney, Gilbert is a widely respected leader in the historic preservation field. Due to his efforts, many local officials across the U.S. have been motivated to protect their city’s irreplaceable historic sites, buildings and districts.
In 1965, Gilbert helped establish the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, serving as its secretary until 1972, and then as its executive director until 1974.
During this time, Gilbert was a key player in the creation of historic districts in Greenwich Village and SoHo. He was instrumental in the successful effort to stop a developer from erecting a 55-story tower atop Grand Central Terminal. After the lengthy fight, the U.S. Supreme Court declared New York City’s landmarks preservation law constitutional and upheld the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s rejection of the tower plan.
Gilbert served as the landmarks and preservation law chief counsel at the National Trust for Historic Preservation from 1975 to 1984, with further service as the senior field representative from 1984 to 2010.
At the National Trust, Gilbert provided consulting services to more than 100 U.S. cities — including Tampa, Fla.; Louisville, Ky.; and Toledo, Ohio — focusing on making their historic preservation programs more active and effective.
He also worked with the Getty Conservation Institute to plan for Los Angeles’ first comprehensive survey of its historic buildings and districts.
A very special member of our Brandeis University family, Gilbert is retired and lives in Chevy Chase, Md., with his beloved wife, Ann.