Nathan Ross Margold

Nathan Ross Margold (1899 - December 17, 1947) was a Romanian-born American lawyer. He was a municipal judge in Washington, D.C., and the author of the 1933 Margold Report to promote civil rights for African-Americans through the courts. He was also a supporter of Native American civil rights. In addition to his legal career, Margold is remembered as the father of adult film pioneer William Margold.

Nathan Ross Margold
Iași, Romania
DiedDecember 17, 1947
Alma materCity College of New York
Harvard Law School

Early life

Nathan Ross Margold was born in Iași, Romania in 1899, to Wolf Margulies and Rosa Kahan. He was brought to the United States at age two. Growing up in Brooklyn, he graduated from City College of New York in 1919.[1] Margold then attended Harvard Law School.[2] He was a "protege" of Felix Frankfurter.[3][4]


Margold began his career by teaching the Law at his alma mater, the Harvard Law School.[5] In 1933,[2] Margold wrote the Margold Report, a "blueprint" for the NAACP to advance civil rights for African-Americans through the courts.[3]

Margold worked as a lawyer in the United States Department of the Interior from 1933 to 1942,[5] including as an aide to Interior Secretary Harold L. Ickes.[6] In 1940, he wrote the introduction to the Handbook of Federal Indian Law by Felix S. Cohen.[7] Margold believed that Indian self-governance was "a revealing record in the development of our American constitutional democracy."[7]

Margold was a member of the Modern Forum of the League for Peace and Democracy, an organization named as a "Communist front organization" by witnesses during a hearing of the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1938.[8]

Margold served as a judge on the municipal court of appeals for the District of Columbia from 1942 to 1947.[5][6]


Margold died on December 17, 1947 in Washington, D.C.[6][9]


  1. Strum, Philippa (2010). "Nathan Ross Margold". American National Biography. Oxford University Press / American National Biography.
  2. Williams, Juan (January 18, 2004). "THE COURTS; Poetic Justice". The New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  3. Rice, Condoleezza (2017). Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom. New York: Grand Central Publishing. p. 59. ISBN 9781455540181.
  4. Smith, Jason Scott (2006). Building New Deal Liberalism: The Political Economy of Public Works, 1933-1956. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. p. 61. ISBN 9780521139939. OCLC 761547167.
  5. "Judge Margold Dies". The Fresno Bee. Fresno, California. December 16, 1947. p. 14. Retrieved January 1, 2018 via
  6. "Other Deaths". The News Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. December 17, 1947. p. 33. Retrieved January 1, 2018 via
  7. "Indians Entitled To All Rights of U.S. Citizenship". The Independent Record. Helena, Montana. August 10, 1940. p. 5. Retrieved January 1, 2018 via
  8. "War Reporter Bares Slaying of Americans. Communists Rule Loyalist Roost, Inquiry Told". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, New York. November 23, 1938. p. 3. Retrieved January 1, 2018 via
  9. "Jurist Dies". The Los Angeles Times. p. 12. Retrieved January 1, 2018 via

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