Born in Warsaw, Jacobson emigrated to America with his Jewish family in 1918. Recognized as one of the leading algebraists of his generation, he was also famous for writing more than a dozen standard textbooks. He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1930 and was awarded a doctorate in mathematics from Princeton University in 1934. While working on his thesis, Non-commutative polynomials and cyclic algebras, he was advised by Joseph Wedderburn.
Jacobson taught and researched at Bryn Mawr College (1935–1936), the University of Chicago (1936–1937), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1937–1943), and Johns Hopkins University (1943–1947) before joining Yale University in 1947. He remained at Yale until his retirement.
He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He served as president of the American Mathematical Society from 1971 to 1973, and was awarded their highest honour, the Leroy P. Steele prize for lifetime achievement, in 1998. He was also vice-president of the International Mathematical Union from 1972 to 1974.
- Collected Mathematical Papers, 3 vols., 1989
- Basic Algebra. Freeman, San Francisco 1974
- Lectures in Abstract Algebra. 3 vols., Van Nostrand 1951, 1953, 1964, Reprint by Springer 1975 (Vol.1 Basic concepts, Vol.2 Linear Algebra, Vol.3 Theory of fields and Galois theory)
- Structure of Rings. AMS 1956
- The theory of Rings. 1943
- Lie Algebras. Interscience 1962
- Exceptional Lie Algebras. Dekker 1971
- Structure and Representation of Jordan Algebras. AMS 1968
- PI-Algebras. An Introduction. Springer 1975
See also 
- Jacobson–Bourbaki theorem
- Jacobson's conjecture
- Jacobson density theorem
- Jacobson radical
- Jacobson ring
- "Nathan Jacobson (1910-1999)". Notices of the AMS 47: 1061–71. 1999.
- "1998 Steele Prizes". Notices of the AMS 48: 504–8. 1998.
- Mills, W. H. (1952). "Review: N. Jacobson, Lectures in abstract algebra. Vol. I. Basic concepts". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 58 (5): 579–580.
- Dieudonné, J. (1953). "Review: N. Jacobson, Lectures in abstract algebra. Vol. II. Linear algebra". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 59 (5): 480–483.
- Herstein, I. N. (1967). "Book Review: Nathan Jacobson, Lectures in abstract algebra, Vol. III, Theory of fields and Galois theory". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 73 (1): 44–46.
- Baer, Reinhold (1946). "Review: Nathan Jacobson, The theory of rings". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 52 (3): 220–222.
- Hochschild, G. (1963). "Review: Nathan Jacobson, Lie algebras". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 69 (1): 37–39.
- Nathan Jacobson at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Nathan Jacobson", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.
- An interview with William L. Duren, Nathan Jacobson, and Edward J. McShane about their experiences at Princeton