By Steven J Harper
Writer Steven J. Harper will pay tribute to a well-respected instructor with this biography of a wonderful William Smith Mason Professor of historical past at Northwestern college, Richard W. Leopold. Harper had maintained touch together with his former professor, as had hundreds and hundreds of alternative alumni, assembly with him within the house to which his age and wellbeing and fitness limited him. whilst Leopold invited him to study his biographical fabrics to organize a brand new York occasions obituary, Harper started to trap glimpses of a deeper historical past in Leopold’s existence: that of Jews in the United States after the flip of the century.Across years of Sundays, Leopold’s lifestyles got here jointly and Harper started to detect parallels among the lifetime of his professor and the lifetime of his lately deceased better half's father. either grew up in much less orthodox families yet have been nonetheless pointed out as Jewish through others; either attended Ivy League faculties, combating (and beating) anti-Semitism there; and either served their kingdom with contrast in global struggle II. the 2 males endured via a 20th century Jewish-American adventure that they and so forth shared, yet hardly mentioned. Steven Harper has stuck them either at the web page simply in time to rfile their lives, their tradition, and the country that grew and altered along them.
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Additional resources for Straddling Worlds: The Jewish-American Journey of Professor Richard W. Leopold
Illuminating Dick’s life through comparison with Pop’s would offer insights into both men; contrast might light another equally revealing dimension. One difference between their families was financial. While the Leopolds owned two Cadillacs, Pop and his parents rode in a used Model T Ford touring car for most of his youth. , who achieved wealth as a member of the New York Stock Exchange, Pop’s father sold building materials and earned a comfortable living, but little more. Pop told me his mother was quite stern and cold; Dick’s mother seemed warmer and more deeply connected to her sons, although photographs of her depict a somewhat stern countenance.
Whatever else was accomplished, the result was a lifetime of cavities, because his orthodontia preceded the fluoridation of drinking water. The special visit became a mixed blessing when Dick looked at the front pages of the Boston newspapers on display at Exeter’s school post office. Headlines throughout the country covered the sensational murder of young Bobby Franks. The gruesome crime fueled anti-Semitism throughout the nation. Franks had disappeared when nineteen-year-old Nathan Leopold, who had graduated from the University of Chicago and planned to attend Harvard Law School in the fall, and eighteen-year-old Richard Loeb, the youngest college graduate in the history of the University of Michigan, committed what they had plotted as the perfect crime.
For all of his remaining days, Dick never drove a car; however, he insisted his cousin’s accident had nothing to do with it: “A car in New York City made no sense. Besides, my father and older brother loved to drive. ’” By the end of the summer, Leopold and Loeb again dominated the headlines, as their seventy-year-old defense lawyer, Clarence Darrow, brought one of his most famous trials to a close. Deciding to plead the young men guilty and rest their fate in the hands of a single sentencing judge rather than twelve jurors, Darrow persuaded the court to consider psychiatric evidence relating to the killers’ mental state.