Dr. Morris Roseman, retired psychologist, professor, poet and civil rights activist, dies

Dr. Morris Roseman received the Maryland Psychological Association’s Outstanding Psychologist award in 1974.
Dr. Morris Roseman received the Maryland Psychological Association’s Outstanding Psychologist award in 1974. (Handout)

Dr. Morris Roseman, who had various careers as a psychologist, professor and poet, and was a lifelong staunch and outspoken supporter of civil rights and the American Civil Liberties Union, died March 12 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at his home in Walnut Creek, Calif.

The former longtime Pikesville resident had celebrated his 100th birthday nine days before his death.


The son of immigrant parents, Meyer Roseman, a grocer, and his wife, Rebecca Rubenstein Roseman, Morris Roseman was born in Baltimore and raised above his parents’ North Avenue grocery store.

He was a 1936 graduate of Polytechnic High School and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from the University of Maryland, College Park.


After he married the former Myra Goldenberg in 1942, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, where he served as a lieutenant in communications and intelligence, and participated in the occupation of Japan after World War II ended in 1945.

After being discharged in 1946 from the Army, Dr. Roseman entered Duke University on the GI Bill. He obtained his Ph.D. in clinical psychology and was a 1949 Phi Beta Kappa graduate.

Dr. Roseman then worked as chief psychologist at the Veterans Administration hospital in Lexington, Ky., and later was assistant chief psychologist at the VA hospital in Roanoke, Va.

In 1955, Dr. Roseman returned to Baltimore as chief psychologist at the Mental Hygiene Clinic.

“Shortly after I arrived in Maryland a ‘scandal’ erupted over the apparent sale of medical licenses,” Dr. Roseman wrote for Duke Psychology & Neuroscience.

“In the furor over credentialing health professionals, the Maryland Psychological Association was able to arrange to have the legislature pass a law protecting the title ‘psychologist.’ I was very active in the legislative effort and was very visible in the legislature. I was elected vice-chair of the first Maryland Board of Examiners of Psychologists in 1958 and the following year was chair of the board,” he wrote.

In 1966, Dr. Roseman was recruited by the University of Maryland School of Dentistry as an associate professor in the newly established Department of Community Dentistry, where “one major component of that federally funded program was to enable ‘underprivileged’ students, mostly African Americans, to enroll and succeed as graduates of the school — as dentists,” he wrote.

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“I had a major role in recruiting the students, monitoring their progress, supporting their needs, and working with faculty to provide a welcoming environment,” Dr. Roseman wrote. “Although the University of Maryland is the oldest dental school in the world, it had not enrolled African American students until this program was instituted.”

In addition to his work with the Maryland Board of Examiners of Psychologists and later at the university, Dr. Roseman maintained a private practice, which he established in 1956, eventually moving it to One Charles Center.

Dr. Roseman resigned from his university position in 1979 to focus more attention on his practice, where through a screening process he assessed future stockbrokers for Legg Mason, potential operators of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.’s Calvert Cliffs nuclear power station, and possible managers for a Baltimore bank.

“He was a practitioner of Albert Ellis’ rational emotive behavior therapy for his clients and lived his own life by its precept of reducing dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs,” said a son, Leonard Roseman of Walnut Creek.

In 1974, Dr. Roseman received the Maryland Psychological Association’s Outstanding Psychologist award.


“His pride in his profession was expressed in his Maryland license plate: PSY001,” his son said.

Dr. Roseman retired from his practice in 1987.

Founder of successful businesses turned to philanthropy, investing in Baltimore's future

In 1984, he and his wife, and their mutual friends, Mitchell and Hilda Stevan, founded S & R Investment Advisors Inc., “which did technical trading between Fidelity funds,” his son said, and closed the business three years later “after changes in trading rules.”

A lifelong liberal, civil rights and political activist who was active in Democratic politics, Dr. Roseman marched during the 1960s in Washington to protest the Vietnam War, and volunteered with the ACLU, which presented him with its Jack Levin Award in 1994 for a decade of outstanding volunteer service.

In 2004, Dr. Roseman and his wife moved to the North Oaks Retirement Community in Pikesville, where he became president of its residents association.

At North Oaks, he busied himself writing poetry — which he had begun to do in 1938, when he wrote a poem to his future wife — and letters to the editor of The Baltimore Sun relating to health care issues.

In 2012, he self-published “Situational Poems,” which contained 60 of his works.

“As a psychologist, it reinforced my understanding that human beings have lots of stories to tell if they are given the opportunity and courage to share those experiences,” he told the Baltimore Jewish Times in a 2013 interview. “My concept is, everybody has a story worth telling, but most people’s stories don’t get told.”

Dr. Roseman said the project required a lot of work that he initially did not anticipate.

“When I began this I thought, ‘OK, I have a computer, I have a keyboard, I’m a very slow typist, but who cares. What’s the rush?’ ” he explained. “I enjoy the experience of having an idea come to me and somehow eliciting some words.”

He was a former member of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

Plans for a memorial service are incomplete.

In addition to his son, Dr. Roseman is survived by another son, Jeffrey Roseman of Birmingham, Ala.; a daughter, Lisa R. Shusterman of Greenville, S.C.; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

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