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Male, US, born 1918-07-15, died 1989-06-25

Professional History


Myer Wolfe joined the US Army Air Forces (USAAF) on 06/17/1942, and served in both World War II and the Korean War. He left the military at the rank of Captain. During World War II, he served in the Burmese-Chinese-Indian theatre of operations.

Principal, M.R. Wolfe Associates, Seattle, WA. He maintained this side practice, M.R. Wolfe Associates, consulting with cities and organizations on planning issues from the 1940s through the 1970s. According to his obituary in the Seattle Times, "An internationally recognized expert on urban development, Wolfe traveled widely as a consultant and lecturer. Myer Wolfe worked on projects in Scandinavia, Australia, Myanma (formerly Burma), South Korea, Turkey, Yugoslavia, and throughout the U.S." (See Joanne Plank, "Myer Wolfe, 70, UW urban expert," Seattle Times, 06/28/1989, p. H3.)

From a web site listing endowed funds at the University of Washington's College of Built Environments, Wolfe's perspectives on urban design and planning were explicated: "He believed first and foremost in thinking about and creating good environments, and was one of the founders of urban design, an interdisciplinary field that includes urban planning, architectural and landscape design considerations. Professor Wolfe saw urban design as humanistic and working toward the good of our built environment. He felt the alliance of the design and planning professions was essential for the betterment of our environment and so, too, was constant questioning and even shattering of established beliefs about them. Professor Wolfe sought to expose planning and design to the social sciences, which to him were a necessary addition (though not a replacement) to concerns for the physical dimension of the environment. His personal interests were in urban form, the town as artifact, the urban design process, and comparative urbanism." (See University of Washington, College of Built Environments, "About the Myer R. Wolfe Endowed Fund," accessed 03/06/2018.)


Assistant Professor of Architecture (City Planning), University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 1948-1949. (See, Source Citation Kansas State Historical Society; Topeka, Kansas; Collection Name: Population Schedules and Statistical Rolls: Cities (1919-1961); Reel Number: 16-702, accessed 01/12/2017.)

Assistant Professor, University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Seattle, WA, School of Architecture, 1949-1954. Wolfe taught urban planning when in the School of Architecture when he first arrived in Seattle.

Assocate Professor, University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Seattle, WA, School of Architecture, 1954-1958.

Professor, University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Seattle, WA, School of Architecture, 1958-1983.

Founding Chair, University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Seattle, WA, Department of Urban Planning, 1957-1967.

Director, University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Seattle, WA, Urban Design Program, 1973-1975.

Dean, University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Seattle, WA, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, 1979-1982. Wolfe retired from UW in 1983.

An endowed fund in the name of Myer R. Wolfe was set up in the UW College of Architecture and Urban Planning (CAUP, later renamed the "College of Built Environments.")

A memorial service for Wolfe was held in 10/1989.

Professional Activities

Wolfe worked with the Quincy, WA, Planning Commission to produce A Comprehensive Plan for Quincy, Washington (1956). He collaborated with the Weyehaeuser Corporation on Locational Factors Involved in Surburban Development (1961).

Professional Awards

Wolfe received two Fulbright Fellowships for study abroad, one in Denmark in 1959, and another in Italy in 1965.

He was inducted to the University of Washington College of Architecture and Urban Planning Roll of Honor.

Recipient, University of Washington, Seattle (UW), College of Built Environments, Distinguished Faculty Award for Lifetime Achievement, Seattle, WA, 2018. The College of Built Environments said of his achievement in teaching at the UW in 2018: "Myer R. ('Mike') Wolfe (1918-1989) joined the UW faculty in 1949, serving until 1982. He was the founder and first chair of the Department of Planning (now Urban Design & Planning) and he served as Dean of the College from 1979 to 1982. In his professional career in planning and urban design, he was a leading advocate of participatory processes and community involvement." (See University of Washington, Seattle (UW), College of Built, "Ten honored with new CBE Distinguished Faculty Award for Lifetime Achievement," published 2018, accessed 08/02/2022.)


The Myer R. Wolfe Papers, 1944-1986, are held in the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections Division Collection #3390.


High School/College

Graduate, Haverhill High School, 91 Howard Street, Haverhill, MA. B.A., University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH. At the University of New Hampshire, Wolfe belonged to the Outing Club during his first through third years, played football and hockey in year one and ran track in his Freshman year. He belonged to Alpha Sigma fraternity.

Master of Regional Planning, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 09/1947. His Cornell thesis was entitled "The Current Toll Road Trend."



The Wolfe Family lived at 145 Boylston Street in Malden, MA, in 1920. (See, Source Citation Year: 1920; Census Place: Malden Ward 7, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_713; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 288; Image: 916, accessed 01/12/2017.)

In 1930 and 1940, Wolfe resided with his family at 91 Howard Street in Haverhill, MA. The household included his parents and brother. and sister, and a cousin of his, Leo Kravitz (born c. 1919 in NY), who was about the same age as Myer. Their house was worth approximately $7,000 in 1930 and $5,000 in 1940, solidly middle class by the standards of the time. (See, Source Citation Year: 1940; Census Place: Haverhill, Essex, Massachusetts; Roll: T627_1581; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 5-142, accessed 01/12/2017.)

In 1983, he lived at 6300 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA, 98115-7954.

Wolfe died in Seattle, WA; his last address was in the 98115 zip code (Ravenna) of the city;


His father was Bernard Wolfe (born 05/25/1890 in Mitau [now Jelgava] in Latvia), his mother, Esther Kravitz (born c. 1890-d. 05/12/1969). They married, both aged 22, in Boston, MA, in 1912, and both were the children of Eastern European-Jewish immigrants. Bernard, in 1912, worked as a plumber, Esther, a knitter. In 06/1917, a World War I draft registration form indicated that Bernard worked for Sam Gould, a plumber in Malden, MA. (See, Source Citation Registration State: Massachusetts; Registration County: Middlesex; Roll: 1674359; Draft Board: 2. Source Information U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005, accessed 01/12/2017.)

The 1920 US Census indicated that Bernard entered the US (from Russia) in 1907, while Esther came to the US in 1909 from Minsk, Belarus. She was still registered as an "alien" in 1920. A 1921 Federal naturalization document indicated that Bernard arrived on 08/21/1907 in New York, NY, and was naturalized on 06/23/1921. (See, Source Citation National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NAI Number: M1368; Source Information Massachusetts, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011, accessed 01/12/2017.)

By 1930, Bernard operated his own plumbing business. The US Census of that year indicated that, rather than being of Russian nationality, Bernard had originated in Latvia. His birthplace, Mitau, Courland, Latvia, was, at various times, under German, Polish, Russian and Latvian control. On 03/16/1795, the Russian Empire annexed Courland and, when Bernard lived there, Russian, German and Yiddish would have been spoken in this central Latvian region.

The 1930 US Census also listed Esther's place of origin as Poland. (See, Source Citation Year: 1930; Census Place: Haverhill, Essex, Massachusetts; Roll: 897; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0074; Image: 317.0; FHL microfilm: 2340632, accessed 01/12/2017.) If Esther had been born in Minsk, that city had been under Russian Imperial control since 1793.

Myer's siblings included Lilian Gerskovitz Wolfe (1912-1996) and Max Wolfe (1913-1989).


He married Rosamond Virginia Fellman (born Newburyport, MA, in 1924) in Broward County, FL, in 1943. She attended Newburyport High School. Her father was a Russian Jewish immigrant who, in 1940, operated a variety store in Newburyport. (See, Source Citation Year: 1940; Census Place: Newburyport, Essex, Massachusetts; Roll: T627_1587; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 5-284, accessed 01/12/2017.) Her mother, Cecelia, also of the same heritage, maintained a household that included three children, Malcolm (1915-1986) and Sumner (1919-2001). Sumner Fellman attended the University of New Hampshire at the same time that Myer Wolfe was there, and may have known him.


Myer and Rosamond Wolfe had two sons, Chuck Wolfe, an environmental and land-use attorney, and Michael Wolfe, who became an archtiect. At their father's death in 1989, Chuck lived in MA, and Michael in Portland, OR.

Biographical Notes

He was nicknamed "Mike" Wolfe. Wolfe was a friend of the noted historian of urban development John W. Reps (b. 11/25/1921), who graduated from Cornell University in the same year as Wolfe, 1947.

Myer and Rosamond Wolfe traveled from Hälsingborg, Sweden, to Boston, MA, between 10/1954 until 11/03/1954, aboard the Swedish American Liner, M.S. Uddeholm. (See, Source Citation The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, January 1944 - November 1954; NAI Number: 2668739; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: A3604; NARA Roll Number: 21, accessed 01/12/2017.)

SSN: 020-16-5699.

Associated Locations

PCAD id: 2440