Fred Trump

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This article is about the real estate developer. For his father, see Frederick Trump.
Fred Trump
Fred Trump.png
Born Frederick Christ Trump
(1905-10-11)October 11, 1905
Queens, New York City, U.S.
Died June 25, 1999(1999-06-25) (aged 93)
New Hyde Park, New York
Cause of death Pneumonia
Resting place Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery
Queens, New York
Occupation Founder (1920) of
Elizabeth Trump & Son Co.
Net worth Increase $250–$300 million (1999)
Religion Reformed
Spouse(s) Mary Anne MacLeod Trump
(m. 1936–1999; his death)
Children 2 daughters, 3 sons
Maryanne, Frederick Jr., Elizabeth, Donald, Robert.
Parent(s) Frederick Trump and
Elizabeth Christ Trump
Relatives John G. Trump (brother)
Trump family portrait, 1915; from left to right: Fred, his father Frederick, sister Elizabeth, mother Elizabeth Christ, and brother John

Frederick Christ "Fred" Trump (October 11, 1905 – June 25, 1999) was a German American real estate developer and philanthropist, and the father of businessman and President-elect of the United States, Donald Trump, as well as United States Court of Appeals Judge Maryanne Trump Barry.

Trump's development company built and managed single-family houses in Queens, barracks and garden apartments for U.S. Navy personnel near major shipyards along the East Coast, and more than 27,000 apartments in New York City.

During his business career, Trump was investigated by a U.S. Senate committee (1954) for profiteering from public contracts, was investigated by the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division (1973) for civil rights violations — and was the subject of critique by his tenant, noted folk icon Woody Guthrie.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Born in the neighborhood of Woodhaven, Queens, New York City,[3] Trump was one of three children of German emigrants Elizabeth (née Christ) and Frederick Trump, along with his brother John and sister Elizabeth Trump Walters (1904–1961). His father Frederick Trump had immigrated to New York City in 1885 from the small German town of Kallstadt, Rhineland-Palatinate, where he returned in 1901 and married in 1902, and from where he re-emigrated (to the Bronx) that same year.[3] Frederick Trump's name was recorded as Trumpf when he migrated to the USA,[4] which was later changed to Trump. The Boston Globe placed the name change, from the ancestral Drumpf, sometime during the Thirty Years' War (1618–48).[5]

Although both of Trump's parents were born in Germany, Trump told friends and acquaintances for decades after World War II that the family was of Swedish origin. According to his nephew John Walter, "He had a lot of Jewish tenants and it wasn't a good thing to be German in those days."[3]

Trump's father died when he was 13;[3] shortly after, he started his first job as a "horse's helper", carrying lumber to construction sites after school.[6]

1927 Klan riot arrest[edit]

On Memorial Day in 1927, the Ku Klux Klan marched in the Queens borough of New York City, the purpose being that "Native-born Protestant Americans" were being "assaulted by Roman Catholic police of New York City."[7] Fred Trump was one of seven men who were arrested that day "on a charge of refusing to disperse from a parade when ordered to do so."[7] One article on the riot, written in the Long Island Daily Press, stated that all seven arrestees were wearing Klan attire, leading some to speculate that Fred may have been a member of the KKK.[8] It has also been claimed, however, that the rally was an annual Memorial Day Parade and not a Klan rally.[9][unreliable source?]

Fred's son Donald denied all allegations of the arrest when asked by the New York Times in 2015,[10] disputing the residency of his father claimed in the original report (175-24 Devonshire Road, Jamaica). In February 2016, The Washington Post reported that U.S. Census records confirm that Fred did reside at that address at the time of his arrest.[7][8]

Business career[edit]

Trump became a carpenter and took classes in reading blueprints.[6] In 1920, at age 15, Fred Trump went into the real estate development and construction business, forming Elizabeth Trump & Son with his mother Elizabeth Christ Trump, who was an active partner. She signed the checks since he was under 21.[3] With an $800 loan from his mother, he built his first house in Woodhaven in 1923 and sold it for $7,000.[6] In 1927 when Fred was 22, E. Trump & Son was formally incorporated.[11]

In the late 1920s, Trump began building single-family houses in Queens, which were sold for $3,990 each. By the mid-1930s in the middle of the Great Depression, he helped pioneer the concept of supermarkets with the Trump Market in Woodhaven, which advertised "Serve Yourself and Save!", becoming an instant hit. After only a year Trump sold it to the King Kullen supermarket chain.[6]

During World War II, Trump built barracks and garden apartments for U.S. Navy personnel near major shipyards along the East Coast, including Chester, Pennsylvania, Newport News, Virginia, and Norfolk, Virginia. After the war he expanded into middle-income housing for the families of returning veterans, building Shore Haven in Bensonhurst in 1949, and Beach Haven near Coney Island in 1950 (a total of 2,700 apartments). In 1963–1964, he built Trump Village, an apartment complex in Coney Island, for US$70 million.[6]

Trump was investigated by a U.S. Senate committee in 1954 for profiteering from public contracts, including overstating his Beach Haven building charges by US$3.7 million.[2] In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee in 1954, William F. McKenna, appointed to investigate "scandals" within the FHA, cited Fred C. Trump and his partner William Tomasello as examples of how profits were made by builders using the FHA. McKenna said the two paid $34,200 for a piece of land which they then rented to their corporation for over $60,000 per year in a 99-year lease, so that if the apartment they built on it ever defaulted, the FHA would owe $1.5 million on it. McKenna said that Trump and Tomasello then obtained loans for $3.5 million more than the apartments cost.[12] Trump testified before the Senate Banking Committee the following month as it investigated "windfall profits." He said that builders would not have built apartments under an expired post-war loan insurance program if regulations had set inflexible limits on loans issued by the FHA.[13] In September 1954, following Trump's testimony, 2,500 tenants of the Beachhaven apartments sued Trump and the FHA, claiming the builder made windfall profits and that the builder had received loans for $4 million more than the construction actually cost, and that rents were consequently inappropriately inflated.[14]

Trump went on to build and operate affordable rental housing via large apartment complexes in New York City, including more than 27,000 low-income multifamily apartments and row houses in the neighborhoods of Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay, Flatbush, and Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, and Flushing and Jamaica Estates in Queens.

With Donald Trump[edit]

In 1968, Fred Trump's son Donald, at age 22, joined Trump Management Co., becoming president in 1974 and renaming the company The Trump Organization in 1980. In the mid-1970s Fred is reported to have loaned Donald $1 million (variously reported as numerous loans exceeding $14 million),[15] an amount his son later described as a "very small loan," allowing him to go into the real estate business in Manhattan, while Fred stuck to Brooklyn and Queens.[16] "It was good for me," Donald later commented. "You know, being the son of somebody, it could have been competition to me. This way, I got Manhattan all to myself."[3]


Folk icon Woody Guthrie, who from 1950 was a tenant in one of Fred Trump's apartment complexes in Brooklyn, criticized Trump as a landlord, penning lyrics which accused him of stirring up racial hate "in the bloodpot of human hearts".[1]

In 1973, the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division filed a civil rights suit against the Trump organization charging that it refused to rent to black people. The Urban League had sent black and white testers to apply for apartments in Trump-owned complexes; the whites got the apartments, the blacks did not. According to court records, four superintendents or rental agents reported that applications sent to the central office for acceptance or rejection were coded by race. A 1979 Village Voice article quoted a rental agent who said Trump instructed him not to rent to black people and to encourage existing black tenants to leave. In 1975, a consent decree described by the head of DOJ’s housing division as "one of the most far-reaching ever negotiated," required Trump to advertise vacancies in minority papers and list vacancies with the Urban League. The Justice Department subsequently complained that continuing "racially discriminatory conduct by Trump agents has occurred with such frequency that it has created a substantial impediment to the full enjoyment of equal opportunity."[17]


With his wife, Trump supported the construction of the Trump Pavilion at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. They donated buildings to the National Kidney Foundation of New York/New Jersey, the Community Mainstreaming Associates of Great Neck, and the Cerebral Palsy Foundation of New York and New Jersey. Additionally, Trump made charitable contributions to the Hospital for Special Surgery and the Long Island Jewish Hospital.[3] During the 1980s, Trump became friends with Benjamin Netanyahu, who was then working in Manhattan, New York City for the UN, and would later become Prime Minister of Israel.[18] He was a significant supporter of Israel bonds.[19] In the 1960s, he donated the land for building the Beach Haven Jewish Center in Flatbush, NY.[20]

Trump served on the board of trustees of the The Kew-Forest School.[21]



In 1936, Trump married Scottish immigrant Mary Anne MacLeod (born May 10, 1912, Stornoway, Scotland; died August 7, 2000, New Hyde Park, New York).[22] Her birthplace is on the Scottish island of Lewis and Harris.[23] On May 2, 1930, she emigrated to the United States, leaving Glasgow on the RMS Transylvania; she arrived in New York one day after her 18th birthday. On the passenger list for aliens she made three declarations: that she was seeking to move to the United States permanently; that she was seeking employment; and, that she was not returning to the country whence she came. She stated her occupation as "Domestic", meaning either a servant or maid in domestic service, as her sister Mary Joan was.

MacLeod arrived with 50 dollars in her purse and worked as a domestic servant for at least four years. She returned to Scotland at some point in 1934 before returning to New York on the SS Cameronia, arriving on September 12, 1934. She traveled on a "re-entry permit" obtained from Washington on March 3, 1934 – such permits were only granted to immigrants intending to stay and gain U.S. citizenship. Again she was listed as a "domestic" and stated she was going to live with her sister Catherine Reid.[24][25]

The 1940 census records that in April 1935, Mary Anne was living at 175/24 Devonshire Road in New York. This address was where the Trump family resided. That 1940 census also erroneously records Mary Anne as an American citizen; her naturalization did not occur until March 10, 1942.[24][25]


The Trumps had five children:[26][27] Maryanne (born 1937), a federal appeals court judge; Frederick "Fred" Jr. (1938–81); Elizabeth (born 1942),[28] an executive assistant at Chase Manhattan Bank; Donald (born 1946), President-elect of the United States of America; and Robert (born 1948), president of his father's property management company. Fred, Jr. predeceased his father when he died of complications of alcoholism at age 42 in 1981.[29]


Trump suffered from Alzheimer's disease for six years.[3] He fell ill with pneumonia in June 1999 and was admitted to Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, where he died at age 93 a few weeks later.[30] Trump's estate was estimated by his family at $250 million to $300 million;[3] his funeral was held at the Marble Collegiate Church,[21] and he is interred at Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens. His wife died the following summer at age 88.


  1. ^ a b "Woody Guthrie Wrote of His Contempt for His Landlord, Donald Trump's Father". The New York Times. January 25, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Moyer, Justin Wm. (January 22, 2016). "The unbelievable story of why Woody Guthrie hated Donald Trump's dad". Retrieved October 25, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Rozhon, Tracie (June 26, 1999). "Fred C. Trump, Postwar Master Builder of Housing for Middle Class, Dies at 93". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  4. ^ "U.S. Immigration records. Line 133 mentions "Friedr. Trumpf", age 16, born in "Kallstadt", Germany.". 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d e Snyder, Gerald S. (July 26, 1964). "Millionaire Calls Work His Hobby". The Bridgeport Post. Bridgeport, Connecticut. p. 65. Retrieved August 12, 2016 – via  free to read
  7. ^ a b c "In 1927, Donald Trump's father was arrested after a Klan riot in Queens". Washington Post. 28 February 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "All the Evidence We Could Find About Fred Trump's Alleged Involvement with the KKK". VICE. 10 March 2016. Retrieved on 25 September 2016.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Horowitz, Jason (September 22, 2015). "In Interview, Donald Trump Denies Report of Father's Arrest in 1927". First Draft. The New York Times. 
  11. ^ "New Concerns Function with Queens Capital" (PDF). The Daily Star. April 16, 1927. 
  12. ^ By-Lined The Nevada State Journal, June 30, 1954
  13. ^ "Limit on Public Housing May Emerge From Huddle Over Conflicting Bills" The Newport Daily News, July 13, 1954
  14. ^ "Tenants in Suit for Rent Refunds" The Post Standard (Syracuse, N.Y.) September 21, 1954
  15. ^ Alexandra Berzon and Richard Rubin (September 23, 2016). "Trump's Father Helped GOP Candidate With Numerous Loans". The Wall Street Journal. 
  16. ^ Glum, Julia (September 26, 2016). "How Much Money Did Trump Get From His Dad? The Small Loan Controversy Explained". International Business Times. Retrieved September 28, 2016. 
  17. ^ Barrett, Wayne; Campbell, Jon (July 20, 2015). "How a young Donald Trump forced his way from Avenue Z to Manhattan". Village Voice. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  18. ^ Trump Is Considering a Pre-Convention Visit to Israel by Gabriel Sherman, New York Magazine, June 1, 2016
  19. ^ Swedish whopper Haaretz, 25 March 2016
  20. ^ Reports: Trump family donated to Jewish, Israeli causes Published: November 21st, 2016, The Jewish Press
  21. ^ a b "Paid Notice: Deaths TRUMP, FRED C.". The New York Times. June 29, 1999. Retrieved August 12, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Mary MacLeod Trump Philanthropist, 88". The New York Times. August 9, 2000. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  23. ^ Scottish Genealogy, Scottish Ancestry – Donald Trump Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  24. ^ a b Hannah, Martin. "The mysterious Mary Trump: The full untold story of how a young Scotswoman escaped to New York and raised a US presidential candidate", The National (Scotland) (May 21, 2016).
  25. ^ a b Hannah, Martin. "An inconvenient truth? Donald Trump's Scottish mother was a low-earning migrant", The National (Scotland) (May 21, 2016).
  26. ^ "Fredrick Trump, Jr.". geni_family_tree. 
  27. ^ Powell, Kimberly. "Ancestry of Donald Trump". Parenting. 
  28. ^ "Elizabeth Trump Weds James Grau". The New York Times. March 27, 1989. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Donald Trump Opens Up About His Brother's Death from Alcoholism: It Had a 'Profound Impact on My Life". People. October 8, 2015. 
  30. ^ Mosconi, Angela (June 26, 1999). "Fred Trump, Dad of Donald, Dies at 93". New York Post. 

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