Michael Lerner
1891 – 16 Apr, 1978

Michael Lerner achieved great wealth as a co-founder of the Lerner Stores, a national chain of clothiers. He left the retail chain in the early 1930s and devoted his life to big game hunting, fishing and marine research. The New York Times newspaper chronicled his every adventure during the 1930s and 1940s. He led hunting and fishing expeditions from Bimini to Nova Scotia to Australia and Africa. The exploits of Lerner and his wife, Helen, were celebrated and followed as closely as one would follow the New York Knicks, Yankees or football Giants. News of the Lerner's exploits frequently appeared in headlines across the paper's sports section:

RECORD SWORDFISH CATCH; Michael Lerner Back From Museum Expedition to Nova Scotia .

September 27, 1936, Sunday,

Sharks Spoil Triumph Mrs. Lerner Takes Broadbill Visitors From Inland

August 9, 1938, Tuesday

SWORDFISH ANGLER SETS NEW RECORD; Two a Day Caught by Lerner for Third Time, Expedition Reports to Museum

June 29, 1940, Saturday  

Bahamas Honors Lerner for Gift to Science; Governor Opens $100,000 Marine Laboratory

( March 31, 1948, Wednesday)

While the Lerners are much celebrated for their achievements as anglers, Michael Lerner contributed generously to the pursuit of science. He was first an associate of the American Museum of Natural History, leading expeditions on their behalf dating back to 1935.   He was elected to the museum's Board of Trustees in 1941, maintaining a life long association. After founding the Lerner Marine Laboratory in Bimini in 1947, Lerner donated it to the American Museum of Natural History. The Laboratory was credited with numerous advances in the field of marine biology and medicine before lack of funding forced it to close in 1977.

Michael Lerner's name will forever be associated with big game fishing.   He founded and funded the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) in 1939.   As noted in the IFGA's official history,   "… on June 7, 1939, the International Game Fish Association was formally launched in a meeting held at the American Museum of Natural History…"    http://www.igfa.org/history.asp