SOL (SHLOYME) LIPTZIN (July 27, 1901-November 15, 1995)
His was born in Satanov (Sataniv), Podolia. In 1910 he moved to the United States and received a traditional Jewish education together with his secular education. He studied at the City University of New York (1918-1921) and Columbia University (1922), at the University of Berlin (1923), and in 1924 he received his doctoral degree from Columbia. He served as professor of comparative literature and head of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages at City College in New York. He published his writings in academic journals and in encyclopedias in English and German. His published books include: The Weavers in German Literature (Baltimore, 1926), 108 pp.; Lyric Pioneers of Modern Germany: Studies in German Social Poetry (New York, 1928), 187 pp.; Heine (New York, 1928), 310 pp.; From Novalis to Nietzsche: Anthology of Nineteenth Century German Literature (New York, 1929), 607 pp.; Arthur Schnitzler (New York, 1932), 275 pp.; Historical Survey of German Literature (New York, 1936), 300 pp.; Richard Beer-Hofmann (New York, 1936), 111 pp.; Germany’s Stepchildren (Philadelphia, 1944), 297 pp.; The English Legend of Heinrich Heine (New York, 1954), 191 pp. In the mid-1940s he submitted a memorandum to the Council on Higher Education in New York concerning the introduction of Yiddish courses at City College, and Yiddish for the first time in the history of American universities became a fully recognized subject for which students received academic credit. Later, other New York colleges and universities also introduced Yiddish courses. Liptzin contributed to YIVO publications: Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO), Yidishe shprakh (Yiddish language), and Yivo Annual of Social Science. He also wrote for the monthly Tsukunft (Future), the English-language In Jewish Bookland, and other serials. In book form, he wrote the following works in English: Peretz (New York: YIVO, 1947), 379 pp., in which he provided Perets’s text in Yiddish parallel to Liptzin’s translation; Eliakum Zunser: Poet of His People (New Yor, 1950), 243 pp., also in a Hebrew translation by Yaakov Adini (Tel Aviv, 1953), 200 pp.; Generation for Decision: Jewish Rejuvenation in America (New York, 1958), 300 pp., a cross-section of Jewish cultural history in America. Over the years 1953-1956, he served as editor of Jewish Book Annual in New York. He was president (1936-1937) of the American organization of “Judenstaat Zionism”; president (1952-1954) of the Jewish book council; chairman (1960) of the commission for Yiddish matters at the American Jewish Congress; chairman (1959) of the managing committee of the “Great Yiddish Dictionary”; member of the academic council and directors’ council of YIVO; and a delegate to the second conference of World Jewish Culture Congress in 1959. In 1962 he moved to Israel and settled in Jerusalem. Until 1964 he was professor at the Haifa Technion, and at the American College in Jerusalem (1968-1974). He later wrote a series of books about Yiddish literature: The Flowering of Yiddish Literature (New York, 1963), 246 pp.; The Maturing of Yiddish Literature (New York, 1970), 282 pp.; A History of Yiddish Literature (New York, 1972), 521 pp.; Einführung in die Jiddische Literatur (Introduction to Yiddish literature) (Stuttgart, 1978), 180 pp. He died in Jerusalem.
Sources: Dr. N. Glatser, in Yivo-bleter (New York) 25.3 (May-June 1945); M. Unger, in Tog (New York) (February 6, 1947); S. Kahan, Meksikaner viderklangen (Mexican echoes) (Mexico, 1951), pp. 181-84; Ascher Penn, Idishkayt in amerike (Jewishness in America) (New York, 1958), pp. 540, 542, 547; Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 7, pp. 80-81; Who’s Who in World Jewry (1955); Who’s Who in Education (1959-1960); Who’s Who in American Jewry; Who Knows—and What among Authorities, Experts, and the Specially Informed; Yivo-biblyografye (YIVO bibliography) (1925-1941, 1941-1950).
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 337.]