Otto Dohrenwend

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Otto E. Dohrenwend (1899–1989) was an investment banker from Scarsdale, New York, best known for his conservative political activism during the 1950s. He became aware of specific Russian and Communist activities aimed at U.S. schools and municipalities while serving as a juror in a related case, and continued to research and document the growing threats as reported by The U.S. Govt. and the media. There were many Govt. and media reports of various UN workers for Russia and other Communist regimes spying on and conducting covert intelligence work in the Westchester, NY area, and then later, nationally.

As chairman of the Scarsdale Citizens Committee, better known as the Committee of Ten, during the 1950s and 1960s, he challenged what he called Communist influence in the Scarsdale public schools.[1][2] An investigation by the Scarsdale Town Club later rejected these claims.[3] He later drew national attention when challenging the rights of supporters of the Freedom Riders to hold a fund-raising benefit in a public high school auditorium, but he was not acting in a racist or judgmental way, rather simply firmly demanding a strict separation of public school buildings from political activism by non-students; which was later upheld in the local court ruling. [4]

Dohrenwend, a Phi Beta Kappa alum of Columbia U. and a graduate of The Horace Mann School in NYC, and an Army veteran, was a senior partner in the brokerage firm of Baker, Weeks & Harden from 1936 to 1972, (later an affiliate of Dean Witter Reynolds; and predecessor firm of Melhado, Flynn & Co. brokerage house) after an impressive young career at Citicorp (then The First National Bank of the City of NY, aka "The NCB), where he was in charge of various international branches such as Havana, Cuba in the 1920s. He also served as a member of the national American Legion's Americanism Committee and on the board of trustees of Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. He was also an invited lay lecturer on political and Catholic matters at Fordham Univ. An early supporter of tennis and golf in NY, despite middling self-taught skills, he was a member of The Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Tarrytown, NY and vacationed in Lake Placid where he lead summer tennis tournaments. The O.E.D. silver cup is still given at SHCC to the most improved young player annually. He was also a member of The Century Club in midtown NYC. [5]

He was married to the former Constance Wilckes, daughter of NJ steel and pigment industrialist, Ferdinand Wilckes, President of Athenia Steel Co., and Treasurer of global producer and distributor of pitch-black and pigments, The Wilckes, Martin, Wilckes & Co. of NYC, and Camden, NJ. Miss Wilckes was from a founding Staten Island, NY family with direct lineage back to the Patroons of New Amsterdam, Staten Island, and the 17th Cent. Associates of Elizabethtown which founded Elizabeth, NJ. [6]


  1. ^ O'Connor, Carol A. "A Sort of Utopia: Scarsdale, 1891-1981," 1983
  2. ^ Questions School Board: Scarsdale Committee Asks Policy on Teaching of Americanism, The New York Times, Oct. 14, 1949, P. 29
  3. ^ Scarsdale Reports No Reds in Schools, The New York Times, April 24, 1953
  4. ^ Folsom, Merrill. Scarsdale Show Cleared in Court, The New York Times March 17, 1962, Page 27
  5. ^ Otto Dohrenwend, 90, Investment Broker, The New York Times, October 21, 1989
  6. ^ Otto Dohrenwend, 90, Investment Broker, The New York Times, October 21, 1989

not encyclopedic or sourced, sounds like a friend/relative wrote it