Melnick, Ralph 1946-
MELNICK, Ralph 1946-
PERSONAL: Born September 14, 1946, in New York, NY; son of Lester (an electrician) and Evelyn (a homemaker) Melnick; married Rachel Shana Levy (a teacher of English as a second language), June 1, 1969; children: Joshua Jacob, Ross David. Ethnicity:"Jewish." Education: New York University, B.A., 1968; Columbia University, M.S.L.S., 1970, M.A., 1974, M.Phil., 1975, Ph.D., 1977. Politics: "Independent and often outraged." Religion: Jewish.
ADDRESSES: Office—Williston Northampton School, 19 Payson Ave., Easthampton, MA 01027. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: New York City Department of Social Services, New York, NY, caseworker, 1970-71; Atlantic Counseling Center, counselor and supervisor of drug rehabilitation program, 1971; American Jewish Historical Society, Waltham, MA, archivist and librarian, 1971-72; Zionist Archives and Library, New York, NY, archivist and librarian, 1975-77; College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, head of special collections at library and lecturer in religion and history, 1977-84; Williston Northampton School, Easthampton, MA, library director and teacher of religion, 1984—. University of Massachusetts—Amherst, visiting professor of Judaic studies, 2002—. Avery Institute for African-American History and Culture, founding member of board of directors and curator of collections, 1980-84; American Jewish Historical Society, archivist and librarian, 1985-89; freelance archivist. Wartime service: "Conscientious objector."
(Editor and contributor) Columbia Encyclopedia, 4th edition, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1974.
(Compiler) The Wendell Mitchell Levi Library and Archives: A Catalog of Its Holdings, College of Charleston Library Associates (Charleston, SC), 1979.
(Editor and contributor) Barbara Hughes, Catalog of the Scientific Apparatus at the College of Charleston, 1800-1940, College of Charleston Library Associates (Charleston, SC), 1980.
(Coauthor) Guide for America: Holy Land Studies, Volume I, Arno (New York, NY), 1980, Volume II, Praeger (New York, NY), 1982, Volume III, Praeger (New York, NY), 1984.
From Polemics to Apologetics: Jewish-Christian Rapprochement in Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam, Van Gorcum (Assen, Netherlands), 1981.
The Life and Work of Ludwig Lewisohn, Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), Volume I: A Touch of Wildness, 1997, Volume II: This Dark and Desperate Age, 1998.
Contributor to books, including Studies in American Jewish Literature, Volume II, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 1983; and Anne Frank: Myth and Reality, edited by Alex Grobman, Martyrs Memorial and Holocaust Museum (Los Angeles, CA), 1997. Contributor to magazines, including Journal of Religion, Library Journal, Studies in American Jewish Literature, Civil War History, Library Scene, South Carolina Historical, and Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Graeco-Roman Period.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A biography of Senda Berenson, the founder of women's basketball; a study of the spiritual development of Anne Frank; a book on the political career of Raina Simons in revolutionary China.
SIDELIGHTS: Ralph Melnick once told CA: "I write primarily as a way of responding to what bothers me in the society around me, with the hope that some small bit of change may ultimately result from my efforts. The Lewisohn biography addressed issues of ethnic identity, regressive politics, and the life of the artist in America. The story of Meyer Levin's struggle to have his adaptation of Anne Frank's diary produced on the stage dealt with the suppression of free expression and the misuse of the Holocaust for ideological promotion. Thomas Johnson's legal lynching in Santa Fe is a sad tale of racism and the evils of capital punishment. My interest in Senda Berenson has grown out of her Jewish origins and her critique of athletics as outsized in America, which she noticed a century ago."
More recently he added: "The study of Raina Simons is an attempt to recapture a time when the passion for social and economic change was not yet dampened by the harsh recognition of ulterior motives by leaders on all sides. The examination of Anne Frank's spiritual development is an effort to restore to her the depth of perception that other, more shallow treatments have left behind."
"Finally," Melnick commented, "I write because it lends excitement, meaning, and deeply felt joy to my life."