Edward Mezvinsky

Mezvinsky with constitute

Edward Mezvinsky (back row, second from left) with family in the early 1950s. 1



Edward Maurice Mezvinsky was born in Ames, Iowa on January 17th, 1937 to immigrant parents Abe and Fannie. The youngest of four children, Mezvinsky worked alongside his father and brothers in the family grocery stores. According to his memoir, Mezvinsky attributes his determination and work-ethic to his immigrant parents, his father, a Jew from the Russian Empire and his mother, an immigrant from Poland.2 Since the Mezvinsky’s were the only Jewish family in Ames during the late 1940s, Edward travelled by Greyhound bus to East Des Moines to receive training in Hebrew and Yiddish from a Rabbi prior to his Bar Mitzvah at age thirteen.3 

Images of Edward Mezvinsky while he was growing up in Ames, Iowa. Also pictured is a letter from a 1955 basketball championship. 4

As a young man, Mezvinsky was a popular local athlete who excelled in football and basketball. After graduating from the University of Iowa in 1960, Mezvinsky earned a graduate degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley and a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law.  From 1965 to 1967, Mezvinsky served as a legislative assistant to United States Congressman Neal Smith from Iowa’s 4th District.5

  • 1. Photograph from Box 18, Folder 1, Edward M. Mezvinsky Papers, MS 274, Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives
  • 2. Edward Mezvinsky with Kevin McCormally and John Greenya, A Term to Remember (New York : Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1977), 25-26.
  • 3. Mezvinsky, Edward, interview with Mark Barron and Hilary Seo, 8 October 2018. Parks Library, Iowa State University.
  • 4. Photographs from the Edward M. Mezvinsky Papers, MS 274, Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives.
  • 5. Mezvinsky’s biography and education is available through the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-Present, http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=M000686.