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.

Categories

RSS Nonagenarian news

  • Walter Byers, 1st NCAA Executive Director, Dies at Age 93 - Bleacher Report
    Bleacher ReportWalter Byers, 1st NCAA Executive Director, Dies at Age 93Bleacher ReportWalter Byers, who served as the first executive director of the NCAA and later became an advocate for the rights of student-athletes, died Tuesday. He was 93. Jim O'Connell of the Associated Press reports Byers had an infection that spread to his ...NCAA giant Walter […]
  • Donnybrook host Martin Duggan dies at age 93 - Belleville News-Democrat
    Belleville News-DemocratDonnybrook host Martin Duggan dies at age 93Belleville News-DemocratFormer St. Louis Globe-Democrat editorial page editor Martin Duggan, the creator and “provocateur” of the long-running KETC series Donnybrook, passed away May 27, 2015, after a brief illness. He died at his home with his wife of 73 years, Mae, and ...Martin Duggan Pas […]
  • Former Seagull great 'Boody' Gilbertson dies at age 92 - HeraldNet
    Former Seagull great 'Boody' Gilbertson dies at age 92HeraldNetMerlin R. “Boody” Gilbertson, the last surviving member of the 1940 Everett High School state championship basketball team, died Saturday of pneumonia at the Colby Campus of Everett's Providence Regional Medical Center. He was 92.
  • Wahroonga man cross country skiing at age 91 - The Daily Telegraph
    The Daily TelegraphWahroonga man cross country skiing at age 91The Daily TelegraphWHILE Ian Hampel might now be 91, it hasn't stopped him from racing in cross-country skiing events. Hampel is gearing up to take on the Kosciusko Alpine Club's 10km classic, from Perisher Valley to Charlotte Pass, in August. He will compete in the 90 ...
  • Mark Scott Skelton dies at age 95 - Scottsboro Daily Sentinel
    Mark Scott Skelton dies at age 95Scottsboro Daily SentinelFor the ones who say, “Only the good die young,” they got it completely wrong with Mark Scott Skelton. Mark Scott Skelton, who was the great-grandson of the city of Scottsboro's founder, Robert Thomas Scott, and part of the Greatest Generation, died ...
  • Vermont Super Senior dies at age 90 - WCAX
    Vermont Super Senior dies at age 90WCAXWe introduced you to Margaret Lucenti three years ago as she was retiring at age 90 from her work as a committee assistant in the Vermont legislature. She was honored for her ... Margaret Lucenti passed away last week at the age of 93. Her husband of ...
  • World War II veteran gets high school diploma at age 93 - WABC-TV
    WABC-TVWorld War II veteran gets high school diploma at age 93WABC-TVArmy veteran gets high school diploma at age 93. Huge student walkout in Newark over control of schools. Newark students walk out to protest school superintendent. Crash survivor shares inspiring story at graduation. Teen's powerful graduation speech ...Oklahoma WWII Veteran Receives H […]
  • At age 90, Yogi Berra is still going strong - Boston Globe (subscription)
    Boston Globe (subscription)At age 90, Yogi Berra is still going strongBoston Globe (subscription)Late in the afternoon, when Berra took a breather outside the museum, it was déjà vu all over again. Torre came up to Berra, who was wearing a 90th birthday cap. He leaned down and kissed Yogi on the cheek while Berra beamed with joy. “I want a 90 hat ...and more […]
  • Peter Gay, intellectual historian, dead at age 91 - Washington Times
    Peter Gay, intellectual historian, dead at age 91Washington TimesNEW YORK (AP) - Peter Gay, a popular and prize-winning historian who meticulously traced the rise of secular Western thought, from a prize-winning history of the Enlightenment to a best-selling biography of Sigmund Freud, has died. Gay died Tuesday at ...and more »
  • Former House Speaker Jim Wright dies at age 92 - KXAN.com
    KXAN.comFormer House Speaker Jim Wright dies at age 92KXAN.comDALLAS (AP) — Former U.S. House Speaker Jim Wright, the longtime Texas Democrat who became the first House speaker in history to be driven out of office in midterm, has died at age 92. The World War II veteran and author, often praised for his ...and more »
March 2007
M T W T F S S
« Feb   Apr »
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Haeremai Camai Bula Bepuwave Bienvenidos

  • 128,194 visitors

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: