Nathan Ausubel

Nathan Ausubel

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Nathan Ausubel was an American historian, folklorist and humorist.


Ausubel was born in Leżajsk
Leżajsk is a town in southeastern Poland with 14,127 inhabitants . It has been situated in the Subcarpathian Voivodship since 1999 and is the capital of Leżajsk County. Leżajsk is famed for its Bernadine basilica and monastery, built by the architect Antonio Pellacini...

, Galicia, the sixth of eight children, and immigrated with his family to New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 in 1907, where he later attended Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

. Ausubel enlisted in the Jewish Legion
Jewish Legion
The Jewish Legion was the name for five battalions of Jewish volunteers established as the British Army's 38th through 42nd Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers...

's 39th Battalion during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and fought in the Jordan Valley
Jordan Valley (Middle East)
The Jordan Valley forms part of the larger Jordan Rift Valley. It is 120 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide, where it runs from Lake Tiberias in the north to northern Dead Sea in the south. It runs for an additional 155 kilometer south of the Dead Sea to Aqaba, an area also known as Wadi...


He was married to Marynn Ausubel (1913–1980) and had one daughter, Ethel Frimmet. His cousin, Dr. Herman Ausubel, was a professor of Victorian history at Columbia, and his nephew David P. Ausubel was a noted professor, educator, ethnographer, and a pioneer in cognitive educational psychology.


"Jews have received their tempering from an unflinching realism learned for a high fee in the school of life; they have always felt the need of fortifying their spirits with the armor of laughter against the barbs of the world."- A Treasury Of Jewish Folklore, 1948.

"[Folklore is a true and unguarded portrait, for where art may be selective, may conceal, may gloss over defects and even prettify, folk art is always revealing, always truthful in the sense that it is spontaneous expression."- A Treasury Of Jewish Folklore, 1948.

"First you laugh at a Jewish joke or quip. Then, against your will, you suddenly fall silent and thoughtful. And that is because Jews are so frequently jesting philosophers. A hard life has made them realists, realists without illusion." - A Treasury of Jewish Humor, 1951.

"Of all the astonishing experiences of the widely dispersed Jewish people none was more extraordinary than that concerning the Khazars."- Pictorial History of the Jewish People, 1953.


  • Encyclopaedia Judaica
    Encyclopaedia Judaica
    The Encyclopaedia Judaica is a 26-volume English-language encyclopedia of the Jewish people and their faith, Judaism. It covers diverse areas of the Jewish world and civilization, including Jewish history of all eras, culture, holidays, language, scripture, and religious teachings...

    , Ausubel, Nathan