Louis Marshall, president of the American Jewish Committee and recognized leader of American Jewry, attains his seventieth birthday tomorrow, December 14.
In anticipation of this event, varied forms of attesting the affection and esteem of his friends and well-wishers, near and far, have been suggested for the past few years including memorials and endowments. A group of Mr. Marshall’s friends, knowing how he dislikes “pomp and circumstance” and yet that thousands of people were earnestly desirous of expressing their sentiments to him on this occasion, have prepared an address which was presented to him yesterday, at his own home, by the Committee in charge of this testimonial.
The address, up to this time, has been signed by 7,866 persons residing in 343 cities in the United States, by 519 individuals representing organizations and communities in France, Denmark, Roumania, Italy and Switzerland, Austria-Hungary, Jugo-Slavia, Argentine, South America, Canada and Cuba, and by 425 individuals representing forty institutions of learning, charity and philanthropy with which he is connected.
The address is beautifully engrossed and illuminated. Each illumination is an exact reproduction of an ancient manuscript or book in the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, reflecting the Jewish art of the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries, and representing Mediaeval Germany, Italy and Spain. These volumes, five in number, are of quarto size, and are beautifully bound in crushed Levant. So many additional signatures are being received from all parts of the world, that a sixth volume will probably soon be added.
The address reads as follows:
“Dear Mr. Marshall:
“Upon this day when you have reached three score and ten, in health and vigor, your friends and associates and many far and near, who have not had the privilege of knowing you in person, ask you to accept their warmest congratulations.
“We realize that any form of praise or adulation will be distasteful to you and in this we shall not indulge, but we may be permitted to express our thanks to Almighty God, who has in our day raised you up as a champion of the Jewish people. We are grateful for your never wearying zeal in behalf of our rights wherever they have been denied or threatened. The occasions upon which you have defended our cause are too numerous to recall, but we remind ourselves of those notable months which you spent in Paris in 1919, never tiring, always resourceful, your labors resulting in the inclusion in the Treaties of Peace of provisions which we hope will ultimately safeguard the religious and political rights of the Jewish people of Eastern Europe.
“Another occasion that we would wish to recall is the splendid part you played in bringing about the abrogation of the Treaty between the United States and Russia, thereby contributing as you did, to what was probably the most notable act ever undertaken by a great State in behalf of the Jewish people.
“You have never ceased your activity since 1914 in the gathering and administration of the funds for the relief of the sufferers from the Great War wherever they might be. You have in this cause spent your energy, travelled far and wide and with well nigh superhuman strength and devotion have lifted your voice in behalf of the succor and rehabiliation of the broken Jewish people. You have given unceasing devotion to the Synagogue, to Jewish education and to Jewish learning without respect to party differences acting in the spirit that nothing Jewish was alien to you.
“As a member of the bar you have combined learning, power and integrity. In the Courts of New York, in many courts throughout the country and before the Supreme Court of the United States, you have come to be recognized as one of the outstanding advocates of America, and your passion for the promotion of right and justice has frequently led you to take up causes solely that the ends of justice might be served. Not only among your brethren at the bar and on the bench but in the Senate of the United States you have been acclaimed as among the leading constitutional lawyers in America. You have sat consecutively in three conventions for the revision of the Constitution of the State of New York–a unique record–and you have served as Chairman of the Immigration Commission of your native State. You have aided in the promotion of industrial peace. You have been one of the leaders in the preservation of our forests, and are a valued trustee of the University of the City of Syracuse, your native City. You have served innumerable organizations for the promotion of learning and the welfare of your fellowmen.
“In these and many other activities you have encouraged hundreds and thousands in all walks of life by your sacrifice and your devotion to the public good, and for all these things and for the many which we forbear to mention, we ask you to accept this modest offering as a slight token of our affection, our esteem and our gratitude. December 14, 1926.”
The Committee consisted of Dr. Cyrus Adler, chairman; A. C. Ratschesky, Boston; James H. Becker and Julius Rosenwald, Chicago; David A. Brown, Detroit; Felix Fuld, Newark; Jules E. Mastbaum and Judge Horace Stern, Philadelphia; and David M. Bressler, Daniel Guggenheim, Judge Samson Lachman, S. C. Lamport, Colonel Herbert H. Lehman, Judge Irving Lehman, Solomon M. Stroock, Cyrus L. Sulzberger, Israel Unterberg, Ludwig Vogelstein and Felix M. Warburg, New York City.
Louis Marshall is one of the foremost constitutional lawyers in the country, one of its most public-spirited citizens and recognized by a large number of American Jews as their leader and as the champion of their rights against prejudice and discrimination.
On difficult and intricate questions involving interpretation of the constitutions of the United States and of the various States, Mr. Marshall’s opinion is frequently sought by legislators and by jurists. He has argued hundreds of cases bearing upon the constitutionality of important laws, such as those concerning bonuses for war veterans, inheritance and special franchise taxes, compensations for injuries in industry, alien immigration, the ownership of land by Japanese, the segregation of negroes, the naturalization of Hindus, the abolition of private and parochial schools, and many others of equal importance.
Mr. Marshall is the first citizen of New York State who has sat in three consecutive conventions for the revision of the State constitution, being elected a delegate in 1890, 1894, and 1913. He was appointed (1902) by Mayor Seth Low, member of a committee to investigate conditions ### New York’s East Side; he was named by Governor Charles E. Hughes as chairman of a State Immigration Commission (1908); was counsel for Governor William Sulzer in his impeachment trial (1913), and for Leo M. Frank before the United States Supreme Court (1915). He was the mediator who brought about the settlement of the cloak-makers’ strike in New York (1910) when he drew up a protocol which was the basis of many subsequent strike settlements, and he was a member of the arbitration committee which settled the New York clothing workers’ strike in 1919. Mr. Marshall has also appeared before numerous committees of the United States Congress in support of a liberal and humane immigration policy.
Mr. Marshall was born in Syracuse, N. Y. in 1856. He attended Syracuse High School and was graduated (1874) with high honors. While at school he assisted his father in the hide business. For two years he read law in the office of Nathaniel B. Smith, after which he studied at the Law School of Columbia University, taking the two years’ course in one year. He returned to Syracuse and became a clerk in the office of a law firm headed by William C. Ruger, later Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. He was admitted to the bar and became a member of the firm.
In 1894 he moved to New York City and he became a member of the firm of Guggenheimer, Untermyer and Marshall.
In the Jewish community of the United States, Mr. Marshall is an outstanding figure. His interest in the welfare of his race extends to every phase of their life, but he is devoted chiefly to educational institutions and to defending them from any interference with their civil rights. He was the leader in the movement which brought about (1911) the abrogation of the Treaty of 1832 with Russia, because of the long-continued non-recognition by that country of the American passport in the hands of Jews, Catholic priests, or Protestant missionaries. He has been president of the American Jewish Committee since 1912. In 1919 he spent five months in Paris and in conjunction with others succeeded in having inserted in the Treaties made with Poland, Roumania, Jugo-Slavia, Czecho-Slovakia and other countries clauses safe-guarding the rights of racial, linguistic and religious minorities, which were thus made obligations of international concern and placed under the guaranty of the League of Nations. Mr. Marshall was also the leader in the various efforts to raise funds for the relief of Jewish sufferers from the World War, which have resulted in the collection of over $75,000,000. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and President of the Board of Trustees of Temple Emanu-El.
The degree of LL.D. was conferred upon Mr. Marshall by Syracuse University (1913), that of L.H.D. by the Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati (1920); he has been a trustee of Syracuse University since 1910, and he is president of the New York State College of Forestry.
On May 6, 1895, Mr. Marshall married Florence Lowenstein of New York (died May 27, 1916). He has three sons and one daughter and four grandchildren.