NW Quadrant, East of Rock Creek, Federal Government Employees, Jewish, Translators

Cyrus Adler
(September 13, 1863 – April 7, 1940)

1627 R St NW, Historic Strivers Section neighborhood, DC.

Born in Arkansas, Adler was raised in Philadelphia and received undergraduate and masters degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He received a Ph.D from Johns Hopkins University and taught there before moving to Washington.

A scholar, editor and translator, Adler was the foremost scholar of Jewish history and culture of his era. He was instrumental in the founding of the American Jewish Historical Society in 1892, the first organization to promote the scientific study of the history of Jews in the Western Hemisphere. Adler was the honorary assistant curator for the Department of Semitics at the United States National Museum of the Smithsonian Institution from 1888 until 1893. At the Smithsonian, Adler also served as curator of Historic Archaeology and Historic Religions from 1889 to 1898, librarian from 1892 to 1905, and assistant secretary from 1905 to 1908. While serving in these posts, he discovered the sensational “Jefferson Bible,” a version of the New Testament edited by Thomas Jefferson, published by act of Congress in 1904.

In 1890, President Benjamin Harrison appointed him special commissioner to the Orient for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. This appointment took Adler on a world tour to encourage participation in the event.

Adler was the author of numerous scholarly books including Progress of Oriental Science in America during 1888 (1890), Christopher Columbus in Oriental Literature (1892), With Firmness in the Right: American Diplomatic Action Affecting Jews, 1840–1945 (1946), and a memoir, I Have Considered the Days (1941). He also translated a collection of stories, Told In the Coffee House: Turkish Tales (1898).