Blumstein, Alfred
Interview Date
April 5, 1999
Respondent Criminologist, engineering physics, born 1930.
[T1S1] Respondent provides background information: father born in Minsk, mother born in Bialystok, gives names: Samuel and Shirley Blumstein, married 1929, separated 1932. Respondent mentions his trip to Bialystok; 1998, comments on trip: now industrial town; notes father in real estate at time of separation, mother worked in bakery, lived with maternal grandparents, gives names and describes various moves in Bronx, NY. Respondent notes father awkward in social situations; has little knowledge of father's family, reflects on mother's devotion to Respondent; attended PS 47 in Bronx and Bronx High School of Science; recounts father's financial problems, mother never remarried; saw very little of father: no financial support. Respondent describes managing father's slum property after father suffered stroke; comments on mother's death: 1986; reflects on unpleasant family relationships and mother's hardships, describes summer at Workman's Circle camp.
[T1S2] Respondent describes early school years: voracious reader of biography; recounts attendance at Hebrew school and preparation for Bar Mitzvah; reflects on influence of teachers in grade school; notes attendance at Bronx High School of Science: 1943-1947, comments on academic excellence; describes scholarship given to Cornell University and circumstances concerning its acceptance.
[T2S3] Respondent continues discussion on Cornell University: interested in engineering and physics, combined degree; describes new field: operations research and interview for same, work in Cornell University aeronautics laboratory, Buffalo, New York: defending naval vessels against air attacks; took classes while in Buffalo, received Masters degree, comments on return to Cornell University and PhD in Operations Research; gives title of dissertation and other publications.
[T2S4] Respondent comments on interest in Institute for Defense Analysis: Washington, DC; work in office of Naval Research defending fleets; provides information on grant received to design small task group: air defense issues. Respondent describes meeting Delores Reguera: father Spanish, mother Jewish, their courtship and marriage in Boston performed by Rabbi; honeymoon and return to Ithaca, NY; births of three daughters: Lisa, Ellen and Diane; happy times spent with children. Respondent discusses purchase of home in Bethesda, MD before Vietnam war escalated; went to Vietnam, 1962: see what Defense Department could do; adds comments; discusses position teaching operations research at Cornell University, 1963.
[T3S5] Respondent details career change, work done in president's Crime Commission on Science and Technology: director of task force in Science and Technology for Defense Department; notes science just starting in Crime Operations Research: 1965-1967; explains many people arrested, gives reasons. Respondent describes skills used and needed for work in Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) reflects on start of Industrial Engineering at Carnegie Technical School (Carnegie Mellon University) (CMU) and School of Urban and Public Affairs with grants from Richard K. Mellon; describes interview with Dean of CMU to build new school and Respondent's interest in leaving Washington, DC; reflects on full time tenured Professorship at CMU and friendship with Richard K. Mellon. Respondent comments on various societal problems: racial tension and integration; notes turmoil of the 1960s created political civil violence by Blacks; reflects on first impressions of Pittsburgh: "smoky city away from civilization"; planned to stay a short time; found many positive things in Pittsburgh and remained. Respondent discusses purchase of first house in Edgewood; notes school hostile on various religious matters; Respondent's children only Jews in school; explains move to Squirrel Hill; provides information on School of Urban and Public Administration (SUPA): admitted first students, 1970; describes project for handicapped: brokered para-transit system, chose leader and project became Access transportation system, not favorably received in beginning stage.
[T3S6 blank]
[T4S7] Respondent notes Access type programs throughout United States; describes simulation of flow through Justice system, Justice Simulation: controls crime three ways: deterrence, sending threat messages, incapacitation: removing offender from street. Respondent describes rehabilitation: behavior change through treatment. Respondent explains incarceration not effective on drug problems; discusses number of young people carrying guns; increase in homicides, all attributable to youth and drugs. Respondent mentions position as Dean of H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management of Carnegie Mellon University: 1986-1993; reflects on chairmanship of Pennsylvania Commission on Crime. Respondent describes research on Policy Implications of Prison Systems; notes decrease in crime and increase in prison population.
[T4S8] Respondent expounds on hand guns among young people and their behavior: children unpredictable, parents must exercise responsibility; comments on increase of membership in American Society of Criminology: president, 1991-1992; recipient of Society's Sutherland Award: contributions to research.
Carnegie-Mellon University; Cornell University; Criminal justice, Administration of System; Engineering; H. John Heinz III School Of Public Policy And Management (CMU); Institute For Defense Analysis (Ida); Mellon, Richard K. (Richard King), 1899-1970; Operations Research; President's Crime Commission On Science And Technology; School Of Urban And Public Administration (SUPA-CMU); Science; Physics
Birth Date
New York, NY; Pittsburgh, PA
Carnegie Mellon University
Occupation (father)
Real estate
Length (hours)
Rubinstein, Judy
Braun, Howard
Berger, Betty
Collateral Materials
Box 100 FF 33
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