Cover image for Julius Rosenwald : the man who built Sears, Roebuck and advanced the cause of Black education in the American South
Title:
Julius Rosenwald : the man who built Sears, Roebuck and advanced the cause of Black education in the American South
ISBN:
9780253347411
Publication Information:
Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c2006.
Physical Description:
xiv, 453 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
Contents:
Youth and first business ventures, 1862-1895 -- Early Sears years, 1895-1908 -- Blacks, politics, and philanthropy, 1908-1912 -- Black schools, political attacks, and the profit sharing plan, 1912-1916 -- World War I, 1916-1918 -- The rescue of Sears and the consolidation of philanthropic endeavors, 1919-1924 -- New philanthropic ventures, 1924-1928 -- The Julius Rosenwald Fund, Hoover, and the Depression, 1928-1930 -- Final year and postmortem, 1931-1949 -- Conclusion.
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Summary

Summary

In this richly revealing biography of a major, but little-known, American businessman and philanthropist, Peter M. Ascoli brings to life a portrait of Julius Rosenwald, the man and his work. The son of first-generation German Jewish immigrants, Julius Rosenwald, known to his friends as "JR," apprenticed for his uncles, who were major clothing manufacturers in New York City. It would be as a men's clothing salesperson that JR would make his fateful encounter with Sears, Roebuck and Company, which he eventually fashioned into the greatest mail order firm in the world. He also founded Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. And in the American South Rosenwald helped support the building of the more than 5,300 schools that bore his name. Yet the charitable fund he created during World War I went out of existence in 1948 at his expressed wish. Ascoli provides a fascinating account of Rosenwald's meteoric rise in American business, but he also portrays a man devoted to family and with a desire to help his community that led to a lifelong devotion to philanthropy. He tells about Rosenwald's important philanthropic activities, especially those connected with the Rosenwald schools and Booker T. Washington, and later through the Rosenwald Fund. Ascoli's account of Rosenwald is an inspiring story of hard work and success, and of giving back to the nation in which he prospered.


Author Notes

Peter M. Ascoli taught at Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago from 1995-2015. Prior to that, he taught at Utah State University and served as director of development for Chicago Opera Theater and Steppenwolf Theater Company. He is the grandson of Julius Rosenwald.


Reviews 2

School Library Journal Review

At first glance, a reader might well ask how one tells the tale of a self-effacing philanthropist not found in today's standard history books. The author (Spertus Inst. of Jewish Studies, Chicago), a grandson of Rosenwald, makes a valiant attempt to resurrect the image of the influential individual who founded Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, which originally bore his name. Rosenwald was a first-generation German American Jew who made a fortune developing the Sears Roebuck of catalog fame. However, he felt a greater calling in life than merely amassing money and power. This biography focuses primarily on Rosenwald's charitable endeavors and his efforts to address racial issues in America. As we associate Andrew Carnegie with libraries, we should similarly associate Rosenwald with schools in the South. He was a progressive who, among other philanthropies, helped to build 5300 schools for African American students in 15 states. This book is a great start in giving Rosenwald the attention he deserves. It would work well in libraries with large business, African American studies, and/or Jewish studies collections.--Paul Kaplan, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

At first glance, a reader might well ask how one tells the tale of a self-effacing philanthropist not found in today's standard history books. The author (Spertus Inst. of Jewish Studies, Chicago), a grandson of Rosenwald, makes a valiant attempt to resurrect the image of the influential individual who founded Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, which originally bore his name. Rosenwald was a first-generation German American Jew who made a fortune developing the Sears Roebuck of catalog fame. However, he felt a greater calling in life than merely amassing money and power. This biography focuses primarily on Rosenwald's charitable endeavors and his efforts to address racial issues in America. As we associate Andrew Carnegie with libraries, we should similarly associate Rosenwald with schools in the South. He was a progressive who, among other philanthropies, helped to build 5300 schools for African American students in 15 states. This book is a great start in giving Rosenwald the attention he deserves. It would work well in libraries with large business, African American studies, and/or Jewish studies collections.-Paul Kaplan, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

1 Youth and First Business Ventures, 1862 1895
2 Early Sears Years, 1895 1908
3 Blacks, Politics, and Philanthropy, 1908 1912
4 Black Schools, Political Attacks, and the Profit Sharing Plan, 1912 1916
5 World War I, 1916 1918
6 The Rescue of Sears and the Consolidation of Philanthropic Endeavors, 1919 1924
7 New Philanthropic Ventures, 1924 1928
8 The Julius Rosenwald Fund, Hoover, and the Depression, 1928 1930
9 Final Year and Postmortem, 1931 1949