Harvey Goldberg came to The Ohio State University in 1950 as an instructor in the Department of History. He rose through the ranks to that of Professor and remained at OSU until the autumn of 1962, when he returned to teach at his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin. His years at Ohio State were marked by extraordinary achievements in both scholarship and teaching. He published widely in many journals ranging from The Nation to The International Review of Social History. His many books include a monumental biography of the greatest of modern French democratic socialists, The Life of Jean Jaures, which the New York Times referred to as "The definitive biography, as dense with life, character and events as a Balzac novel."
Near the end of his book on Jaures, Goldberg wrote, "He had the integrity to be partisan, the courage to be revolutionary, the humanism to be tolerant." His students recognized and honored those same traits in Goldberg himself as evidenced by his award as Professor of the Year by the Arts College Student Council in 1959 when he was just 36 years old. His classes were frequently standing room only; several of them, including one on the death of Louis XVI and another on the fall of the Bastille, were Ohio State public events, not to be missed even by students not then enrolled in his courses. Harvey taught in front of the lectern with out the aid of notes. "I like to think" he said, "that the students and I melt to nothingness before the significance of the materials." He believed that a teacher must "undertake to convey a kind of courage. If he's any good, he must live a life that is true and not hypocritical. He can teach the same kind of courage by example." It is clear, through the reverence in which so many of his former OSU students still hold him more than three decades later, that Harvey's example was not, indeed, lost on them.