Jacob Rader Marcus (March 3, 1896-November 14, 1995) was known as the ‘‘dean of American Jewish historians.’’ Born near Connellsville, Pennsylvania, Marcus came with his family to Wheeling as a young boy, where his father, merchant Aaron Marcus, was a founder and first president of the Orthodox congregation, Ohev Shalom. In 1915, the family relocated to Farmington, Marion County.
Marcus attained his rabbinical ordination in 1920 from the seminary for Reform Judaism, Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Berlin in 1925, he devoted the next 70 years to advancing the field of American Jewish history from his post on the Hebrew Union College faculty. He taught the first university course in American Jewish history and published numerous books, including the four-volume United States Jewry, 1776–1984. In 1947, recognizing the need to preserve congregational records and documents of American Jewish communal life, he established the American Jewish Archives, one of the world’s largest repositories for materials on the Jewish American experience. As author, editor, archives director, and teacher of generations of rabbis and historians, Marcus had a profound influence on American Jewish studies. He continued to perform these duties almost until his death at the age of 99.
This Article was written by Deborah R. Weiner
Last Revised on October 08, 2010