Dr. Lydia T. Black

Dr Lydia T. Black, at Kenai Fjord, July, 2002 by grandson, Andrew McEvoy

Dr. Black survived Stalin, forced labor under the Nazis, refugee status, and never suffered fools, the pompous, the bully, nor laziness or sloppy scholarship. She was fond of cats, dogs, children, and those needing a friend in a strange land.

The following is summarized from documents at Lydia T. Black 1925 to 2007 and from the Kodiak Daily Mirror

Widowed with young children at 44, she went to college and finished her BA and MA in two years and her Ph.D. in another two years.

She studied at Northeastern University and Brandeis University in the Boston area before receiving her doctorate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She joined the faculty of anthropology in 1973 at Providence College in Rhode Island. She moved to Alaska in 1984 as Professor, University of Alaska Fairbanks, whence she “retired” in 1998.

She continued her work in Kodiak, where she helped translate and catalogue Russian archives of St. Herman’s Seminary. The Orthodox Church in Alaska recognized her contribution by awarding her the Cross of St. Herman.

She wrote at least 66 more books and articles appearing in publications as diverse as Natural History, Arctic Anthropology and Studies in Soviet Thought and was a contributor to various exhibits and conferences on the Arctic, including the Library of Congress’ Meeting of the Frontiers, the New York Museum of Natural History’s Jesup Centenary Congress and the Smithsonian Institution’s Crossroads of the Continents.

One of her best-known books, “Aleut art — Unangam aguqaadangin” is a collection of beautifully photographed and carefully documented art made by Alaska Natives of the Aleutian Islands. Another, “Russians in Alaska, 1732 to 1867,” was published in 2004, the year Lydia turned 79.

In 2001, Russia awarded her the Order of Friendship, honoring her contribution to promoting cross-cultural understanding between Russia and America. She received the Alaska Anthropological Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and the Alaska Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award for the Humanities in 2005.

Lydia was born in Kiev, where her grandmother came to live with the family. Her grandmother instituted an educational regimen for her which included two days per week of speaking Russian, two days per week of speaking French and two days per week of speaking German. On Sundays, the family could relax and speak Ukrainian. It was decreed that Lydia would study English in school. Lydia’s grandmother would take her to the ‘secret church’, hosted by three elderly women – the KGB eventually did arrive to arrest them.

Lydia’s father was executed when she was eight years old. At 16 (1941) her mother died of TB. Lydia was picked up into forced labor for Germany. At war’s end, Lydia was in Munich and got a job scrubbing toilets in American officers’ quarters. They realized Lydia could speak six languages (she had learned Polish during the war) so she became a translator at the UNRRA’s displaced children’s camp.

Lydia met and married Igor A. Black. They then emigrated to the U.S. in 1950. Igor became a thermodynamics engineer whose work on the Apollo Mission was officially commemorated by NASA. Lydia was a full-time wife and mother. Suddenly Igor died in 1969, leaving Lydia alone with three teen-aged daughters and a toddler. With her older daughters’ consent, Lydia returned to school as a full-time college student.

Dr Black died in Kodiak, AK, with family, friends, Orthodox services, and the feline sibling companions Masia and Vasia present. Masia, brother Vasia, and companion human Lydia Black
Masia, faithful guardian during Lydia’s illness would wake Lydia in the middle of the night, to great complaint. However, Masia seemed to be sensing something physically awry in Lydia’s breathing while asleep and was waking her to “reset” her. Masia would reach over and: Slap-slap-slap, at which point Lydia would sputter and tell the cat to stop it. [Click on small picture to enlarge.]

Anthropologist Lydia Black Dead at 81
Casey Kelly, KMXT

KODIAK, AK (2007-03-13) Anthropologist Lydia Black, author of many books on Alaska Native culture and Alaska history, died Monday morning of liver failure at her home in Kodiak. She was 81. © Copyright 2007, apti

audio file (mp3 format), click to play or right click to download and save.

Site Search Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Responses to “Dr. Lydia T. Black”

  1. 1 Ed 2007 March 14 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks for posting details on Lydia T. Black’s Life. I posted an update on my blog, but am uncertain about her birth date. 81 years old in 2007 would suggest she was born in 1926?

    Sorry, I will add that information. She was born 1925 December 16. vuee

  2. 2 Vladimir Urban 2007 March 17 at 9:03 am

    Lydia Black was a legend in my life and my family. She denied the saddness of WWII and self actualized into the kind of human being the world and all Russians can be proud of. I haven’t spoken with her for over 40 years because I was child when we first met, but i know her mission, and the mission of many brave individual displaced Russians, was to continue Russian culture in the context of world culture, when Russia didn’t even exist. Alaska was once Russia and Lydia Black moved as close to home as she could. God bless you Lydia Black!

  3. 3 Deborah smith - klus 2007 December 5 at 4:29 pm

    Hi, It has been so many years that I haven’t seen your family. Lydia was like my second mother at Providence college and post graduation. I had searched for her prior on the internet and unable to find an email address. She was be best teacher I had in my years of studying. She was determined, emphatic intelligent and worldly but warm, loving, caring and dedicated to all her goals. You will be surely missed. Love always Debbie smith-Klus

  4. 4 P. Smith 2011 December 4 at 7:22 am

    Lived in Harvard, MA when the Black’s lived there. Dr. Black was friend, companion and intellectual challenge. It was a pleasure to have known her. Misplaced her location and never realized Lydia had died. She lived fully.

Comments are currently closed.

O’Folks (off their rocker)

Old age isn't a disease.

Arctic sunset

© header image

Comments how-tos

For those new to blogs, check out this post *commenting on blogs* Recent comments, on the sidebar blogroll, often have additional or complementary information. Recent revisions of posts themselves may be found by using the search box for "revised". Tech support says spam (ads or worse) is hitting WordPress heavily so if you don't see your comment in 24 hours, send an E-mail and TS will check the spam trap.

RSS BHIC Bringing Health Info to the Community

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.


RSS Nonagenarian news

  • At Age 97, Ballet Dancer Joyce Harper is Still on Point | NBC4i.com - NBC4i.com
    NBC4i.comAt Age 97, Ballet Dancer Joyce Harper is Still on Point | NBC4i.comNBC4i.comA 97-year-old British woman says what keeps her alive, and on her toes, is her lifelong love of ballet.Joyce Harper still teaches twice a we…At Age 97, Ballet Dancer Joyce Harper is Still on Point | Inside EditionInside Editionall 1 news articles »
  • Tom Benson, longtime owner of Saints, dies at age 90 - Los Angeles Times
    Los Angeles TimesTom Benson, longtime owner of Saints, dies at age 90Los Angeles TimesTom Benson celebrates after the New Orleans Saints defeated the Dallas Cowboys during the 2009 season, when they ended up winning the Super Bowl. (Dave Martin / Associated Press). Tom Benson, a successful auto dealer who brought the New Orleans Saints ...New Orleans Pelican […]
  • Mr. Marion Autrell “Aut” Padgett, age 90, of Rome - Coosa Valley News
    Mr. Marion Autrell “Aut” Padgett, age 90, of RomeCoosa Valley NewsMr. Padgett was born in Lindale, Georgia on July 20, 1927, son of the late Robert Nathan Padgett, Sr. and the late Mittie Hayes Padgett. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by 9 siblings. Mr. Padgett was a veteran of the U. S. Army Air ...and more »
  • Women with high physical fitness at middle age 90% less likely to develop dementia - News-Medical.net
    News-Medical.netWomen with high physical fitness at middle age 90% less likely to develop dementiaNews-Medical.netWomen with high physical fitness at middle age were nearly 90 percent less likely to develop dementia decades later, compared to women who were moderately fit, according to a study published the March 14, 2018, online issue of Neurology, the medi […]
  • Wake Forest coach Jesse Haddock passes away at age 91 | Golf ... - Golf Channel
    Golf ChannelWake Forest coach Jesse Haddock passes away at age 91 | Golf ...Golf ChannelLegendary Wake Forest college golf coach Jesse Haddock has passed away at the age of 91.and more »
  • Jesse Haddock, legendary golf coach at Wake Forest, dies at age 91 ... - Winston-Salem Journal
    Winston-Salem JournalJesse Haddock, legendary golf coach at Wake Forest, dies at age 91 ...Winston-Salem JournalJesse Haddock, a legendary former golf coach at Wake Forest who won three national championships, has died.and more »
  • I'm taking my Trump-loving cousin, age 93, to meet him – will you help? - The Guardian
    The GuardianI'm taking my Trump-loving cousin, age 93, to meet him – will you help?The GuardianClose friends despite our differences, we're planning a drive across the US to Washington. We want to meet people who will challenge each of our beliefs. Bryan Mealer in Austin, Texas. Mon 12 Mar 2018 02.00 EDT Last modified on Mon 12 Mar 2018 17.54 ...
  • Fashion designer Givenchy dies at age 91 - fox6now.com
    fox6now.comFashion designer Givenchy dies at age 91fox6now.com“The House of Givenchy is sad to report the passing of its founder Hubert de Givenchy, a major personality of the world of French Haute Couture and a gentleman who symbolized Parisian chic and elegance for more than half a century. He will be greatly ...French Designer Hubert de Givenchy Dies at A […]
  • Rabbi Mordechai Hager dies at age 95 | Daily Mail Online - Daily Mail
    Daily MailRabbi Mordechai Hager dies at age 95 | Daily Mail OnlineDaily MailRabbi Mordechai Hager, the leader of one of the largest Hasidic sects in the county, died on Friday in a Manhattan hospital of liver failure following an undetermined infection. He was 95. Hager, who was believed to be the oldest Hasidic rabbi in the ...Viznitz Rebbe Mordechai Hager […]
  • Hubert de Givenchy, French Fashion Icon, Dead at Age 91 - NBC4i.com
    NBC4i.comHubert de Givenchy, French Fashion Icon, Dead at Age 91NBC4i.comFrench couturier Hubert de Givenchy, famous for outfitting stars like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, has died at the age of 91. The news was announced by his partner, Philippe Venet, through the House of Givenchy brand. Venet added that Givenchy died ...Hubert de Givenchy has died at a […]
March 2007
« Feb   Apr »

Haeremai Camai Bula Bepuwave Bienvenidos

  • 180,919 visitors

%d bloggers like this: