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

  • At age 97, Bataan survivor Ben Skardon is still marching - Las Cruces Sun-News
    At age 97, Bataan survivor Ben Skardon is still marchingLas Cruces Sun-NewsSkardon began marching at 89 years old and is now 97. Skardon agreed to a "drinking game" at each water point as proposed by a member of his brigade. When approaching the first mile marker, Skardon commanded his brigade to march on by pointing his ...
  • Gene Saks, 3-time Tony award winning director, dies at 93 - New York Daily News
    New York Daily NewsGene Saks, 3-time Tony award winning director, dies at 93New York Daily NewsHis last directing credit on Broadway was "Barrymore" starring Christopher Plummer in '97. Saks was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in '91. Saks is survived by wife Keren, their daughter and three grandchildren. He is also surviv […]
  • Local, state politician R.H. Lewis dies at age 90 - The Spokesman Review
    The Spokesman ReviewLocal, state politician R.H. Lewis dies at age 90The Spokesman ReviewR.H. “Bob” Lewis, a Spokane city councilman and high-ranking Republican state senator who declined urgings from others to run for higher office, died Friday in Spokane. Lewis was 90 and died in his sleep at Royal Park Care Center, said his son, Jack ...
  • WWII Doolittle Tokyo Raider Lt. Col. Robert Hite Dies At Age 95 - Immortal News
    Immortal NewsWWII Doolittle Tokyo Raider Lt. Col. Robert Hite Dies At Age 95Immortal NewsLieutenant Colonel Robert Hite of the famed World War II “Doolittle Tokyo Raiders” has passed away at the age 95. Hite passed away on Sunday morning at a nursing facility located in Nashville, Tennessee. His son, Wallace Hite, was quoted by The ...Famed 'Doolittle T […]
  • Duke of Edinburgh riding out on four-horse buggy at the age of 93 - Daily Mail
    Daily MailDuke of Edinburgh riding out on four-horse buggy at the age of 93Daily MailThe Duke of Edinburgh was seen enjoying the spring-like weather while driving a carriage of four horses through the Windsor town centre. Prince Philip squinted against the sun as the horses trotted along the road while he chatted to a female passenger.
  • Bill Evans passes this morning at age 90 - Carroll Daily Times Herald
    Bill Evans passes this morning at age 90Carroll Daily Times HeraldBill Evans, a beloved former Carroll educator, World War II veteran and the 1949 Iowa Athlete of the Year, died at 12:01 a.m. today at his home in Avondale, Arizona, a Phoenix suburb, following a bout with cancer, his daughter, Beth (Evans) Halpern said.
  • Singapore's controversial founding father dies at age 91 - PRI
    PRISingapore's controversial founding father dies at age 91PRIFormer Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew died on Monday, March 23, at the age of 91. He is credited for turning Singapore into an economic and educational success story. Credit: Matt Rourke/Reuters. Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of modern ...Singapore, the Nation That Lee Kuan Yew B […]
  • 'An era gone by': Walt Julian closes barber shop — at age 90 - Gloucester Daily Times
    Gloucester Daily Times'An era gone by': Walt Julian closes barber shop — at age 90Gloucester Daily TimesJim Daly / Gloucester Daily Times file photoThis 2004 Gloucester Daily Times photograph shows Rockport barber shop owner Walter Julian clipping the hair of Dick Geeghan as Peter Coley, left, and Ed Lopes await their turn. After nearly 60 years in […]
  • Founder of modern Singapore dies at age 91 - MLive.com
    MLive.comFounder of modern Singapore dies at age 91MLive.comSingapore Obit Lee Kuan Yew Members of the media gather in an area set aside for tributes at the hospital where Singapore's founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew passed away on March 23 in Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew, who founded modern Singapore ...Father of modern Singapore dies at age 91Duluth Ne […]
  • Yucatecan World War II hero Dies at Age 93 - The Yucatan Times
    The Yucatan TimesYucatecan World War II hero Dies at Age 93The Yucatan TimesLieutenant Ramiro Bastarrachea, a machine gunner with Squadron 201, has died. He was the last of the 3 Yucatecans who had fought in World War II. He died in Tixpéual, the village where he was born over 93 years ago, on February 27, 1922. The three ...
March 2007
M T W T F S S
« Feb   Apr »
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Haeremai Camai Bula Bepuwave Bienvenidos

  • 127,099 visitors

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: