JOSEPHSON, MATTHEW (1899–1978), U.S. author and historian. Born in Brooklyn, he lived for a time in Paris. He was a member of the editorial board of the international arts magazine Broom (1921–24), U.S. editor of Transition (1928–29), and assistant editor of the New Republic (1931–32). After a brief period in Wall Street, Josephson returned to literature in 1930 and became known as a writer on 19th-century French literature and American economic history. His books on French literature include biographical studies such as Zola and His Time (1928), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1931), and Victor Hugo (1942). He made a significant contribution to the revival of American interest in Stendhal with the study he published in 1946. Josephson's books on American history are moderately leftist in their approach, particularly in regard to the growth of industry. The Robber Barons (1934) dealt with the emergence of the 19th-century industrial and railroad magnates. His study of political corruption appeared in two volumes: The Politicos, 1865–1896 (1938) and The President Makers: 1896–1919 (1940). His other works include Portrait of the Artist as American (1930); Empire of the Air (1943), the story of an airline; Sidney Hillman, Statesman of American Labor (1952); Union House, Union Bar (1956); and Edison (1959), a biography. Josephson also wrote two volumes of recollections, Life among the Surrealists (1962) and The Infidel in the Temple: A Memoir of the 1930's (1967).
S.J. Kunitz and H. Haycraft, Twentieth Century Authors (1942), and First Supplement (1955). add. bibliography: D. Shi, Matthew Josephson, Bourgeois Bohemian (1981).
[Hans L. Trefousse]