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Samuel M. Levin Papers

Identifier: WSP000059

Scope and Content

The papers of Samuel M. Levin reflect his career as a professor of economics, and his contributions through lectures, writing and community involvement to areas of labor, population, education, technology and Jewish life.

Series Description: Series 1, 1915-1975 Correspondence, reports, minutes, clippings, and miscellaneous items pertaining to various committees, faculty and administrative members of Central High School, and Wayne State University and its predecessors including Detroit Junior Colleqe, College of the City of Detroit and Wayne University. Many of the files contain material on the creation and development of various departments and curricula. Of importance are the files relating to the College of the City of Detroit Committee on Faculty Participation, which was chaired by Professor Levin, and include the "Articles of Cooperation" written by the Committee which outlined the power structure of faculty members and administration and stated departmental procedures.

Series 2, 1899-1975 Bioqraphical material on Samuel Levin, personal correspondence with family, friends and colleagues. Family correspondence reflects activities and attitudes on a variety of subjects including life in Washington D.C. during World War II, Levin's student days at the University of Michigan, as well as Jewish family life. Professor Levin made several trips to Europe and to Palestine. Particularly well documented are the tours of 1921, 1927 and 1936 in which he describes in a panoramic style countries, people, living conditions and Arab terrorism. Departing from his relatives in Poland in 1927 he felt "that those who are left behind are left to a helpless fate...". All of them perished in the holocaust with the exception of one. Also included in this series is correspondence between Levin and his colleagues at other universities. There are letters that reflect his involvement in community affairs and Jewish organizations and a photocopied scrapbook that primarily consists of clippings.

Series 3, 1894-1975 (bulk 1920-1975) Publications and lecture notes of Samuel Levin and correspondence concerning publications and lectures. Pamphlets, clippings and notes collected for research. In addition to the above materials there is often professional correspondence discussing the contents of his published works. Many of the correspondents in this series are leaders in fields of education, economics and labor. The first folder in this series contains a list of many of Professor Levin's publications on economics, labor, education, population, technology and Jewish topics.


  • 1871 - 1975
  • Majority of material found within 1912 - 1975


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials.


Samuel Mordecai Levin, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Wayne State University, was distinguished for his forty-three year career with Wayne State University and its antecedents, his publications and community service. Born in Liskovo, Poland, June 6, 1888, the son of Rabbi Judah Levin, an influential leader of Detroit's Jewish community, Samuel Levin was educated in Detroit Public Schools and received a B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1912 and an M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1925.

From 1915 to 1919, Professor Levin was an instructor of history and economics at Detroit Central High School and Detroit Junior College, then housed in the same building. In 1920, he served as Chairman of the History Committee, organized to revise the history curriculum of the secondary schools of the City of Detroit.

In 1925, Samuel Levin was named Professor and head of the Social Science Department of the College of the City of Detroit. When this institution became Wayne University in 1933, he was appointed Professor of Economics and Chairman of the Department, a position he held until 1953. He retired in 1958. During his long career, Professor Levin was active in University activities. In the early 1930's, he was chosen head of a committee for faculty participation in the government of the College of the City of Detroit. The resulting Constitution, with amendments, is still functioning at Wayne State University. He served as a member of the Faculty Council of the College of Liberal Arts, from 1935-1937, the University Council from 1936-1940, the Graduate School Committee on Research in 1944 and in 1945 the Committee to Advise on Allocation of Equipment Funds for 1945-1946.

Among his students were Saul Padover, Irving Paster, Walter and Victor Reuther and Louis G. Seaton. Upon his retirement in 1958, the Samuel M. Levin Econ-omics Award at Wayne State University was established to recognize students of merit in the Economics Department. Lectures on economics, population and Jewish themes were delivered through the years and included appearances at the University of Michigan, a national convention of the American Economic Association, the hundredth anniversary marking the birth of Justice Louis Brandeis, and in 1965 Levin was the guest of honor and speaker at the Dedication Dinner of the Yeshivath Beth Yehudah, His interest in labor and in the Jewish community led to involvement in civic and community work. In. 1931, Professor Levin was named a member of the Mayor's Unemployment Committee and the Mayor's Committee on Labor. From 1935-1939, he was a member of the Budget Review Committee of the Council of Social Agencies of Metropolitan Detroit and in 1943 was a member of the labor panel of the American Arbitration Association, From 1936-1939 he served as President of the Social Service Bureau, now the Jewish Family and Children's Service. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the United Hebrew Schools, of the Board of Jewish Vocational Service, and from 1958-1960, as President of the Jewish National Fund of Metropolitan Detroit. He was actively involved with the Jewish Community Center until his death in October, 1975. Topics concerning labor and economics were treated by Professor Levin in numerous scholarly publications. Important articles on education, labor, technology, population and Jewish themes appeared in various leading professional journals. He also had two books published including Maithus and the Conduct of Life in 1967 and Essays on American Industrialism in 1973.


5 Linear Feet ((10 MB), 6 card files)


From 1915-1919 Professor Levin taught history and economics at Detroit Central High School and Detroit Junior College. In 1920 he served as Chairman of the History Committee, organized to revise the history curriculum of the secondary schools of the City of Detroit. He was appointed Professor of Economics and Chaired the Economics Department from 1933-1953. Subjects include, Equity of Sacrifice Program, Ford Motor Company labor policies, 1919-1934, Jewish life, Menorah Society, 1911-1912, and the Economics Department, Labor Program and the founding of the Business Administration Department.


Arranged in 3 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-2), Series 2 (Boxes 2-3), and Series 3 (Boxes 3-10). Files are arranged alphabetically by subject or correspondent, with papers filed chronologically within each folder.

Series 1: Wayne University department files are arranged before files of general correspondence of the University. Series 2: folder dates are inclusive and do not necessarily represent a continuous run of material.


The papers of Samuel M. Levin were placed in the Wayne State University Archives in June, 1958 by Professor Levin and in November, 1975 and May, 1977 by the Levin family.


Six file card drawers contain Professor Levin's notes and a few clippings on backqround research for classes and publications. Cards are arranged by broad subject classifications and include notes on John Dewey, economics, Thomas Malthus and population, speed, technology, unemployment and wages.

Books on various topics concerning labor and economics have been placed in the Archives' Library.

Approximately thirty photographs, dating from 1865 to 1964, have been placed in the Audio-Visual Archives. The earlier photographs are of the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers' Society, Levin as a young man, Univer-sity of Michigan Adelphi Society and the Young Judea Convention. Later photographs are of the annual conferences of the Michigan Region of the Jewish National Fund and President Lyndon B. Johnson speaking at the University of Michigan.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in March 1978.
Guide to the Samuel M. Levin Papers
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Ave.
Detroit MI 48202 USA