Haber, William, 1899-1988Variant names
University of Michigan teacher and administrator, economist, labor mediator, and member of boards of various universities, Jewish educational, social, and welfare agencies, and public official.
From the description of William Haber papers, 1918-1988. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34422000
From the description of Reminiscences of William Haber : oral history, 1981. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 86147549
From the description of Reminiscences of William Haber : oral history, 1965. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122684269
William Haber led a varied and active life as a teacher, author, economist, university administrator, consultant, arbitrator, government official, and active member of the American Jewish community. Born in Rumania on March 6, 1899, Haber was brought to the United States as a child of ten. He grew up in Milwaukee and received his college education primarily at the University of Wisconsin, although he also attended Harvard for two years of graduate training. He earned his bachelor's degree in 1923, masters in 1926, and doctorate in 1927, all from the University of Wisconsin and all in economics.
Haber began his academic career as an instructor at the University of Wisconsin (1926-1927), then as an associate professor of economics at Michigan State College (1927-1936), and finally as a professor at the University of Michigan (1936-1988). Though he held many non-university positions since his arrival in Ann Arbor in 1936, Haber remained affiliated with the University of Michigan throughout. At Michigan he served in a series of educational administrative posts, including chairman of the economics department (1962-1963), dean of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (1963-1968) and special adviser to the university's executive officers (1968-1988).
As an expert in the field of labor-management relations, Haber was frequently sought out by both sides to arbitrate disputes, or to serve on jointly appointed boards administering and evaluating pension funds and other similar matters. His intimate knowledge of labor and management grew out of his academic work. He was most interested in questions of employment, in particular insurance both for the unemployed and for those unable to work due to age or health.
Haber's area of academic specialization also led him into governmental service, as a consultant and administrator. Among positions held by Haber were the directorship of the Michigan State Emergency Relief Administration (1934), consultant to the Social Security Board (1939-1945), chairman of the committee for long range work and relief policy of the National Resources Planning Board (1941-1944), and chairman of the Federal Advisory Council on Employment Security (1948-1988).
Despite his numerous other activities, Haber's most time consuming interest was the state of world Jewry. During World War II and immediately thereafter, Haber served with the National Refugee Service, the American Jewish Committee, and on General Lucius Clay's staff as Advisor on Jewish Affairs to the Commander-in-chief U.S. Forces in Germany and Austria (1948-1949). Between 1949 and 1964, Haber served as chairman of the National Hillel Commission B'nai B'rith. His greatest interest, however, was in the Organization for Rehabilitation through Training (ORT). Although ORT's existence predates World War II, ORT's global operations (after the war) concentrated upon assisting survivors of the Holocaust. In 1950 Haber was elected President of the American ORT Federation, and between 1955 and 1975, he served as president of the World ORT Union's Central Board.
The recipient of many awards and a prolific author, William Haber continued to teach economics courses at the university into his retirement. He died December 30, 1989.
From the guide to the William Haber Papers, 1918-1988, (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan)
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