Sachar, Abram L.

Sachar, Abram L. (Leon)

(1899–1993) historian, university president; born in New York City. His immigrant family moved to St. Louis, Mo., in 1906 and (after a year at Harvard) he took his B.A. and M.A. at Washington University in that city. He went to England to do his research on the Victorian House of Lords and gained his Ph.D. at Cambridge University, England (1923). He then taught history at the University of Illinois (1923–48), where he helped start the Hillel Foundation and served as its national director (1933–48) while overseeing its expansion to colleges nationwide; he remained chairman of the National Hillel Foundation (1948–55). When the American Jewish community decided to start a (nonsectarian) college, Sachar was chosen as the first president of Brandeis University (Waltham, Mass.), and during his tenure (1948–58) he effectively built it into a first-class, nationally recognized teaching-research institution by exercising his unusual combination of abilities as an educator, visionary, and fundraiser. On his retirement he became chancellor of Brandeis. During his long career he served on numerous committees and boards, was the recipient of many honors, and published a number of books, including A History of the Jews (1929; 5th edition 1965) and The Course of Our Times (1972).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.