« Back to News Archive

Irving Louis Horowitz, Founder of Transaction Publishers, Dies at 82


Irving Louis Horowitz

Irving Louis Horowitz, Hannah Arendt Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Political Science at Rutgers University, and founder of Transaction Publishers, passed away in Princeton, New Jersey, on March 21, 2012.


Piscataway, NJ, March 23, 2012 – With profound sadness, we announce the passing of Irving Louis Horowitz in Princeton, New Jersey, on March 21, 2012 after complications related to emergency heart surgery on February 26. Born in 1929 in New York City, he received a BSS from New York’s City College, an MA from Columbia University, and a PhD from the University of Buenos Aires, followed by a post doctoral fellowship at Brandeis University. At his death, he was Hannah Arendt Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Political Science at Rutgers University. Dr. Horowitz was also chairman of the board and editorial director of Transaction Publishers and chairman of the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy.

Dr. Horowitz’s academic career was long and varied, beginning with an associate professorship at the University of Buenos Aires and then at Bard College. He was chairman of the sociology department at Hobart and William Smith College, before moving on to Washington University in St. Louis in 1963, where he was instrumental in the founding of Transaction magazine, which later became Society. In 1969, he joined the graduate faculty of Rutgers University, where he served as chairman of the Livingston College sociology department until 1973. In 1979 he was named the Hannah Arendt Distinguished Professor of Social and Political Theory. He served as a visiting professor at numerous universities throughout the world and was a member of many professional associations, including the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Horowitz received many awards for his contributions to public life.

He was a prolific writer. Dr. Horowitz’s first published work (in 1952) was in philosophy, and his first book was The Renaissance Philosophy of Giordano Bruno. He has published nearly 50 books, many of which appeared in translation and multiple editions, as well as hundreds of articles and essays. Subjects ranged from political theory (Radicalism and the Revolt Against Reason, recently reissued, and Behemoth: Main Currents in the History and Theory of Political Sociology) to academic affairs and public policy (The Rise and Fall of Project Camelot, Ideology and Utopia in the United States) to publishing (Communicating Ideas, Publishing as a Vocation). He edited eleven volumes of Cuban Communism and is widely regarded as the authoritative voice on the subject. Dr. Horowitz’s most recent work, just published, is Hannah Arendt: Radical Conservative. Three major articles will be published in the next few months, including a major article addressing his relationship with and assessment of C. Wright Mills.  The article will be published in the July 2012 issue of Contemporary Sociology, the book review journal of the American Sociological Association.

 Howard Schneiderman, Professor of Sociology at Lafayette College, noted, “Irving Louis Horowitz was wary of all ideologies.  He was a liberal of the old sort, when liberalism was a philosophical position found midway between fascism on the Right, and communism, on the Left.  In his own writing he favored freedom over dictatorship, democracy over fascism and communism, and rational policy-making over ideological positioning on the Left and the Right.”

 Irving Louis Horowitz left two major institutions that he was instrumental in creating and developing: Transaction Publishers, which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year, and The Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy, now entering its fifteenth year. He was chairman of the board and editorial director of Transaction. His letters and papers dating back to the founding of Transaction have been contributed to the Paterno Libraries of The Pennsylvania State University as The Irving Louis Horowitz Transaction Publishers Archives.

 David Riesman called Dr. Horowitz, “simply a national treasure.” William Form, former editor of the American Sociological Review, has lauded him for “making a larger contribution to fundamental theory in social development and political sociology than any individual in the profession.” Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy, noted that “the empire of truth and information that Transaction has built is a tremendous accomplishment.” The founder of The Free Press, Jeremiah Kaplan, identified Horowitz as “one of the most eminent social science publishers of our time.”

 “As a publisher and editor,” Professor Schneiderman noted, “Irving Horowitz emphasized the truth and value of an author’s work no matter what that person’s values were, and as long as the research and writing met the highest standards of scholarship.”

Tom Radko, Editor of The Journal of Scholarly Publishing, Publisher Liaison and General Manager of Choice magazine, and Transaction Publishers Board member, said, “I have worked with words and books my entire professional life, but in a moment of profound loss, I am rendered speechless. It's not that the words don't come; it's that they cannot adequately express how significant a loss this means to me personally and to the scholarly publishing community as a whole.”

 Dr. Horowitz is survived by his wife, Mary Curtis Horowitz. Mary is also the president of Transaction Publishers. 

 “Transaction is Irving’s legacy, and now mine as well,” said Mary. “We are going to maintain and build Transaction, and continue publishing important books in social science, as he would have wanted.”

 Mary has asked that gifts in lieu of flowers be made to the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City or the Rutgers University Foundation.

 A memorial service will be held at a later date, and information will be provided well in advance.


 Related Links

New Jersey Star Ledger Obituary

The New York Times Obituary

NJ.Com Obituary with Guest Book

“A Social Scientist Who Made a Difference,” by Lionel Tiger, Darwin Professor of Anthropology Emeritus, Rutgers University

“Irving Louis Horowitz, A Force of Nature,” by Steve Balch, posted on The National Association of Scholars website

“A Final Article in Academic Questions by Irving Louis Horowitz,” posted by Ashley Thorne on The National Association of Scholars website

“Irving Louis Horowitz – Brainstorm,” posted by David Barash in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Can These Bones Live: Irving Louis Horowitz (1929-2012), by Carl L. Bankston, III, Professor of Sociology at Tulane University

Final Edit: Irving Louis Horowitz, 1929-2012, posted by Peter Wood, President of the National Association of Scholars, in The Chronicle of Higher Education

"Irving Louis Horowitz," by author Michael Ledeen, posted on his blog, Faster Please, on PJMedia

"The Sociologist as Ethical Entrepreneur," by Jonathan Imber in The Chronicle Review


Aileen Bryant-Allen
Transaction Publishers
732-445-2280, 117