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Classroom Profile

Isaiah Leo Sharfman
The Michigan Alumnus 326

ISAIAH LEO SHARFMAN, Henry Car
ter Adams University Professor of 
Economics since 1947, and Chairman
 of the Department of Economics, has 
been active for many years in matters
 dealing with the relation of govern
ment to economic life, with particular 
reference to the regulation of railroads 
and other transport agencies.

An in
ternationally known economist, he
 served as President of the American
 Economic Association in 1945; and
 earlier, from 1929 to 1931, he was a
 member of the Editorial Board of the
 "American Economic Review." Pro
fessor Sharfman was chief investigator
 of commission regulation of public
 utilities, for the National Civic Fed
eration, in 1912-13, and he was direc
tor of an investigation of anti-trust 
policy, for the National Industrial
 Conference Board, during 1923-24.


From 1925 to 1937, he did research 
in administrative law and procedure 
for the Commonwealth Fund; from
 1933 to 1936 he was a member of the
 Advisory Committee on Railroad Em
ployment to the Federal Coordinator
 of Transportation; and in 1939 he was
 a member of the Advisory Committee
 on Economists and Social Scientists to
 the President's Committee on Civil
 Service Improvement.

Since 1936 Professor Sharfman has served, intermit
tently, as referee for the National Rail
road Adjustment Board, as a member 
and chairman of Presidential Emergency Boards, and as chairman of Ar
bitration Boards—all under the Rail
way Labor Act. He was an associate
 member of the National War Labor
 Board from 1942 to 1944 and a mem
ber of the National Railway Labor 
Panel from 1943 to 1946.

Professor 
Sharfman was born in Ukraine, Rus
sia, and came to the United States as
 a child. He was graduated from the
 Boston Latin School in 1904; he re
ceived an A.B. from Harvard in 1907 
and an L.L.B. from the same institu
tion in 1910. He served as an Assistant in Economics at Harvard from 
1908 to 1910, and the next year was
 spent at the Imperial Pei-Yang University, in Tientsin, China, where he 
was Professor of Law and Political
 Science.

Upon his return from China, Professor Sharfman, after spending a
 year in research, joined the University 
of Michigan faculty in the academic 
year 1912-13. He has remained at
 Michigan ever since, with the excep
tion of leaves of absence. In the sum
mer of 1939 he was Visiting Professor
 of Economics at Stanford University. 
 In 1938-39 he was President of the
 University Research Club, and in 1943
 he was named Henry Russel Lecturer. 


Among Professor Sharfman's numerous
 publications is a five-volume work en
titled "The Interstate Commerce Com
mission," a volume on "Railway Regu
lation," and one on "The American
 Railroad Problem." In 1939 he was
 awarded the James Barr Ames Prize
 by the Faculty of the Harvard Law 
School for his study of the Interstate 
Commerce Commission. Professor
 Sharfman is a member of a number 
of professional organizations. He also 
holds membership in the Harvard Club
 of New York and in the Cosmos Club
 of Washington. Professor and Mrs. 
Sharfman's three children are all alum
ni of the University—Warren Leonard
 Sharfman, '32; Nelson Ames Sharfman, '33, '351; and Marcia Sharfman
 Gilmartin, '37-39.