SHMUEL-MOYSHE (SAMUEL MAX) MELAMED (December 15, 1885-June 19, 1938)
He was born in Vilkovishki (Vilkaviškis), Suvalk district, Lithuania. He was one of the zealots in the yeshivas of Suvalk, Volozhin, and Mir; at that time, he was also studying secular subjects, later at the Universities of Frankfurt, Marburg, Paris, and Berne, from which in 1908 he received his doctor of philosophy degree. His literary activities began in 1901 with articles and correspondence pieces in the German-language: Frankfurter Zeitung (Frankfurt newspaper), Neues wiener Tagblatt (New Vienna daily newspaper), Hamburger Zeitung (Hamburg newspaper), and Archiv für Philosophie (Archive for philosophy). On the eve of WWI, he settled in London, approached Aḥad Haam and Naḥum Sokolov, and they brought him closer to Hebrew literature. On his own, then, Melamed began to write in Hebrew and to publish his writings in Haolam (The world), Heatid (The future), and Hatsfira (The siren), and he became an important journalist, researcher, and thinker, although the abundance of his thinking later was manifest, for separate reasons, more in their breadth than for their depth. He was also the correspondent in London for New Yorker Staats-Zeitung (National newspaper of New York) and other German newspapers. In 1914, after the outbreak of WWI, he could no longer remain in London, because he was the political correspondent for Frankfurter Zeitung, and he thus made his way to the United States. There he commenced new literary activities as a contributor and editor for English, German, Hebrew, and Yiddish newspapers and periodicals. He contributed work to: Neue deutsche Rundschau (New German review), The World, New York Times, Evening Post, New York Herald, Evening Mail, Boston Transcript, and Yale Review, among others. He was: editor of the famed weekly The American Jewish Chronicle; contributor to the journal East and West in Chicago and of the newspaper Di varhayt (The truth), edited by Y. Gonikman, for which he wrote editorials and two or three articles each week; one of the editors of the German daily Staats-Zeitung (National newspaper), based in Illinois, to which he contributed editorials and took charge of a Sunday page; editor of the weekly Dos idishe folk (The Jewish people) in New York, for which he wrote editorials and journalistic pieces; founder and editor of the English-language Reflex in Chicago; contributor to Luaḥ aḥiever and Hatoran (The duty officer); and editor of Der idisher kuryer (The Jewish courier) in Chicago, in which over the course of several years he wrote editorials under the title “Gut morgn” (Good morning). In 1925 he was: one of the most prominent contributors to L. Miller’s Naye varhayt (New truth); and editor in Los Angeles for two years of Kalifornyer idishe shtime (Jewish voice of California). He also wrote for Hadoar (The mail), Tog (Day), and other serials in New York. Over the years 1921-1925, he was the leader of the Zionist Organization in Chicago. He gave lectures on Hebrew literature and Jewish learning at the University of Chicago. The last two years of his life he spent in New York and died there.
His works in book form include: Theorie, Ursprung und Geschichte der Friedensidee, kulturphilosophische Wanderungen (Theory, origin, and history of the idea of peace, cultural-philosophical meanderings) (Stuttgart: Enke, 1909), 262 pp., awarded a prize from the International Peace Bureau in Berne, translations in Russian and Japanese; Der Staat im Wandel der Jahrtausende: Studien zur Geschichte des Staatsgedankens (The state through the millennia: Studies on the history of ideas of the state) (Stuttgart: Enke, 1910), 303 pp., translated into Japanese and used as a college textbook in Japan and European countries; Gestalten und Schatten (Shapes and shadows) (Berlin: L. Lamm, 1913), 152 pp.; Psychologie des jüdischen Geistes, zur Völker- und Kulturpsychologie (Psychology of the Jewish spirit, on popular and cultural psychology) (Berlin: Schwetschke, 1912), 224 pp., with a foreword by Israel Zangwill, Russian translation (Moscow, 1914), Hebrew translation (Jerusalem, 1925); Mahut hayahadut (The essence of Judaism), with David Neumark (New York: Aḥiever, 1915), 22 pp.; On the Eve of Redemption (New York: Alpha Omega, 1918), 150 pp.; Breaking the Tablets: Studies in the Philosophy of History (Chicago: Meyerson Press, 1930), 303 pp.; Spinoza and Buddha: Visions of a Dead God (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1933), 391 pp. In Yiddish: foreword to Victor Hugo, Di letste teg fun a farurteyltn (The last days of a convicted man [original: Le Dernier jour d’un condamné (The last day of a condemned man)]), translation by A. Beylin (London, 1910), 100 pp.; with N. Sokolov and D. Pasmanik, a biographical and critical introduction to the Yiddish translation of Max Nordau, Paradoksen (Paradoxes [original: Paradoxe]) (New York, 1915), 238 pp.; Mayn shtedtel, bilder un geshtalten (My hometown, images and figures) (Chicago: Kuryer farlag, 1930), 182 pp. His last Yiddish work, which remains in manuscript form, was: Kant, plato un di neviim (Kant, Plato, and the Prophets).
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; L R, in Hatekufa (Warsaw) (1918/1919), pp. 677-79; A. Tishbi, in Luaḥ aḥiever (New York) (1920/1921), pp. 404-10; E. R. Malachi, in Sefer hayovel shel hadoar (Jubilee volume for Hadoar) (New York, 1926/1927), pp. 291-92; Dr. A. Ginzburg, in Di tsukunft (New York) (May 1918), pp. 326-27; Arnold (E. Vohliner), in Di tsayt (New York) (October 25, 1921); Sh. Yudson, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (December 23, 1931); A. Vol and A. Sh. Urlans, in Hadoar (New York) (June 24, 1938); D. Shmenubits, in Moznaim (Tel Aviv), pamphlet A (1939/1940), p. 86; Av. Goldberg, Sefer avraham goldberg (Avraham Goldberg book) (New York, 1945); Moyshe Shtarkman, in Hadoar (Sivan 4 [= May 23], 1947); E. Almi, In gerangl fun ideyen, eseyen (Struggling with idea, essays) (Buenos Aires, 1957), p. 183.