image of Herb Ershkowitz

The Department of History mourns the loss of its longtime colleague, Herbert Ershkowitz, Professor Emeritus of American History. For over forty years Herb taught American political history to generations of Temple students. Below is a tribute by his colleague and friend, Allen Davis.

Herbert Ershkowitz (1933-2021)

Herb joined the department in 1965, the year he earned a Ph.D from NYU and the year Temple became a State Related University. Herb was part of a new wave of faculty members that changed the university and the department. He had taught for three years at Penn State before coming to Temple. He was trained as an American political historian and he became an expert on the age of Jackson. But he soon broadened his interests to include social and cultural history and historiography. He would go on to write a biography of John Wanamaker.

Herb was an outstanding teacher. He kept his students’ attention through his knowledge of history and historical interpretations. He also knew how to listen. For a number of years I rode the subway with him and many times former students approached him to tell him how much they had learned from his course.

Herb served on many committees in the department, search committees during the 70swhend the department was expanding, and many MA and PH. D committees. He always asked tough questions in a gentle manner. In the 90s when the department went through a difficult phase he was a voice of calm reason.

Herb was a great reader, in his field and beyond. Even after he retired we would meet for lunch and he would tell me about the latest book, article, or review that he had read. A few days before he died I talked to him on the phone and we discussed the new biography of Thaddeus Stevens.

Herb will be missed by all his former students and colleagues.

Allen F. Davis 

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