In Memoriam

Paul W. Bamford, a long-time member of the History faculty, passed away on August 22, 2007 at the age of 85.

Paul W. Bamford

13.jpgPaul W. Bamford, a long-time member of the History faculty, passed away on August 22, 2007 at the age of 85.

A native of Denver, Colorado, Paul received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Denver in 1943. After military service during World War II, Paul received his master's degree from Columbia University in 1947 and his Ph.D. in 1951. After teaching at several colleges, Paul came to the University of Minnesota in 1958. He remained an active member of the history faculty until his retirement in 1991.

Paul was a distinguished scholar who was highly regarded by his peers. He published three important books in his field of French economic history: Forests and French Sea Power, 1660-1789 (1956), Fighting Ships and Prisons: The Mediterranean Galleys of France in the Age of Louis XIV (1973), and Privilege and Profit: A Business Family in Eighteenth Century France (1988). Paul was passionate about his research and scholarship, and until shortly before his death he was working on a fourth manuscript. He contributed several articles to leading journals in the field. One of them, "The Procurement of Oarsmen for French Galleys, 1660-1748," published in The American Historical Review (1959) won the prestigious William Koren, Jr. prize from the Society for French Historical Studies that is awarded annually for the best article published in French history. He won several distinguished awards in support of his research including two Fulbright fellowships, a Guggenheim fellowship, a year at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and a Bush Foundation Sabbatical Fellowship. Paul served as president of the Society for French Historical Studies when it was held at the University of Minnesota in 1987. At Minnesota Paul supervised several doctoral students, many of whom have gone on to distinguished careers in the historical profession. His colleagues and students will miss the wry humor and commitment to high standards that he brought to the classroom and to his own research.

Preceded in death by his wife Pauline, he is survived by three children, Stacey, Philip, and Tom and their families, including six grandchildren.

Stephen Feinstein

14.jpgStephen Feinstein died very suddenly and unexpectedly
on March 4, 2008. True to form, he was giving a lecture at the Jewish Film Festival in Minneapolis when he suffered an aortic rupture.

Steve came to the University of Minnesota in 1997 as the founding director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS) and Adjunct Professor of History. He brought an outsize energy-level to everything he undertook, whether his somewhat manic pace of lectures and museum consultations, his exuberant teaching, or his passionate directorship of CHGS.

To all of this Steve brought a fine and multi-disciplinary educational background. He studied economics as an undergraduate at Villanova University and went on to receive his Ph.D. in Russian History at New York University, where he also completed a minor field in Art History. For thirty years he taught a wide variety of courses at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, where in the 1980s he introduced a history course on the Holocaust. Steve was already heavily involved in all sorts of human rights activities, notably the anti-apartheid movement and the campaign in support of Soviet Jews.

It was through Steve's knowledge and love of art that he came to know a most generous donor in the Jewish community of the Twin Cities, who was also an avid art collector. Out of a series of consultations and conversations came, in 1997, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota with Steve as the founding director. In the ten years he headed CHGS, Steve built it into an internationally renowned center. Always, Steve was committed to education, research, and public outreach on the Holocaust and other genocides around the globe, crimes against humanity, and human rights norms.

Steve leaves behind his wife, Susan, his son, Jeremy, his daughter, Rebecca, and her husband Avi and their two children. Steve will be remembered by his family, friends, and many people in Europe, Israel, Armenia, North America, and other places for his deep commitment to human dignity and human rights.

Ana M. Gómez

15.jpgProfessor Ana M. Gómez died on February 11, 2008 after a long battle with cancer. She earned her Ph.D. in history at the University of Minnesota in 2003 with a dissertation on the militias of late colonial Guatemala. One of her dissertation advisors describes her work as "a brilliant combination of theoretical sophistication and deep empirical research. Each chapter addressed a separate body of theory regarding legal, social, and governmental structures in the colonial regime, and she turned up a wonderful collection of archival cases regarding soldiers and army officers in the militias, carrying the story from 1762 through 1821." After a year at Lewis University near Chicago, Ana took a position as assistant professor of Latin American history at William Paterson University in New Jersey. Even as she battled cancer, Ana published an article and edited two books on Guatemala and El Salvador. Her colleagues there, as here, thought very highly of her and will miss her sense of humor, the intensity of her commitment to teaching and scholarship, and her wonderful smile.

Melissa L. Meyer

16.jpgProfessor Melissa L. Meyer, historian of American Indians, died April 9, 2008 of complications from a cerebral hemorrhage suffered the previous summer. She was 53.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Melissa received her Ph.D. in American history from the University of Minnesota in 1985. She was a member of the History Department at UCLA from 1985 until 2007, with the exception of two years at the University of Minnesota (1987-1989) and a year as a Visiting Professor at Dartmouth College (1993-1994).

Melissa's first book, The White Earth Tragedy: Ethnicity and Dispossession at a Minnesota Anishinaabe Reservation, 1889-1920 (1994), established her reputation as a leading scholar in her field. Melissa detailed the expropriation of land from the Anishinaabegs of the Great Lakes region, and she demonstrated the adaptivity of the Anishinaabegs in the face of migration, intermarriage, federal policy, and corporate schemes. Her analysis of ethnicity also revealed how internal divisions among the Anishinaabegs at White Earth tragically furthered the process of their dispossession. Her second book, Thicker Than Water: The Origins of Blood as Symbol and Ritual (2005), explored belief and rituals concerning blood in regional and religious contexts throughout human history.

Melissa was an active and engaged faculty member, both at UCLA and in the profession at large. She was associated with the UCLA American Indian Studies Center and with the American Indian Studies Interdepartmental Degree Program. She was also a longtime member of the Advisory Board, Center for American Indian Research and Education (CAIRE).

Melissa worked closely with undergraduate and graduate students alike, and she inspired by example. In her teaching as well as in her scholarship, Melissa insisted that Native Americans not be marginalized or romanticized, arguing for their central place in American history. A self-described "child of the sixties," Melissa challenged authority and viewed abuse of power as intolerable. She was outspoken in her advocacy, courageous in adversity, and fiercely loyal to her friends.

Melissa is survived by her mother, Helen Meyer, her sister, Diana Meyer-Margeson of Loveland, Ohio, her husband, Russell Thornton, a professor in the UCLA Department of Anthropology, her daughter, Tanis, and her son, Zane.

Rudolph J. Vecoli

17.jpgProfessor Rudolph J. Vecoli passed away June 17, 2008 in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota. He was 81 and lived in St. Paul.

Rudy grew up in Wallingford, Conn., the son of immigrants from Tuscany. His 1963 Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in Madison examined the experiences of Italians in Chicago before World War I. Rudy taught at Rutgers and the University of Illinois before joining the University of Minnesota's Department of History in 1967.

As director of the University's Immigration History Research Center (IHRC) from 1967 to 2005, and in his books and articles, Rudy significantly shaped the fields of immigration history and ethnic history. He challenged the notion that immigrants left their cultures behind to assimilate quickly into America's "melting pot," demonstrating instead that immigrants purposefully retained many cultural elements from their home countries and resisted pressures to relinquish their heritage. Rudy will be remembered for the dedication and enthusiasm with which he pursued, as he put it, the "ethnic histories of which we know little or nothing." He was crucial to the development of the IHRC into one of the nation's premier repositories for source materials documenting the experiences of immigrants and refugees in the United States.

Rudy was honored for his scholarship with numerous awards, and he helped found two organizations: the American Italian Historical Association (serving as its president from 1966 to 1970) and the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (president from 1982 to 1985), which also awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award. From 1983 to 2003 Rudy was chairman of the history committee advising the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.

Rudy is survived by his former wife, Jill, and his daughter, Lisa, both of Minneapolis, two sons, Chris, of Corvallis, Ore., and Jeremy, of Minneapolis, a sister, Olga Gralton, of Wallingford, and one granddaughter.

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This page contains a single entry by cla published on July 2, 2009 2:59 PM.

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