Max Ascoli

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Max Ascoli
Born (1898-06-25)June 25, 1898
Ferrara, Italy
Died January 1, 1978(1978-01-01) (aged 79)
New York City
Nationality Italian, American
Employer New School for Social Research, University of Rome, University of Ferrara
Spouse(s) first: Anna Maria Cochetti (Anna Maria Armi); second: Marion Rosenwald Ascoli
Children Peter Ascoli
Parent(s) Enrico Ascoli, Adriana Finzi

Max Ascoli (1898–1978) was a Jewish Italian-American professor of political philosophy and law at the New School for Social Research, United States of America.[1]


Ascoli's career started in Italy and continued in the United States.[citation needed]


Ascoli was born in Ferrara, Italy on June 25, 1898, into an Italian Jewish family. He was the only child of Enrico Ascoli, a coal and lumber merchant, and Adriana Finzi. In 1920, he graduated in Law from the University of Ferrara. In 1921, he published a critical study of French socialist Georges Sorel. In 1924, he published a biography of philosopher Benedetto Croce. In 1928, he graduated in Philosophy from the University of Rome.[1]


In 1928, Ascoli held the chair of Philosophy of Law at the University of Rome,[2] but he was arrested.[3]

In 1929, he accepted a post at the University of Cagliari (Sardinia). His opposition to the Italian fascist regime, however, led him into exile.

United States[edit]

In 1931, Ascoli received a Rockefeller Foundation scholarship and moved to the United States.[3] In 1939, he became an American citizen.

He was active in the Mazzini Society, an anti-fascist organization founded in 1939 by Italian intellectuals who had fled fascist Italy.[2]

For many years, Ascoli taught at the New School for Social Research, becoming dean of the Graduate School (1939–41). He left the New School to serve the government for two years under Nelson A. Rockefeller, then Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs. He then went on to focus on a new magazine.[1]

The Reporter[edit]

In 1949, Ascoli joined James Reston to found The Reporter (magazine), an influential, liberal magazine for some two decades (1949-1968). Its circulation peaked at 215,000 readers. In 1968, Ascoli merged the publication with Harper’s Magazine.[3]

Contributors included: Dean Acheson, James Baldwin, McGeorge Bundy, Isaac Deutscher, Theodore Draper, John Kenneth Galbraith, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Irving Howe, Henry Kissinger, Irving Kristol, Boris Pasternak, Eugene V. Rostow, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Peter Viereck, and Edmund Wilson.

Personal life and death[edit]

Ascoli was married twice. His first wife was Italian poet Anna Maria Cochetti (who wrote under the pen name Anna Maria Armi); he divorced her in 1940. His second wife was Marion Rosenwald Ascoli, whom he married in 1940. (She was also previously married to Alfred K. Stern, whom she divorced in 1936.) She had been chairwoman and president of the Citizens Committee for Children of New York and previously president of the New York Fund for Children and of the Northside Center for Child Development in Harlem. Marion Ascoli died in 1990, aged 1988. Their son is Peter Ascoli, author of Julius Rosenwald, a book about his maternal grandfather.[1][4][5][6]

Ascoli died after a long illness at his home in Manhattan on January 1, 1978 at the age of 79.[1]


The Immigration History Research Center, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, houses Max Ascoli's papers. His books include criticism of Italian fascist Corporatism.

Books written[edit]

  • Vie dalla Croce (1924)
  • Saggi Vichiani (1928)
  • Gíustizia: Saggio di Filosofia del Diritto (1930)
  • Intelligence in Politics (1936)
  • Fascism: Who Benefits? (1939)
  • War Aims and America's Aims (1941)
  • Power of Freedom (1949)

Books co-written[edit]

  • Fascism for Whom? with Arthur Feiler (1938)

Books edited[edit]

  • Political and Economic Democracy, edited by Max Ascoli and Fritz Lehmann (1937)
  • Fall of Mussolini, His Own Story, translated from the Italian by Francis Frenaye, edited and with a preface by Max Ascoli (1948)
  • Reporter Reader (1956)
  • Our Times: The Best from the Reporter (1960)
  • Reporter Reader (1969)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Max Ascoli Papers". Boston University. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Ascoli, Max, Papers". University of Minnesota. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "How Special Collections archival holdings tell the story of our time". Boston University. 23 November 2001. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "Peter Ascoli". Spertus. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "Peter Max Ascoli". National Public Radio. 16 September 2006. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Fowler, Glenn (2 October 1990). "Marion Rosenwald Ascoli, 88, Longtime Advocate for Children". Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "Max Ascoli". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 


  • Null, Gary; Carl Stone (1976). The Italian-Americans. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books. pp. 95–96. 
  • Vericella, Diana (1999). Carpetto, George; Evanac, Diane M., eds. Italian Americans of the Twentieth Century. Tampa: Loggia Press. pp. 18–19. 
  • "Ascoli, Max, Papers". University of Minnesota. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  • "Max Ascoli Papers". Boston University. Retrieved 9 March 2013.