Professor Adam Mendelsohn’s research and teaching focuses on how ethnic minorities have grappled with modernity, with a particular emphasis on the experience of Jews. He is the Isidore and Theresa Cohen Chair in Jewish Civilisation, and directs the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies.

Adam is co-editor of the journal Jewish Historical Studies, and past co-editor of American Jewish History. He curated the exhibitions The First Jewish Americans at the New-York Historical Society and By Dawn’s Early Light at the Princeton University Museum of Art.  

Research Interests and Areas of Supervision

  • Ethnic and religious minorities in South Africa
  • Modern Jewish history


  • The Rag Race: How Jews Sewed their Way to Success in America and the British Empire, New York University Press, Goldstein-Goren Series in American Jewish History (hardcover in 2015; paperback in 2016)
    • Winner of the Best First book Prize from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society
    • Winner of the National Jewish Book Award in American Jewish Studies
    • Winner of the quadrennial Book Prize from the Southern Jewish Historical Society
    • Finalist, Jordan Schnitzer Book Award from the Association for Jewish Studies
    • Finalist, Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature
  • Jewish Soldiers in the Civil War: The Union Army (New York University Press, 2022)
    • Finalist, National Jewish Book Award in American Jewish Studies
  • Jewish Soldiers in the Civil War: The Confederate Army (under contract with New York University Press)

Edited Volumes

  •  Yearning to Breathe Free: Jews in Gilded-Age America (Princeton: Princeton University Library, 2022, republished by Princeton University Press in 2023), a 21-essay collection coedited with Jonathan D. Sarna.
  • By Dawn’s Early Light: Jewish Contributions to American Culture from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War (Princeton University Library, 2016), exhibition catalog with 13 original essays
  • Transnational Traditions: New Perspective on American Jewish History, with Ava Kahn (Wayne State University Press, 2014)
  • Jews and the Civil War: a Reader, with Jonathan D. Sarna (New York University Press, 2010)

Published Reports

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • “The Civil War and Reconstruction,” The Oxford Handbook of American Jewish History (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)
  • “Jews and New Cities,” with Tobias Brinkmann in Jewish Culture and History 23, 4 (2023)
  • “The Legacies of the Civil War for American Jews,” in Adam Mendelsohn and Jonathan D. Sarna, eds., Yearning to Breathe Free: Jews in Gilded-Age America (Princeton: Princeton University Library, 2022), 27-54.
  • “South African Jewry” in the Oxford Bibliographies in Jewish Studies (with Milton Shain), 2021.
  • “Not the Retiring Kind: Jewish Colonials in England in the mid-19th century” in Maud Mandel, Ethan Katz, and Lisa Leff, eds., Colonialism and the Jews (Indiana University Press, 2017)
  • “Great Britain, the Commonwealth, and Anglophone Jewry,” The Cambridge History of Judaism, vol. 8 (Cambridge University Press, 2017)