Claire Shulman
Claire Shulman 2012.jpg
Shulman in 2012
17th Borough President of Queens
In office
February 11, 1986[1] – January 1, 2002
Preceded byDonald Manes
Succeeded byHelen M. Marshall
Personal details
BornFebruary 23, 1926 (1926-02-23) (age 93)
Brooklyn, New York
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Dr. Melvin Shulman
Childrenone, Dr. Ellen S. Baker
ResidenceBeechhurst, Queens, New York

Claire K. Shulman (born February 23, 1926) is an American politician. She was the borough president of Queens, New York City from 1986 until 2002; the first woman to have held this position in Queens history.


Shulman was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was a registered nurse before getting into politics. She met her future husband, Mel Shulman, a doctor, while both were working at Queens Hospital Center. She was active in Queens community affairs and was appointed to a community board in 1966. She became Queens borough president Donald Manes' director of community boards in 1972 and his deputy in 1980. She took office initially as acting Borough President on February 11, 1986 after the scandal-tarred Manes, who later committed suicide, resigned.[1] She was elected Borough President by a unanimous vote of the nine City Council members from Queens on March 12.[2] She was then elected by popular vote to the remaining three years of Manes' term later that year[3] and to four-year terms again in 1989,[4] 1993, and 1997. She was unable to run for re-election in 2001 because of term limits, and was succeeded by Helen Marshall on January 3, 2002.


Shulman currently serves as a member of the boards of directors of New York Hospital Queens and St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children.

She also assisted the Queens Zoo in obtaining its first bald eagle. The zoo's current bald eagles, Mel and Claire II, are named after Shulman and her husband.[5]

Personal life

She and her husband, Dr. Melvin Shulman, reside in Beechhurst, Queens, New York. They have one daughter, Dr. Ellen S. Baker, an astronaut [6] and a veteran of three Space Shuttle voyages, including one that docked with the Russian space station Mir. Their son, Dr. Lawrence Shulman, a renowned medical oncologist, is Chief Medical Officer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. Their adopted son, Kim Shulman, who worked as an assistant director on television series including Party of Five and films including Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, died from a cerebral brain hemorrhage on June 2, 2001.[7]

A breast cancer survivor, Shulman lost both breasts in separate mastectomies.


  1. ^ a b Oreskes, Michael (February 12, 1986). "Manes Resigns 2 Queens Posts, Citing 'Burden'". New York Times. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  2. ^ Lynn, Frank (March 13, 1986). "Shulman Elected to Succeed Manes". New York Times. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  3. ^ James, George (November 5, 1986). "The Elections: A Challenge Is Rebuffed, a Comeback Fails; Shulman Victor in Queens Race For Manes Post". New York Times. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  4. ^ Purdum, Todd S. (November 8, 1989). "The 1989 Elections: Board of Estimate — A Generation Of Ex-Critics Gains Power". New York Times. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  5. ^ New York Zoos and Aquarium website Archived 2008-10-15 at
  6. ^ "A Vision for Education": Speech by New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, The Wharton Club, August 11, 1995
  7. ^

External links

  • City Hall News (03/12/2007)
  • New York Times 1996 article
Political offices
Preceded by
Donald Manes
Borough President of Queens
Succeeded by
Helen Marshall