Adolf Katzenellenbogen, internationally known art historian, was born in Germany in Frankfurt-am-Main on August 19, 1901. He was educated at the universities of Freiburg, Leipzig, Munich, Frankfurt and Giessen in 1924, and he received a doctor of philosophy degree in 1933 at the University of Hamburg. After graduating from Giessen University he joined an industrial firm for several years as an advisor. He then returned to academic life. He came to the United States shortly before World War II. He joined the faculty of Vassar College in 1940 and remained there until 1958 when he came to Johns Hopkins University as full professor and department chairman.
A specialist in the late Medieval and early Renaissance periods, Adolf Katzenellenbogen published a number of papers in scholarly journals both in the United States and abroad. His book "The Sculptural Programs of Chartres Cathedral" won the Charles Rufus Morey prize in 1959 for the best work on art history. He served on the Board of the Baltimore Museum of Art, and in 1961 was named to the Baltimore Art Commission. In 1963 he was a visiting member of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.
Adolf Katzenellenbogen died of a heart attack on September 30, 1964.