In Memoriam: Sherman David Spector
Steven A. Leibo, December 2008
Scholar of eastern Europe
Sherman David Spector (May 7, 1927–March 16, 2008) was a professor of history at Russell Sage College from 1960–92 and served as the department chair from 1985 to 1991. He earned his PhD in eastern European history in 1960 from Columbia University. In 1964 and 1970 he was Fulbright-Hays visiting professor at the University of Bucharest, Romania. He was the author of Romania at the Paris Peace Conference 1919–20 (1962), A History of the Balkan Peoples (1972), and Relapse into Bondage (1998).
As an AHA member, Spector was particularly involved in setting up the locator system during those years when the annual meeting was held in New York City.
David Spector served in the U.S. Navy (1945–46, 1952–55) as a lieutenant in Naval Intelligence. He attended Bowdoin College from 1946 to 1949, graduating with high honors in history.
While at Sage, David Spector initiated the annual Upton Award given by the Helen M. Upton Center for Women’s Studies to a woman of distinction. He created the Athenian Honor Society and the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society. He led many trips abroad with students and alumnae—Russia, Israel, and Austria.
In 1991, grateful alumnae and friends established an endowed professorship and endowed lectureship in his honor. The Sherman David Spector Lecture Fund provides for a renowned scholar to speak on campus each year. Over the years those guests have included Susan Armitage, a scholar of the American women’s history; Clifford Earl Trafzer, renowned scholar of Native American history; Terry Primo, an expert in women and aging in 18th-century America; SUNY-Albany presidential scholar Bruce Miroff; and the current Sherman David Spector Lecturer in the Humanities, Steven A. Leibo.
—Steven A. Leibo
The Sage Colleges