Melvin David Landsberg

Melvin Landsberg, Professor Emeritus, long time faculty member of KU’s English Department, passed away on Saturday morning,March 5th, at the Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Born in Bronx, New York to Frank and Anna Landsberg, Melvin attended the New York City Public Schools, and went on to the City College of New York, majoring in History. He then earned his Master’s degree in History and a English Literature from Columbia University.
Before taking up his first full time teaching post, Melvin embarked in 1959 on a seminal year of travel in Europe. After a brief teaching stint at the University of Washington, Melvin arrived in Lawrence, Kansas in 1961 as a faculty member in the Department of English where he taught until his retirement in 2009.

Melvin was a scholar of the 20th century author John Dos Passos. His political biography, John Dos Passos’ Path to USA, was critically acclaimed, and remains a standard in the study of Dos Passos and American literature. Melvin’s deep knowledge and understanding of literature and history informed his teaching, fueled his lifelong interests in a wide range of topics, and made him an often fascinating conversationalist. Melvin is survived by many friends, colleagues, and acquaintances who, over the years, enjoyed Melvin for his insights, his wit, and his unique perspective on the world.

Funeral services will take place at the Rumsey Yost Funeral Home on Wednesday, March 9th, at 11:00 a.m. with burial following at the Lawrence Jewish Community Congregation’s Cemetery B’nai Israel in Eudora. Donations in Melvin
Landsberg’s memory may be made to the Lawrence Jewish Community Congregation, Highland Drive, Lawrence,Kansas 66044. Condolences may be sent at

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