Melvin Urofsky

Urofsky headshot
Born in Liberty, New York, in the Catskills, Melvin Urofsky’s Orthodox Jewish family roots were in New York City’s Lower East Side. His father was a bookkeeper, and his mother a telephone operator. A valedictorian of his high school class, Urofsky attended Columbia University on a full scholarship, where he earned a B.A. and a Ph.D. in history in 1968. His first book, Big Steel and the Wilson Administration: A Study in Business-Government Relations, appeared in 1969.

While teaching at Ohio State University from 1964 until 1967, Urofsky began a collaboration with David W. Levy that resulted in the publication of seven volumes of Louis D. Brandeis’ letters. Urofsky then taught at SUNY Albany (1967-1974) before joining Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) as chair of its History Department in 1974. His work on Brandeis inspired Urofsky to enter law school at age 40: in 1983, he earned a J.D. from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, while teaching at VCU. He is Professor Emeritus of History at VCU and Adjunct Professor at the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington.

His books include
Supreme Decisions: Great Constitutional Cases and Their Impact, American Zionism from Herzl to the Holocaust, which won the Jewish Book Council’s Morris J. Kaplun Award in 1976, and Louis D. Brandeis: A Life which won the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law’s 2010 Brandeis Medal. Urofsky has been a Rich Fellow at Oxford University’s Center for Jewish Studies, a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of New South Wales Law School in Sydney, Australia, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at the Bellagio Center in Italy, and a visiting scholar at Ben-Gurion University in Israel.

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American Zionism eBook cover