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Penn State University Libraries

The Jack Rabin Collection on Alabama Civil Rights and Southern Activists


Pennsylvania State University
University Libraries
Special Collections Library
104 Paterno Library
University Park, PA 16802

FAX 814/863-5318


Biography of Jack Rabin

Jack Rabin and E. D. Nixon in front of Dexter Ave. Baptist Church, Montgomery, AL, April 1974
Jack Rabin (left) and E. D. Nixon (right) in front of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama, April 1974.


Jack Michael Rabin, Professor of Public Administration and Public Policy at Penn State Harrisburg from 1988 to 2006, was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1945. Raised in Brooklyn and Rochester, New York, and later in Miami Beach and Miami, Florida, Rabin studied public administration at the University of Miami (B.A. 1965, M.A. 1967) and the University of Georgia (Ph.D., political science, 1972). Thereafter he amassed nearly all of the materials that comprise this collection during his years as Assistant Professor (1972-1977) and Law Enforcement Coordinator (1973-1976) at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama, where he organized a nighttime masters program in public administration. In 1974 Rabin founded an incorporated, non-profit organization called the Center for the Study of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights. The goal of the Center was to collect primary source materials in these areas. Rabin served as the Center's president. A colleague in public administration, Danny Crapps (Marvin Daniel Crapps, Jr., 1947-), and his father, Saul Rabin (1915-2005), were vice presidents. Jack Rabin and his colleagues visited notable Southern activists and civil rights leaders, gathering diverse written documents, oral histories, photographs, and films. Additionally, through his students in public administration, he gained access to Alabama State Patrol surveillance tapes, photographs, and newspaper clippings files pertaining to the civil rights movement.

Later, from 1976 to 1979, Rabin worked as an adjunct instructor at the Montgomery Police Academy. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1977, and he continued to teach at the Montgomery branch of Auburn University until 1980, when he left Alabama to become Associate Professor and head of the "Graduate Program for Administrators" at Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Finally, in 1988 he was appointed Full Professor at Penn State Harrisburg, where in 2001 he became coordinator of the masters program in public administration. Rabin is the author or editor of more than 30 books, the editor or a co-editor of six academic journals, the editor of the book series Public Administration and Public Policy, and the executive editor of The Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy.

Rabin's contact information from his time at Penn State
Jack Rabin's business card

The Center for the Study of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights dissolved in the 1980s, and its materials were transferred to an incorporated, non-profit organization called the Southern Public Administration Education Foundation (SPAEF). Located in Harrisburg, the purpose of SPAEF is to develop and disseminate information in the fields of public administration and management. Rabin transferred the Center's collection to the University's Special Collections Library in 2002. Jack Rabin died in Harrisburg, Pa., on 13 November 2006.