In 1916 Frank replaced his father as the leading partner of Lazard's New York house, remaining in that position until 1943. During his tenure at Lazard, Frank served on the governing committee of the New York Stock Exchange and as a director of the Chase National Bank. He founded General American Investors(NYSE: GAM), which today is one of the nation's oldest surviving closed-end funds and a publicly traded company. Frank served as its president, portfolio manager, and then its first Chairman until 1961, when he was succeeded by his son, Arthur Goodhart Altschul, a general partner at Goldman Sachs and Company. His grandson, Arthur Goodhart Altschul, Jr., continues the legacy as a member of General American's board of directors.
Preferring to remain inconspicuous, Frank Altschul was nonetheless a leader on multiple fronts. He is one of few American's ever to receive the French Legion of Honor (awarded in recognition of his aiding the French government in early 1924, by devising a scheme to stabilize the French franc, arresting and reversing what seemed like its inevitable downward fall). Frank was a founding member of the Council on Foreign Relations where he served both as its vice president from 1952 to 1971 and also as its secretary from 1944 to 1972. He also served as Director of Radio Free Europe from 1949 through 1951. Over the course of his life, he frequently advised presidents and cabinet officials and wrote numerous editorials and essays on international affairs and domestic politics. A collection of his papers are preserved at Columbia University.
In 1948, Frank and Helen Altschul established the Overbrook Foundation. With a keen interest in education, they were strong financial supporters of various schools of higher learning, particularly Yale University, Columbia University and Barnard College. Frank was a co-founder and the first chairman of the Yale Library Associates, responsible for building Beinecke Library, and was also president of the Yale University Council. Helen was a long-time member of the board of directors of Barnard College, a position her son Arthur, Sr., also held for many years. Today, the Overbrook Foundation continues to be a family-led philanthropy with third and fourth generation descendants serving on its board of directors.
Frank Altschul had a lifelong interest in printing and in 1934 founded the Overbrook Press. He converted several of the outbuildings on Overbrook Farm, his Stamford home to accommodate his printing presses and from there, he printed volumes of books and pamphlets. The Overbrook Press was known for its fine illustrations and produced some of the highest quality private press books of the time. A collection of Frank's rare books is currently housed at Yale University's Beinecke Library. As a tribute to Frank Altschul, the Overbrook Press stamp now serves as the logo of the Overbrook Foundation.
"One of the most successful financiers of his time, Frank Altschul was in many ways a Renaissance man. He possessed a keen interest in international relations, rare-book collecting and politics." - New York Times, May 30, 1981.