Page 68 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 24

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60
J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
escape the vagaries and commercial considerations of editors and
publishers, Sci-Art Publishers of Cambridge, Massachusetts, whose
colophon contains the words
emeth, yosher,
and
tsedakah,
issued
not only Roback’s works in handsome if small editions, but also
books by Morton Prince, R. B. Cattell, Hanns Sachs, and others.
The Sci-Art list includes the first selection in English from the
works of the greatest German-Jewish satirist since Heine, Kurt
Tucholsky, as well as two volumes devoted to Albert Schweitzer,
edited and partly written by Roback:
Albert Schweitzer Jubilee
Book
and
In Albert Schweitzer’s Realms.
Roback recognized the
greatness of “ le grand docteur” years before Schweitzer’s break­
through to international fame and carried on a treasured cor­
respondence with him. Roback the journalist with a mission, the
publicist with a purpose, is seen to good advantage in his rela­
tionship with
Aufbau,
the New York weekly reflecting the
thoughts and aspirations of the German-Jewish immigration
since 1933. Roback was a long-time member of its advisory board
and a frequent contributor of articles, reviews, and letters.
Roback’s uncompromising devotion to his ideals and his almost
Spartan mode of living brought about a growing loneliness as
the years went by; this was exacerbated by an unfortunate
estrangement from his family in his last years. He did not find it
easy to deal with postal clerks and printers, landlords and lex­
icographers, administrators and admen. Nor was his life fated
to end on the high note of a secure academic position at a great
university. The sometime instructor at Harvard, professor at
Northeastern, lecturer at Pittsburgh, National Research Council
Fellow in the Biological Sciences, and University Extension
Lecturer of the Commonwealth o f Massachusetts (where the
present writer first came under his spell), headed the psychology
department at Emerson College, then taught at the Boston
Center o f Adult Education and finally in the University Exten­
sion again. A dedicated, unorthodox teacher with a number of
endearing idiosyncracies, he used psychology as a fulcrum for
the dynamic presentation of the broad spectrum of human cul­
ture. An extremely busy man, he was yet very generous with his
time, and despite a certain egocentricity he reflected warmth,
humility, and an outgoing brilliance, as well as a humanist’s
practical concern with life.
A. A. Roback the scholar will be remembered for important
contributions in a variety of fields, but Roback the man will
be treasured for the
Yiddishkeit,
the unerring sense of
derekh
erets
that pervaded his life and works. May his memory be for
a blessing!