Abraham Aron Roback

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Abraham Aron Roback , also Abraham Aaron Roback , (born June 19, 1890 in Gonionds , Russian Empire , now Poland ; died June 7, 1965 in Cambridge , Massachusetts ) was an American psychologist and Yiddish linguist .


Roback was born in 1890 as the youngest of four children in the small town of Gonionds in the Grodna Governorate of the then Russian Empire and emigrated with his family to Canada in 1892 , where he attended schools and in 1912 studied philosophy and experimental psychology at McGill University in Montreal completed. In 1917 he received his doctorate under Hugo Münsterberg at Harvard University , where he taught from 1920–1923. Other places of his academic work were the University of Pittsburgh (1917), the Northeastern University (1918-1920), the National Research Council (1923-1925), the Clark University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1926). From 1949 to 1959 he was a professor at Emerson College in Boston . In the field of psychology, he was mainly active in the field of character psychology ( The Psychology of Character , 1927) and the history of American psychology ( The History of American Psychology , 1952).

In addition, Roback was strongly committed to the Yiddish language. At Harvard University he built a Yiddish library with around 10,000 books. In 1929 he taught the first university-level course in Yiddish literature at the University of Massachusetts . He has written English and Yiddish contributions on Yiddish topics, including a history of Yiddish literature (1940) and a Goldfaden book about the playwright Abraham Goldfaden (1926). He was a member of numerous psychological and philosophical associations as well as a member of the academic council of YIVO .

In his Dictionary of International Slurs , published in 1944, Roback coined the term ethnophaulism , which is a derogatory term for members of foreign ethnic groups.


  • Gold thread bukh . New York: Yidisher Teater Muzey (1926)
  • The Psychology of Character (1927)
  • The Story of Yiddish literature. New York: Yiddish Scientific Inst., American Branch (1940)
  • A Dictionary of International Slurs (Ethnophaulisms). With a Supplementary Essay on Aspects of Ethnic Prejudice. Sci-Art Publishers, Cambridge MA 1944
  • The History of American Psychology (1952)
  • Destiny and Motivation in Language; Studies in Psycholinguistics and Glossodynamics. Cambridge, 1954
  • History of psychology and psychiatry . New York: Citadel Press, 1961
(German translation) World history of psychology and psychiatry. Translated from d. American: Klaus Thiele-Dohrmann , The modern non-fiction book, Bd. 90. Olten, Freiburg i. Br .: Walter, 1970

Individual evidence

  1. Lexicon of Psychology
  2. ^ Abraham Aron Roback: A Dictionary of International Slurs (Ethnophaulisms). With a Supplementary Essay on Aspects of Ethnic Prejudice. Sci-Art Publishers, Cambridge MA 1944.

Web links