Marshall, Louis, 1856-1929

Alternative names

Hide Profile

American Jewish communal leader, lawyer.

From the description of Papers, [ca. 1900-1929]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122516821

Lawyer, civic and communal leader, civil rights advocate, labor union meditator, and philanthropist, of New York, N.Y.

From the description of Papers, 1891-1930. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70925069

Prominent Jewish-American lawyer and philanthropist.

From the description of Correspondence, 1916-1929 [microform]. (Brandeis University Library). WorldCat record id: 47961432

From the description of Collection, 1893-1931 [microform]. (Brandeis University Library). WorldCat record id: 43794853

Louis Marshall (1856-1929) was one of the most eminent attorneys of his generation in New York State and in the United States. He was an authority on state constitutional issues and an activist in helping to uphold the "forever wild" clause of the state constitution. Marshall spearheaded conservation efforts to protect New York's Adirondack Mountains and Catskills Mountains. At the 1894 New York State Constitutional Convention, he helped establish the New York State Forest Preserve. Marshall served as president of the board of trustees for the New York State College of Forestry (now the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry) for its first eighteen years. He was a leader in its founding, and the second building on its campus, the Louis Marshall Memorial Hall, was dedicated in his honor in 1933.

He often worked with and through the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks of which he was a trustee. Louis Marshall was also a fighter against racial, religious and ethnic discrimination of every kind and was a wise, forthright, and fearless leader of the Jews of the world.

From the description of Louis Marshall papers, 1916-1929. (New York State Historical Documents). WorldCat record id: 155426322

Louis Marshall (1856 - 1929)

Louis Marshall, corporate and constitutional lawyer and Jewish communal leader, was born in 1856 in Syracuse, New York. Both his mother, Zilli Strauss, and his father, Jacob Marshall, had immigrated to the United States from Germany. At the time of his immigration, Jacob was barely literate. Zilli was self-educated. 1 Through the experiences of his parents, Marshall came to understand and identify with the hardships faced by immigrants and by those who remained in autocratic countries.

Marshall graduated from Columbia Law School in 1877 and joined the law firm of William C. Ruger in Syracuse, New York. Between 1878 and 1894, Marshall argued over 150 cases before the Court of Appeals and rose to prominence in the Jewish community in Syracuse. He moved to New York City in 1894 when he joined the law firm of Guggenheimer and Untermyer. In New York, Marshall was intensely involved in Jewish communal affairs. By 1903, Marshall was Secretary at Temple Emanu-El, the most important Reform congregation in the United States, and in 1916, he became its president. 2 Marshall also served as chair of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He saw no contradiction between his roles at Temple Emanu-El and the Jewish Theological Seminary, Conservative Judaism’s rabbinical school, because "to him there was one Judaism." 3

The American Jewish Committee was established in 1906 by a group of established German-Jewish leaders including Marshall 4 in order to "watch closely over legislative and diplomatic matters of interest to American-Jews and to convey to the President, State Department, and Congress, requests, information, and if need be, political threats." 5 Marshall, who would eventually become "the AJC’s major strategist and most active lobbyist," 6 became its president in 1912, a post he held until his death. In the early years of the twentieth century, pogroms and debilitating laws, especially the limiting of Jews to residence in the "Pale of Settlement," were impoverishing and endangering the Russo-Polish Jewish communities. These adverse conditions caused almost 2,500,000 Jews to immigrate to the United States between 1881 – 1925. 7 At the same time, American society was changing rapidly, becoming increasingly urbanized, industrialized and, due to massive immigration, more ethnically and religiously diverse. Reacting to the influx of immigrants, a movement was organized that called for the government to impose a restrictive immigration policy. Although the restrictionist movement was generally xenophobic and not specifically anti-Semitic, 8 its ideology threatened to substantially reduce the number of Jewish immigrants coming to America. Marshall and the AJC recognized this threat. Between 1912, when Marshall assumed the presidency of the AJC, and 1917, two presidents vetoed restrictive immigration legislation that had been passed by Congress. One of the main objections Marshall had to these bills was their literacy test provisions, which he recognized would prevent many illiterate Jews from entering the country. In 1917, although President Woodrow Wilson had vetoed the restrictive immigration bill presented to him, Congress overrode the veto and the bill became law. After 1917, Marshall continued to fight against laws that he and his associates judged to be hostile to immigration, but the restrictionists prevailed. In 1924, Congress imposed a quota system that so drastically reduced immigration, America was effectively cut off as an avenue of escape for most people who sought to immigrate.

In 1911, Marshall led the movement for the abrogation of the 1832 commercial treaty between the United States and Russia. The contested point "involved Russia’s refusal to allow native-born or naturalized American Jews to travel freely in Russia, despite the fact that they possessed American passports." 9 "Marshall…idealistically believed that abrogation would force Russia to end the Pale, to liberate Russian Jewry, and ultimately, to relieve the pressure for immigration." 10 Although the suffering of the Russian Jews did not end, the abrogation of the treaty is among Marshall’s most important achievements. 11

In 1914-15, Marshall lent his skills to the Leo Frank case. Leo Frank, who had been educated in New York State, was the Jewish manager of a pencil factory in Atlanta, Georgia. Amidst anti-Semitic hysteria, Frank had been accused and convicted, in 1914, of raping and murdering a 14-year old girl. Marshall offered legal counsel during Frank’s appeals, raised money, initiated an appeal to the Federal Supreme Court and discreetly solicited the help of influential Southerners.

In 1919, after World War One, Marshall attended the Paris Peace Conference where he helped formulate minority rights clauses for the constitutions of the newly created states of eastern Europe. 12 During his later years, Marshall attempted to stop the newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, which was owned by Henry Ford, from spreading anti-Semitic propaganda, epitomized by its popularization of the ideas found in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Marshall was also a champion of conservation, helping to found the New York State College of Forestry.

Although he did not always agree with the political Zionists, when the Balfour Declaration of 1917 was issued, Marshall worked for the establishment of a national Jewish home in Palestine. In 1929, shortly before his death, Marshall was instrumental in organizing the Jewish Agency which brought together Zionists and non-Zionists throughout the world "for the management of Jewish colonization efforts under the terms of the British mandate." 13

Additional source:

Cecil Roth and Geoffrey Wigoder, editors-in-chief, The Encyclopedia Judaica . (Jerusalem: The MacMillian Company, 1972), s.v. "Louis Marshall" by Morton Rosenstock.

Footnotes 1.Morton Rosenstock, Louis Marshall: Defender of Jewish Rights (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1965): 24. 2. Rosenstock, 31. 3. Rosenstock, 32. 4. Judith S. Goldstein, The Politics of Ethnic Pressure: The American Jewish Committee Fight Against Immigration Restriction, 1906-1917 (New York: Garland Publishing, 1990): 53. 5. Goldstein, 13-14. 6. Goldstein, 54. 7. Rosenstock, 12. 8. Rosenstock, 80-81. 9. Goldstein, 133 10. Goldstein, 135 11. Louis Marshall. Dictionary of American Biography Base Set; American Council of Learned Societies, 1928-1936. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center, Farmington Hills, Mich.: The Gale Group. 2003. http://www.galenet.com/servlet/BioRC 12. Rosenstock, 53 13. Rosenstock, 45
  • 1856: Born on December 14 in Syracuse, New York
  • 1877: Graduates from Columbia Law School and joins prominent Syracuse, New York law firm headed by William C. Ruger
  • 1894: Partner in the New York City law firm of Guggenheimer, Untermeyer and Marshall
  • 1895: Marries Florence Lowenstein
  • 1902: Appointed chairman of a commission investigating slum conditions on New York City’s Lower East Side
  • 1909: Appointed chairman of the Commission of Immigration of New York State
  • 1910: Acts as mediator in cloak-makers’ strike in New York City
  • 1911: Successfully leads campaign to abrogate the U.S.-Russian Commercial Treaty of 1832
  • 1912: Assumes presidency of the American Jewish Committee
  • 1913: Smith-Burnett immigration bill vetoed by President William Howard Taft
  • 1914: Joins legal staff on Leo Frank case and initiates appeal of case to Federal Supreme Court
  • 1915: Immigration Bill vetoed by President Woodrow Wilson
  • 1916: Florence Lowenstein dies
  • 1917: Immigration Act of 1917 vetoed by President Wilson. Congress overrides veto. Literacy Test, albeit with Marshall’s exemption clause, becomes law
  • 1919: Delegate to the Paris Peace Conference; arbitrator in clothing-workers’ strike
  • 1920s: Attempts to block Dearborn Independent’s publication of anti-Semitic propaganda.
  • 1921: Emergency Immigration Quota Act becomes law
  • 1922: Helps reverse Harvard University’s announced intention to impose a quota on Jews
  • 1924: Immigration Quota Law of 1924 becomes law.
  • 1929: Dies in Zurich, Switzerland on September the age of 72

Sources for Chronology

Isaac Landman, ed. The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia . (New York: Universal Jewish Encyclopedia Inc., 1942), s.v, "Louis Marshall" by Nathan Caro Belth.

Cecil Roth and Geoffrey Wigoder, editors-in-chief, The Encyclopedia Judaica . (Jerusalem: The MacMillian Company, 1972), s.v., "Louis Marshall" by Morton Rosenstock.

From the guide to the Louis Marshall Papers, undated, 1905-1933, (American Jewish Historical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Ochs, Adolph S. (Adolph Simon), 1858-1935. Papers, 1892-1939. American Jewish Archives
referencedIn Ellen Brett Aibel Bierman Family Collection, undated, circa 1865-2002 (bulk 1900-1943) American Jewish Historical Society
creatorOf Marshall, Louis, 1856-1929. Correspondence, 1916-1929 [microform]. Brandeis University Library
referencedIn American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Administration collection, 1914-1950. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. President's Office. ILGWU. Benjamin Schlesinger papers, 1914-1923. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Bernard G. Richards papers, undated, 1820, 1868, 1895-1996, 1999 American Jewish Historical Society
referencedIn Henry Morgenthau Papers, 1795-1941, (bulk 1870-1941) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Baron de Hirsch Fund Records, undated, 1819-1991 (bulk 1882-1935) American Jewish Historical Society
creatorOf Marshall, Louis, 1856-1929. Papers, 1891-1930. American Jewish Archives
referencedIn Admiral Lewis Lichtenstein Strauss Papers, 1908-1973 American Jewish Historical Society
referencedIn Davidson, Israel, 1870-1939. Papers, 1887-1942. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Morris S. Lazaron papers, 1851-1979 (bulk 1930-1950) The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
referencedIn Marshall, Lenore, 1897-1971. Papers, 1887-1980. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Adler, Cyrus, 1863-1940. Papers, 1879-[ca. 1977], 1885-1940 (bulk). Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Marshall, Louis, 1856-1929. Collection, 1893-1931 [microform]. Brandeis University Library
referencedIn Burlingham, Charles Culp. Charles Culp Burlingham papers, 1876-1960. Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Morgenthau, Henry, 1856-1946. Papers of Henry Morgenthau, 1795-1941 (bulk 1870-1941). Library of Congress
referencedIn Warburg, Felix M. (Felix Moritz), 1871-1937. Papers, 1895-1937. American Jewish Archives
referencedIn Magnes, Beatrice L. Beatrice L. Magnes family papers and photographs, 1861-1977. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Herbert B. (Herbert Brutus) Ehrmann papers, 1906-1970 Harvard Law School Library, HLS Library
referencedIn Julius Bisno Collection, undated, 1780, 1801-1980 American Jewish Historical Society
referencedIn Fischel, Harry, 1865-1948. Papers, 1900-1940. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn John Jay Chapman additional papers, 1841-1940. Houghton Library
referencedIn New York (State). Commission of Immigration. Typescript of report to the governor, 1909. New York State Archives
referencedIn Oko, Adolph S. (Adolph Sigmund), 1883-1944. Adolph Oko-Gebhardt correspondence, [ca. 1905]-1941. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Central Conference of American Rabbis. Central Conference of American Rabbis records, 1893-1961. American Jewish Archives
referencedIn Max James Kohler Papers, 1765-1963 (bulk 1888-1935) American Jewish Historical Society
creatorOf Marshall, Louis, 1856-1929. Louis Marshall papers [electronic resource], 1905-1933 1907-1928. Université d’Ottawa, University of Ottawa
referencedIn Waldman, Morris D. (Morris David), b. 1879. Papers, 1912-1963. American Jewish Archives
referencedIn American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Russian Relief Collection, 1913-1946, 1915-1928. Yeshiva University
referencedIn Central Committee for the Relief of Jews Suffering Through the War. Central Relief Committee records, 1914-1958, 1914-1950 (bulk). Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Cardozo, Benjamin N. (Benjamin Nathan), 1870-1938. Benjamin Cardozo letters, 1933-1938. American Jewish Archives
referencedIn Hand, Learned. Learned Hand papers. 1840-1961. Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Harry Weinberger papers, 1915-1944 Yale University Library
referencedIn Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Endowment Fund. Legal documents, 1901 ; 1902. Ocean County College Library, OCC Library
referencedIn Cyrus Adler Papers, undated, 1883-1937 American Jewish Historical Society
referencedIn National Association of Jewish Social Workers records, undated, 1908, 1911-1917 American Jewish Historical Society
referencedIn International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Benjamin Schlesinger, President. Records, 1914-1923. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
referencedIn Records of the Industrial Removal Office, undated, 1899-1922 American Jewish Historical Society
referencedIn Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Records, 1873-1985. American Jewish Archives
referencedIn Morais, Henry S. (Henry Samuel), 1860-1935. Papers, 1877-1924. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Hyman G. Enelow Papers., 1897-1933. The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
creatorOf Marshall, Louis, 1856-1929. Louis Marshall papers, 1916-1929. New York State Historical Documents
creatorOf Marshall, Louis, 1856-1929. Papers, [ca. 1900-1929]. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Manley Ottmer Hudson papers, 1894-1960 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Baron, Joseph, 1894-1960. Papers, 1910-1960. Wisconsin Historical Society
referencedIn Gotthard Deutsch Papers, 1859-1922, 1900-1920 The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
referencedIn Jewish Theological Seminary of America. General Files. Records, 1902-1972. 1940-1972 (bulk). Ocean County College Library, OCC Library
creatorOf Jaffe, Louis I. (Louis Isaac), 1888-1950. Editorial correspondence files, O-R, of the Virginian-Pilot [manuscript], (1914) 1920-1949. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Browne, Edward B. M. Papers, 1865-1929. American Jewish Archives
referencedIn Congregation Shearith Israel (New York, N.Y.). Clerk's Office. Records, [ca. 1700-1985]. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Louis Marshall Papers, undated, 1905-1933 American Jewish Historical Society
referencedIn Morais, Henry S. (Henry Samuel), 1860-1935. Papers, 1874-1924. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Oswald Garrison Villard papers, 1872-1949 Houghton Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Aaronsohn, Michael, b. 1896 person
associatedWith Adam Matthew Digital (Firm) corporateBody
associatedWith Adam Matthew Education (Firm) corporateBody
associatedWith Adler, Cyrus, 1863-1940. person
correspondedWith Adler, Felix, 1851-1933 person
correspondedWith Adler, Max, 1873-1937 person
associatedWith Alliance israélite universelle. corporateBody
associatedWith American Association of the Red Cross. corporateBody
associatedWith American Bar Association. corporateBody
associatedWith American Jewish Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith American Jewish Congress. corporateBody
associatedWith American Jewish Historical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith American Jewish Relief Committee for Sufferers from the War. corporateBody
associatedWith Baron de Hirsch Fund (1891 - Present) person
associatedWith Baron, Joseph, 1894-1960. person
associatedWith Benjamin Schlesinger. person
associatedWith Bisno, Julius, 1911- person
correspondedWith Browne, Edward B. M. person
associatedWith Burlingham, Charles Culp, 1858-1959 person
associatedWith Cardozo, Benjamin N. (Benjamin Nathan), 1870-1938. person
associatedWith Central Committee for the Relief of Jews Suffering Through the War. corporateBody
correspondedWith Central Conference of American Rabbis. corporateBody
correspondedWith Chapman, John Jay, 1862-1933 person
associatedWith Congregation Shearith Israel (New York, N.Y.). Clerk's Office. corporateBody
associatedWith Council of Jewish Communal Institutions. corporateBody
associatedWith Council of Jewish Women (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Davidson, Israel, 1870-1939. person
correspondedWith Deutsch, Gotthard, 1859-1921 person
associatedWith Educational Alliance (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
correspondedWith Ehrmann, Herbert B. (Herbert Brutus), b. 1891 person
associatedWith Ellen Brett Aibel Bierman Family person
correspondedWith Enelow, Hyman Gerson person
associatedWith Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies, of New York. corporateBody
associatedWith Federation of American Zionists. corporateBody
associatedWith Fischel, Harry, 1865-1948. person
associatedWith Hand, Learned, 1872-1961 person
associatedWith Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society of America. corporateBody
correspondedWith Hudson, Manley Ottmer, 1886- person
associatedWith Industrial Removal Office corporateBody
associatedWith Intercollegiate Menorah Association (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. President's Office. corporateBody
associatedWith Jaffe, Louis I. (Louis Isaac), 1888-1950. person
associatedWith Jewish Agency for Palestine. corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Chautauqua Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Community of New York City. corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Theological Seminary of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Endowment Fund. corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Theological Seminary of America. General Files. corporateBody
associatedWith Kohler, Max J. (Max James), 1871-1934 person
correspondedWith Lazaron, Morris Samuel person
associatedWith Magnes, Beatrice L. person
associatedWith Marshall, Lenore, 1897-1971. person
associatedWith Morais, Henry S. (Henry Samuel), 1860-1935. person
associatedWith Morgenthau, Henry, 1856-1946. person
associatedWith National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. corporateBody
associatedWith National Association of Jewish Social Workers person
associatedWith National Jewish Welfare Board. corporateBody
associatedWith New York (State). Commission of Immigration. corporateBody
associatedWith New York (State). Immigration Commission. corporateBody
correspondedWith Ochs, Adolph S. (Adolph Simon), 1858-1935. person
associatedWith Oko, Adolph S. (Adolph Sigmund), 1883-1944. person
associatedWith Olympic Winter Games 1932: Lake Placid, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Palestine Economic Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Richards, Bernard G. person
associatedWith Strauss, Lewis L. person
associatedWith Union of American Hebrew Congregations. corporateBody
correspondedWith Villard, Oswald Garrison, 1872-1949 person
correspondedWith Waldman, Morris D. (Morris David), b. 1879. person
correspondedWith Warburg, Felix M. (Felix Moritz), 1871-1937. person
associatedWith Weinberger, Harry, 1888- person
associatedWith Weizmann, Chaim, 1874-1952 person
associatedWith Young Men's Hebrew Association (New York, N.Y.). Council. corporateBody
associatedWith Zionist Organisation. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Palestine
Salmon River (N.Y.)
New York (State)
Niagara River (N.Y. and Ont.)
Adirondack Mountains (N.Y.)
United States
New York (State)--New York
Adirondack Park (N.Y.)
New York (State)--New York
United States
United States
Adirondack Forest Preserve (N.Y.)
Palestine
Romania
United States
New York (State)--Adirondack Park
New York (State)--New York
Palestine
Subject
World War, 1914-1918
Jews
Water resources development
Jews--Civil rights
Antisemitism
Civic leaders--Archives
Roads
Jewish lawyers--Archives
Conservation of natural resources
Zionism
Mediation and conciliation--Industrial
Environmental policy
Rabbinical seminaries
Philanthropists
Lawyers
Constitutional law
Reform Judaism
Immigrants--Civil rights
Occupation
Civil rights workers--United States
Civic leaders--New York (State)--New York
Philanthropists--New York (State)--New York
Jewish lawyers--New York (State)--New York
Function

Person

Birth 1856-12-14

Death 1929-09-11

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w66d5x9x

Ark ID: w66d5x9x

SNAC ID: 66118085