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David Berkowitz papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 03-MWalB00170A

Scope and Contents

The materials in this collection were created from 1937-1985. They include teaching materials, such as class lists, course syllabi, reading lists, lecture summaries and notes, student papers, and exams; administrative materials such as correspondence, memoranda, meeting minutes, departmental statistics, lists of course offerings, syllabi, announcements, reports, proposals, financial projections, and rules and regulations; and a range of other documents including architectural drawings and contracts, photographs, newsclippings, articles, book reviews, papers and texts.


  • 1937-1985, undated

Conditions Governing Access

Some material is restricted; please consult the University Archivist. Access to the collection is in accordance with the policies of the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University. Please contact the department for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests to reproduce or publish material from the collection should be directed to the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University.

Biographical or Historical Information

David Berkowitz was among the original group of 13 faculty at Brandeis University.  He was hired in 1948 as Associate Professor of History and Political Science, the second highest ranking faculty member after Ludwig Lewisohn.  Prior to Brandeis, Berkowitz held the position of Executive Officer for the Association of Colleges and Universities in New York. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Berkowitz was educated at Harvard University, where he received his A.B., magna cum laude (1938), A.M. (1940) and Ph.D. (1946).  Before coming to Brandeis, he taught at Connecticut College for Women (now Connecticut College) and Emerson College in Boston. Shortly after arriving at Brandeis, Berkowitz assumed the administrative posts of Assistant to the President (1948-1952) and Director of University Planning (1949-1952?).  He simultaneously served as Assistant Secretary and Assistant Treasurer of the Board of Trustees, while maintaining a full teaching load.  After one year, Berkowitz was promoted to Professor of History and Political Science. Known primarily as a scholar of English and legal history and the Renaissance, Berkowitz taught classes such as History of the British Empire, Renaissance and Reformation in Sixteenth Century England, Topics in Constitutional History, and Topics in Historical Jurisprudence.  He belonged to professional organizations that supported these scholarly interests including the Renaissance Society of America and the American Society of Legal History. An avid bibliographer, David Berkowitz was a founding member of the Society of Bibliophiles at Brandeis University.  The Society of Bibliophiles (est. 1961) sought to expand and promote the resources of the Special Collections Department within the Brandeis University Library.  Funded primarily by gifts from its membership, the Society succeeded in acquiring a range of special collections early in its existence: correspondence of Daniel Webster, James McNeil Whistler and Benjamin Disraeli, lithographs by Honoré Daumier, and rare incunabula, to name a few. During its first ten years, the Society of Bibliophiles sponsored various exhibitions in Rapaporte Treasure Hall, several of which were organized by David Berkowitz.  “From Ptolemy to the Moon,” an exhibit he mounted in 1965, focused on early navigational and exploration cartography and instruments.  “In Remembrance of Creation” (1968) coincided with Brandeis University’s 20th anniversary celebration and traced the evolution of art and scholarship in the Medieval and Renaissance Bible.  The exhibit featured more than 200 manuscripts and printed Bibles, and Berkowitz wrote the exhibit catalog, which became a collector’s item and reference work on the early history of books. The Society of Bibliophiles produced an irregular periodical, Octavo, which Berkowitz edited during its ten-year existence (1971-1981).  He also authored many bibliographies, some of which were guides to special collections in the Brandeis University Library: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Incunabula of the Brandeis University Library (1963), Guide to Research Materials in the Library – The Renaissance Period (1963), Bibliotheca Bibliographica Britannica (1963-1969), Bibliotheca Bibliographica Incunabula (1967), and Bibliographies for Historical Researchers (1969), the trial edition of which was destroyed in a fire and subsequently rewritten.  The following year, Berkowitz published The Work of Six Days & the Sanctification of the Seventh Day (1970), a souvenir booklet commemorating the Society’s donation of the Latin edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) to the Brandeis University Library. Berkowitz published other scholarship during his years at Brandeis.  In addition to the 332-volume Classics of English Legal History in the Modern Era (joint editor, 1979), he produced two works that were published posthumously: Humanist Scholarship and Public Order: Two Tracts Against the Pilgrimage of Grace (editor, 1984) and John Selden’s Formative Years: Politics and Society in Early Seventeenth-Century England (1988). Beyond Brandeis, David Berkowitz was a leader in local civic and cultural organizations.  He served as both President and Director of the Waltham Family Service Association (which he founded in 1949) and the Waltham Community Foundation, Inc.  He was also an incorporator of the Waltham Savings Bank and Waltham Hospital and a longtime member of the Committee for the Bromsen Memorial Lecture in Humanistic Bibliography at the Boston Public Library. David Berkowitz retired from teaching in 1980 and served as Professor Emeritus of History and Political Science until his death in 1983 at the age of 69.


32.50 Linear Feet

44 manuscript boxes, 6 record center boxes, 2 oversized folders, 1 index box other_unmapped

30.50 Linear Feet

2.00 Linear Feet


Arranged in six series: 1. Teaching and Advising, 1942-1978, undated; 2. Academic Department Administration, 1937-1985, undated; 3. University Planning and Administration, 1937-1982, undated; 4. Additional Administrative Correspondence, 1948-1981, undated; 5. Publications and Professional Activities, 1946-1980, undated; 6. Society of Bibliophiles, 1949-1983, undated. All series are arranged by sub-series.

Other Descriptive Information

Prints in 'University Chapel, 1951" folder in box 23 are based on negatives from Negative #307A in photos database. Photographic negatives originally found in the "In Remembrance of Creation" series are now stored in the back room and are indexed in the Photos database. Addenda to this collection may not be listed in the finding aid, but may be available for research use. Please contact us for more information.

Nora, updated by Jessica Vincent
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Brandeis University Repository

415 South St.
Waltham MA

About Us

The Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department at Brandeis University consists of two collecting units, the University Archives and Special Collections. University Archives documents the history and development of Brandeis University and its faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Special Collections features a broad array of unique primary source materials across a wide range of disciplines that support research, teaching and learning at Brandeis. Learn more about our collections