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Jacob Rader Marcus

Jacob Rader Marcus (1896-1995)


Jacob Rader Marcus was the first trained historian of the Jewish people born in America and the first to devote himself fully to the scholarly study of America's Jews.

Through the American Jewish Archives, which he founded in 1947, and through a parade of books—culminating in a magisterial, three-volume history entitled The Colonial American Jew: 1492–1776 (1970) and an even larger four-volume history of United States Jewry: 1776–1985 (1989-93), completed in his tenth decade of life—he defined, propagated, and profession­alized his chosen field, achieving renown as its founding father and dean.

At the time of his death, on the evening of November 14, 1995, he was also the oldest and most beloved member of the Reform rabbinate and the senior faculty mem­ber at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Cincinnati), where he had taught for some three-quarters of a century.