- Fulbright Award (1959)
Friedman was born in Cleveland, Ohio and spent much of his youth at the family cottage in Ipperwash, Canada. He graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude in 1943 where he studied medieval romance languages and literature. After graduation, he joined the military and worked in a psychiatric unit in Fort Lewis, Washington, where he met his wife, Pat. He returned to Harvard in 1946 to pursue an advanced degree and he and Pat married in 1947. Together, they spent the following year in France where he taught at the Sorbonne. He returned to Harvard to complete his Ph.D in 1950. They moved to Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, in 1953, where he taught for eight years. While at IU, he took a a one-year sabbatical in France where the last of their four children was born. The family moved to Seattle, Washington, and he taught at the University of Washington until his retirement in 1991.