Benjamin F. Feinberg

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Benjamin Franklin Feinberg (October 23, 1888 – February 6, 1959) was an American lawyer and politician from New York. He was Temporary President of the New York State Senate from 1944 to 1949.


He was born on October 23, 1888, in Malone, Franklin County, New York. Later he lived in Plattsburgh.

He was a member of the New York State Senate from 1933 to 1949, sitting in the 156th, 157th, 158th, 159th, 160th, 161st, 162nd, 163rd, 164th, 165th, 166th and 167th New York State Legislatures; and was Temporary President from 1944 to 1949.

He was a delegate to the New York State Constitutional Convention of 1938. He was an alternate delegate to the 1940 Republican National Convention, and a delegate to the 1944 and 1948 Republican National Conventions.

In 1949, he sponsored the Feinberg Bill, an act to purge Communist and fellow traveler teachers from the State public-school system. The bill required the Regents of the State School Board to draw up a list of all subversive organizations. Membership in such organizations was sufficient grounds for summary removal. The regents were also empowered to dismiss school employees for the "utterance of any treasonable or seditious word...or the doing of any treasonable or seditious act..." regardless of their affiliations.

On March 30, 1949, he was appointed Chairman of the New York State Public Service Commission, and remained in office until 1958.

He died on February 6, 1959, in Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, of kidney disease.

He was instrumental in the founding of the State University of New York, and the Library at SUNY Plattsburgh is named after him.


  • [1] Political Graveyard
  • [2] The Feinberg Bill in TIME Magazine on April 11, 1949
New York State Senate
Preceded by
Henry E. H. Brereton
New York State Senate
33rd District

Succeeded by
Frederic H. Bontecou
Preceded by
G. Frank Wallace
New York State Senate
38th District

Succeeded by
Henry Neddo
Political offices
Preceded by
Joe R. Hanley
Temporary President of the New York State Senate
Succeeded by
Arthur H. Wicks