Courtesy of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
Born in rural Pennsylvania and raised in Wheeling, West Virginia, Jacob Rader Marcus attended the University of Cincinnati before enlisting for World War I. Upon his return, Marcus received rabbinical ordination from Hebrew Union College and accepted a faculty position there. Marcus then returned to Germany to earn a PhD, spent several months in Israel, and then returned to Cincinnati in 1926. Marcus taught the first required graduate course American Jewish history in 1942 and soon thereafter founded the American Jewish Archives, where, for 50 years, he dedicated himself to archiving, protecting, and publishing documents related to American Jewish life. Author or editor of close to 300 books and articles, Marcus was the oldest Reform rabbi in America at the time of his death.