An Impromptu Biography
[Reprinted from the Henry George News, April
Jack Schwartzman has been connected with the Henry George School
since 1938 when, as a student of Frank Chodorov, he was asked to
join the faculty. This was the same year that Schwartzman had be
come an attorney in the State of New York.
Born in Russia, Jack Schwartzman came to the United States in his
teens, and has been the recipient of four college degrees, including
two earned doctorates. His departure from Russia was dramatically
described in two widely quoted autobiographical essays, "Flight
from Kiev" (The Freeman, 1942) and "Lilacs"
Once he became bitten by the bug of teaching, as exemplified by
the fiery classes he conducted at the HGSSS, Jack Schwartzman
determined that teaching was to be his lifetime vocation, instead of
a hobby, and he did not stop until he achieved his burning desire.
After a short interval of teaching mathematics at The Rhodes School,
he persevered (teaching seven different courses) until he became
Professor of English at Nassau Community College. The greatest
tribute to any teacher was paid to him in March of 1974, when he was
nominated by the president of the college for the New York State
State Chancellor's Award for excellence in teaching.
At the Henry George School of Social Science, Schwartzman taught
twelve different courses, an with unvaryingly large enrollments. He
was also a member of the Speakers' Bureau and addressed numerous
audiences. On the last four decades, Schwartzman has spoken to
hundreds of groups on scores of diverse topics.)
Taking time out to serve in the Army of the United States (from
which he was discharged as an officer, and received a Citation),
Jack Schwartzman also contributed to the Georgist cause by
organizing two branches of the Henry George School: in Seattle (with
Robert Clancy and George Dana Linn) and in San Francisco (with J.
Rupert Mason). He is a member of the Academic Advisory Council of
the HGSSS, and recently was considered for nomination to its Board
The great thrill of Jack Schwartzman's life (besides teaching
classes jammed with beautiful girls) is writing. His book, Rebels of
Individualism (New York, 1949), made a tremendous impact on the
libertarian world. After having more than a hundred articles
published in various magazines, Schwartzman achieved his "success"
by becoming Chairman of the Board of Editors of Fragments magazine.
To this day he receives mail from all over the world asking that the
"temporarily dormant" intellectual quarterly be revived.
To all this urging his answer is: "Soon."
In 1973, Jack Schwartzman traveled through Israel as a member of
the American Professors for Peace in the Middle East. Speaking in
Israel, he propounded the tenets of Henry George.
As to his philosophy of teaching, Jack Schwartzman subscribes to
the Socratic method (which he learned at the Henry George School),
coupled with a brand of insanity, wild humor, and unrelenting
dynamism which stamp his classes as unique. For the rest of his
life, he pledges his troth with truth, as personified by Henry
George and the school that expounds his principles. And Jack
Schwartzman expects to be around for many eternities.
So much for the more-or-less objective biography of this most
interesting man: the dates, the places, and the events. But to write
objectively is to leave too much unsaid, for there is far more to
Jack than his remarkable accomplishments. A few lines must be
written from the heart, to bespeak his character and his
personality. He is gregarious, demonstrative, ebullient, and
volatile. However, these qualities are not a superficial pose; they
reflect a deep affection for people and a rare compassion for their
weaknesses. Socially, Jack is the best of boon companions, and
spirituality he is the warmest and truest of friends.
To hear Jack Schwartzman discuss Henry George is a revelation. He
is less intrigued by Georgist economic proposals (which he sincerely
advocates), than he is by George's love of liberty, his desire for
justice, and his hope for the future of humankind. To Schwartzman,
George is to be respected for his brilliance as a political
economist, but revered for the nobility of his social philosophy.
Such reactions show Jack's feeling for that which is right and good.
Perhaps this brief account is ending on a personal note, rather
than with editorial formality. But how do you write "objectively"
about someone you love?