Herbert Samuel Parmet (September 28, 1929 – January 25, 2017) was an American writer, biographer, and distinguished historian most notable for his works of writing on American presidents.
Herbert Parmet, who was named for American president Herbert Hoover, was born in New York City to Isaac Parmet and Fanny Scharf, two Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, with his father being from the Ukrainian city of Krasyliv, and his mother from the village of Wiśnicz in Poland. He grew up in the Bronx with his parents, and his younger brother Robert, the latter of which has taught history at CUNY’s York College since it opened in 1967.
Herbert went to DeWitt Clinton High School in New York City, where he met his wife, Joan Kronish. Parmet and Kronish would marry in August of 1948, and would go on to attend the State University of New York at Oswego together. After receiving his B.A. (1951), he served in the U.S. Army from 1952-54, before attending Queens College, from which he received an M.A. in history (1957). Although he went on to pursue doctoral studies at Columbia University from 1957-1962, he never completed his Ph.D.
He taught social studies in North Babylon, Long Island (1951-1954); at Mineola High School in Mineola, Long Island (1954-1968), where he was chairman of the department of social studies from 1961-1968; before moving to Queensborough Community College in Bayside, Queens, where he was an assistant professor (1968-1973), associate professor (1973-1975), professor (1975-1983), and then distinguished professor (1983-1995) of history. Upon his retirement, he was named distinguished professor emeritus of history (1995-2017). He was also on the faculty of the CUNY Graduate Center beginning in 1977.
While working as a teacher, he co-authored his first book, Aaron Burr; Portrait of an Ambitious Man with colleague Marie Hecht.