Abraham Kaplan and Irving Copi

Duluth Central High School Debate Team, 1932-33

From the Zenith (Duluth Central High School Yearbook), 1933

Abraham Kaplan and Irving Copi

Noted philosophers, writers, and teachers, Abraham Kaplan and Irving Copi both grew up in Duluth, Minnesota. Kaplan’s family immigrated to the United States from Russia, arriving in Duluth when Abraham was six years of age. Copi was born in Duluth as Irving Copilowish.

Kaplan was younger than Copi but was a year ahead of him at Duluth Central High School, starting there at the age of thirteen in 1931. According to Copi, they first met at debate team tryouts in 1932 and quickly became friends. Kaplan was captain of that debate team.

After graduation from high school in 1933, Kaplan attended the Duluth Junior College for two years, then went off to the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Copi graduated from Duluth Central in 1934 and then attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. They both returned to Duluth during the summer breaks and spent their time reading and discussing philosophy, according to Copi.

During the 1938-39 academic year, when both men were attending graduate school, they arranged to study at the University of Chicago, where Bertrand Russell was a guest lecturer.

Irving Copi


Irving M. Copi
From the 1934 Zenith (Duluth Central High School Yearbook)

Internationally known logician and philosopher Irving Marmer Copilowish was born on July 28, 1917, in Duluth, Minnesota. His parents were Samuel B. and Rose (Marmer) Copilowish, who had immigrated from Russia in the 1890s. Samuel had opened East End Cleaners in Duluth in 1914 and operated the business for 45 years at 926 E. Superior St. Irving later shortened his name to Copi, a nickname of his father’s. The family resided at 814 E. First St. when Irving was born, and later moved to 419 Eighteenth Ave. E. Irving had one sibling, an older sister named Priscilla.

Irving attended Duluth Central High School, graduating in 1934. He was active in debate, participating in his junior year on a team captained by Abraham Kaplan, and serving as captain himself in his senior year. He was also active in the Stylus Club, the Zenith (yearbook), the Spectator (school newspaper), and the class play. Continue reading


Local news from 20 and 40 years ago from the Duluth News-Tribune. This column appears daily Monday through Saturday in the Duluth News-Tribune. Researched and written by the Reference Staff at the Duluth Public Library.

News Tribune
June 12, 1967

Gov. Harold E. LeVander has announced the appointment of Jack B. Arnold of Duluth as the governor’s representative to the newly created Upper Great Lakes Regional Commission. The commission was formed to aid the economic development of the region.

Fairmount Park will be the site of the annual school patrol picnic tomorrow morning. Duluth police patrolman William Kehoe, head of the school patrol program, said the day’s highlight will be the awarding of bicycles to a boy and girl.

News Tribune
June 12, 1987

All 95 tickets for the Concorde jetliner’s July 26 90-minute sightseeing flight over Lake Superior and Canada have been sold, according to Dan Russell, executive director of the Duluth Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. The tickets cost $675 each.

Members of the Rotary Club of Duluth voted yesterday to allow women to join the organization. Club President Dave Allison refused to disclose the exact count but said many more than a two-thirds majority of “yes” votes were cast.

Abraham Kaplan

 From the 1933 Zenith (Duluth Central High School Yearbook)

Noted philosopher Abraham Kaplan was born in Odessa, Russia, in 1918, and moved to Duluth, Minnesota, at the age of six with his family. His father was Joseph J. Kaplan, a rabbi, and his mother was Chava Kaplan. Joseph served as rabbi at the Tifereth Israel Synagogue at Third Avenue East and Fourth Street from the mid-1920s until about 1940 . While in Duluth, the family resided at 308 E. Sixth Street and at 229 E. Fourth St.

Abraham had four older sistersEdna, Eva, Etta, and Sadie. He entered Duluth Central High School in 1931 at the age of 13. He was involved in the Stylus Club literary magazine and the Debate Team, and was chosen as captain of the Debate Team for the 1932-33 school year. He graduated from Central in 1933 at 15 years of age. Next to his yearbook photo is the caption: A brilliant scholar, and Centrals finest orator.

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