Jacob Billikopf

Born: 1882 in Vilna, Lithuania, Russia

Died: 1950

Married: (1920) Ruth Marshall of Knollwood Club, Saranac Lake (d. 1936); Second marriage (1942) Esther Freeman

Children: Mrs. Florence Schweitzer, David Marshall Billikopf

Jacob Billikopf was born in Vilna, Lithuania, the son of Louis Layzer Bielikov and Glicke Katzenellenbogen and emigrated from Russia in 1895 with his sister, Miriam Billikopf, and lived with his older sister Rebecca Billikopf Tatarsky, in Richmond, Virginia.

Speaking no English on his arrival, he began his schooling in first grade at age 13 but by the end of the year had completed the eighth grade. He attended Richmond College and the University of Chicago where he earned a Bachelor of Philanthropy degree in 1903. He began a career in charitable work in Ohio and Wisconsin; he was head of the United Jewish Charities, from 1905 to 1907. He then served in Kansas City as vice-president of the Kansas City Board of Pardons and Paroles, a member of the Kansas City Board of Public Welfare, and Superintendent of the United Jewish Charities, in 1907. He was president of the Missouri State Conference of Charities, in 1911-1912.

He served as president of the National Conference of Jewish Social Workers and of the National Conference of Jewish Social Service, and as director of the campaign to raise $25,000,000 for Jewish war sufferers during World War I. After the War, he became the executive director of the Federation of Jewish Charities of Philadelphia. He also participated in the investigations of conditions in Russia and Eastern Europe for the United Jewish Campaign. Between 1936 and 1938 he directed the National Coordinating Committee for Aid to Refugees and Emigrants.

He also became involved in labor relations, serving as impartial chairman of an arbitration board in the men's clothing industry in New York City and of the ladies garment industry in Philadelphia. In 1933, he was appointed impartial chairman of the Federal Philadelphia Regional Labor Board.

He served on the advisory committee of the New School of Social Research, as chairman of the Committee of One Hundred for Unemployment Relief, treasurer and Chairman of the Executive Board of Howard University, and as vice-president of the American Association for Old Age Security. After World War II, Billikopf chaired one of the War Department's special clemency boards, reviewing 35,000 sentences meted out by the Army in general court-martial cases.

Jacob Billikopf was a contributor to The Nation and The Survey.

The University of Richmond conferred upon him an honorary LL.D in 1928.