London was born in Brooklyn, New York circa 1939 and attended Columbia University, graduating in 1960. Standing 6'5", he was drafted by the Syracuse Nationals of the National Basketball League, but did not play for them because of injuries. He was a social studies secondary school teacher and obtained his doctorate at New York University in 1966. His daughter is Stacy London, host of the TV show What Not to Wear.
London is the former John M. Olin Professor of Humanities at New York University. There he was responsible for creating the Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 1972 and was its dean until 1992. This school was organized to promote the study of "Great Books" and classic texts.
President of Hudson Institute from 1997 until 2011, London is currently President Emeritus. At the Hudson Institute London was criticized by civil libertarian Nat Hentoff for firing journalist Evan Gahr, a former press critic for Eric Breindel, right after Gahr called Christian Right leader Paul Weyrich "a demented anti-Semite" for saying that "Christ was crucified by the Jews." Social critic Stanley Crouch likened London's decision to fire Gahr to a "right-wing purge." He was one of the judges for Human Events' Ten Most Harmful Books of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. After this list was compiled, London gave an interview about the list, his selections and the judges.
In 1989, Dr. London was one of the Republican candidates for Mayor of New York City, but lost the nomination to moderate Republican Rudy Giuliani. In 1990 he was the Conservative Party of New York candidate for Governor of New York garnering more votes than any third party candidate in the state's history.
In 1994 he was the Republican Party candidate for New York State Comptroller losing in a close election.
He is something of an anomaly in New York politics as a pro-life Jewish member of the Conservative Party.
1990 Governor's Race
Dr. London was the Conservative nominee for Governor of New York in 1990. The party broke from the Republican Party and declined to cross-endorse the Republican nominee, the Canada-born businessman Pierre Rinfret. Conservatives cited the little-known Rinfret as being too liberal for their tastes. London ran a strong campaign statewide and finished one percentage point behind Rinfret, who lost in a landslide to Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo. Had London polled higher than Rinfret, the Republican Party would have ceased being a major party in New York State and would have lost that status to the Conservatives. In New York, major party status is granted to the two parties who poll highest in the race for governor. One perk of major party status is the ability to have one elections commissioner in each county.
1994 Comptroller's Race
London launched a second campaign for Governor in 1994, which included a race for the Republican nomination. He was the frontrunner for the Conservative nomination and a strong contender for the Republican nod. Republican leaders who preferred State Senator George Pataki wanted Pataki to have the Conservative nomination as well, fearing that a London campaign on the Conservative line would lead to Cuomo's reelection. Republican leaders convinced London to drop out of the Governor's race in favor of accepting the party's nomination for state comptroller, facing interim Democratic Comptroller Carl McCall. Prior to London being offered the Comptroller's nomination, Assemblyman John Faso was considered the frontrunner for the nomination. McCall defeated London in the election.
The race was notable in part for the controversy created when several high profile New York politicians publicly denounced London as racist. Late in the race, a statement was issued by 50 leading members of the Democratic Party in New York, condemning London as a racist, according to a New York Times article ("Republican Comptroller Candidate Denounced as Racist," NY Times, November 1, 1994). "Herb London is a contagious racist disease that is sweeping, unfortunately, our nation," the Times quotes Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D) as declaring. "We must not be torn apart by the politics of division, the politics of hate, the politics of Herb London," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D), according to the Times. "We are all poisoned by his words. The malicious smear campaign orchestrated by Herb London -- his innuendo, his vicious implication of anti-Semitism, his race baiting -- is divisive and a lie." According to the article, London rejected these charges as unfounded and based on "lies."
1990 Conservative Ticket
- Governor: Herbert London
- Lieutenant Governor: Anthony DiPerna
- Comptroller: Edward Regan
- Attorney General: Bernard C. Smith
1994 Republican and Conservative Tickets
- Governor: George Pataki
- Lieutenant Governor: Betsy McCaughey
- Comptroller: Herbert London
- Attorney General: Dennis Vacco
- U.S. Senate: Bernadette Castro
|Party political offices|
|Conservative Nominee for Governor of New York
|Republican and Conservative Nominee for New York State Comptroller
- Official website of Herbert London, with full archive and mailing list
- London Center for Policy Research website
- Official bio on London Center for Policy Research
- Official commentary collection on London Center for Policy Research website
- "Board of Advisors". Coalition to Reduce Spending. Retrieved February 19, 2013.