Irwin Abrams (1914-2010) was Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He was regarded as one of the world's leading authorities on the history of the Nobel Peace Prize. His book, The Nobel Peace Prize and the Laureates, 1901-1987 was selected by the American Library Association as one of the "outstanding reference works of 1989." The Centennial Edition, revised and covering the years 1901-2001, appeared in November 2001, published by Science History Publications.
In 2008, Newmarket Press published an updated Fourth Edition of his Words of Peace: Selections from the Speeches of the Nobel Peace Prize Winners of the 20th Century, with a foreword by President Jimmy Carter. The fifth volume of the authorized edition of the Nobel Peace Lectures, which he edited with Scott London, appeared in 2009.
Born in San Francisco, Irwin graduated from Stanford University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated in 1934. He received his M.A degree from Harvard University in 1935 and the Ph.D. in 1938. An early pioneer peace historian, his doctoral dissertation on the 19th century peace movement shared Harvard's Sumner Prize.
A Quaker, he left his teaching position at Stanford University during World War II to serve with the American Friends Service Committee in the relief and reconstruction work which helped earn the Committee the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947.
Antioch College appointed him in 1947 to establish the department of History, and he taught European history and International Studies there for over thirty years. A theorist and practitioner of international education, he helped organize Antioch Education Abroad, he was the Coordinator of International Programs for the Great Lakes Colleges Association, and he served as president of the International Society for Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Interchange.
His Fulbright was at the University of Cologne. He organized educational programs in both western and eastern Europe and consulted with the U.S. Departments of State and Education. He served on the editorial board of the Antioch Review and was chairman of the Board of Managers of the Quaker monthly, Friends Journal The Spring, 1994, issue of the Organization of American Historians' Magazine of History on "Peacemakers in American History" was dedicated to him "with the appreciation of the Peace History Society."
In 1997 he received the degree of Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Antioch University. In 2000 he was honored For Distinguished Lifetime Service in the Research and Popularization of the Cause of Peace in History by the Peace History Society and the Peace History Commission of the International Peace Research Association. He was inducted into the Dayton Walk of Fame in 2007
Irwin Abrams married Freda Morrill in 1939. They lived together in Portola, California, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, and Yellow Springs, Ohio, until her death in 1999. He passed away on December 16, 2010 at the age of 96.