Strangers to Us All
Lawyers and Poetry

Jacob Gedaliah Grossberg


--a founder of the American Jewish Congress

The following biographical information about Jacob G. Grossberg consists of excerpts from Edmund Jess Grossberg, J.G.'s Legacy ([Chicago, Illinois]: E.J. Grossberg, [1944]):

--"Jacob Gedaliah Grossberg was born on April 10, 1870 in what was then Kovno in the Empire of Russia, now Kaunas, Lithuania. His father, Nathan Grossberg, was a teacher, linguist and Hebrew scholar. His mother, Pesha, was of a more practical bent, and supported the family in later years by running a candy and school supplies store." [3]

--"When Jacob was age two, the family moved to Brest-Litovsk in Russian Poland." [3]

--On their emigration to the United States: "The Nathan Grossberg family traveled across Europe by train, pausing in London before boarding ship for the United States. On the 7th day of June, 1882, a twelve year old boy [Jacob Grossberg] stood on the deck of the S.S. Lydian Monarch, looking in awe and anticipation at the skyline of New York City." [3-4]

--"The family boarded a hot train (no air-conditioning in those days) for Cleveland, Ohio, where eleven weary travelers descended upon Nathan's brother, Louis Grossberg, and his wife, Rebecca. . . .

After a few days in Cleveland, the family became convinced that Chicago was a city with greater opportunities, and once more boarded a westbound train. The disembarked at the old Twelfth Street Station, and hired a horse drawn conveyance to take them to the area of 12th Street and Halsted." [5]

--"In the fall of 1888 J.G. enrolled in the Union College of Law, which became the Northwestern University School of Law. . . . At the ripe age of 21 J.G. entered the practice of law." [7-8]

--"[R]eading, and also memorizing and composing poetry were great joys of J.G.'s life. He read all of Shakespeare's works numerous times, and once read the entire ninth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. While in law school, he found time to compose a book of poems. Julius Silversmith, the editor of 'The Occident', published the volume in June 1880 . . . . [9]


Jacob Gedaliah Grossberg, Poems (Chicago: The Occident Publishing Co., 1889)

____________________, Our Judges, Etc.: A Little Volume of Truth and Poetry (Chicago: J. Aronson, [1903])