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date: 12 December 2019

Rubinow, Isaac Maxlocked

(19 April 1875–01 September 1936)
  • W. Andrew Achenbaum


Rubinow, Isaac Max (19 April 1875–01 September 1936), social insurance expert and Jewish social service administrator, was born in Grodno, Russia, the son of Max Simon Rubinow, a textile merchant, and Esther Shereshewsky. Little is known about Rubinow’s childhood other than the fact that he migrated to the United States at the age of eighteen. Having a relatively privileged background, he was connected to a cosmopolitan network of kin, who facilitated his entry into American life. Rubinow enrolled in Columbia University, earning a B.A. in 1895 and an M.D. three years later. In 1899 he married Sophia Himowich; they had three children. As a doctor to New York City’s poor between 1898 and 1903, Rubinow discovered that the illnesses and disabilities he treated were as much socioeconomic as physiological or pathological in origin. Eager to corroborate this hypothesis, he abandoned his medical practice and began to conduct the sort of investigative studies of the urban working class being done at the time by Charles Booth in England. He took graduate courses in mathematics while working for a Ph.D. in political science at Columbia. Under the direction of ...

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