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Dr. Felix Adler, Noted Educator, Founder of Ethical Culture, Dead

April 26, 1933
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Dr. Felix Adler, known the world over as the founder of the Society for Ethical Culture, died at 10 o’clock Monday night at the Mount Sinai Hospital. He was in his eighty-second year. Death was due to intestinal weaknesses, for which he had undergone an operation last year.

Dr. Adler was a leader in civic and moral life for more than half a century. He was born in Alzey. Germany, in 1850, the son of Rabbi Samuel Adler. Brought to America six years later, when Rabbi Adler was called to Temple Emanu-El in New York, he was educated here and took his A.B. degree at Columbia in 1870. He then studied in Berlin and Heidelberg, preparing for the rabbinate, but decided not to continue as a rabbi, and instead became an instructor in Hebrew and Oriental literature at Cornell University.

His new views on moral and ethical problems were considered radical at Cornell at that time, and he returned to New York, in 1876, to found the Society for Ethical Culture, in order to teach ethics and morality independent of sectarian or religious connection.

For many years Dr. Adler lectured weekly at Carnegie Hall. He took part vigorously in social service movements, at one time crusading against white slavery in New York.

The movement which he had founded spread to include thousands of adherents, many schools were established and centers of Ethical Culture were to be found in Europe and even in Japan.

Dr. Adler was married to Helen Goldmark of Brooklyn in 1880, their children being Waldo, Eleanor, Lawrence, Margaret, and Ruth. He was Professor of Political and Social Ethics at Columbia from 1902, exhange professor at the University of Berlin in 1908-1909, Hibbert Lecturer at Oxford in May, 1923. Dr. Adler was a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Ethics, and was the author of many books, including “Creed and Duty”, “Life and Destiny”, “The World Crisis and Its Meaning”. He was Chairman of the National Child Labor Committee, and President of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association.

The funeral will take place on Thursday, at 10 a.m., from the Meeting House of the Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W. 64th St. Dr. John Elliott and David S. Muzzey will speak at the services.

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