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ADLER, CYRUS. (1863-1940)

Scholar of and authority on Far East civilizations and Semitic languages, and prominent leader in the American Jewish community. Adler was born in Van Buren, Ark., almost two years before the end of the Civil War. He played an important role in shaping the cultural life and in developing some of the great organizations of the American Jewish community as hewatched it grow from a few thousand to five million duringhis lifetime. He was a founder and active member of the American Jewish Historical Society and the Jewish Publication Society of America.

He served as president of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York City and of Dropsie College (See Annenberg Research Institute) in Philadelphia. As a young man, he taught Semitic languages at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Between 1888 and 1909, he served as director of the Ancient East department of the Washington National Museum. At the Smithsonian Institution he served as librarian (1892-1905) and assistant secretary (1905-08). He edited publications of Jewish learning, including Jews in the Diplomatic Correspondence of the U.S. He was a founder and president of the American Jewish Committee and the National Jewish Welfare Board. He was active in forming the Jewish Agency for Palestine, and served as its non-Zionist co-chair. His autobiography, I Have Considered the Days, is an engaging profile of his era and its many noteworthy leaders.

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