Lydia T. Black 1925 to 2007

I just received notice my friend and guide, Dr. Lydia T. Black, an anthropologist whose research restored to Alaskan peoples important features of their history and culture, has died early this morning in Kodiak, AK, with family, friends, and Orthodox services present. She was 81.

from the family (to be continued)–
Dr Lydia T. Black

Dr. Black’s research of the Russian period in Alaska revealed aspects of Alaska Native culture and history which had been lost or forgotten. Her book Aleut Art is representative of her career in this respect as it provides a comprehensive look at both the techniques used to create and the symbolic meaning of a variety of pre- and early contact Aleut arts and crafts.

Dr. Black was born in Kiev, USSR, on December 16, 1925. She completed her B.A., M.A. (Brandeis University, 1971) and Ph.D. (University of Massachusetts – Amherst) by 1973, when she accepted her first academic post at Providence College. While teaching at Providence College, she also served as part of the staff of Brown University’s Arctic Institute. She moved to Alaska in 1984 in order to be closer to her research interests, accepting a position at University of Alaska-Fairbanks, whence she retired in 1998 in order to contribute her skills to St. Herman’s Theological Seminary in Kodiak, AK.

From 2001, she devoted her time to writing and lending her expertise to a variety of individual and collective projects and volunteered as a teacher of Russian history at Saint Innocent’s Academy.

Dr. Black is survived by her four daughters, Anna Treiber of Appleton, WI; Maria McEvoy of Houston, TX; Elena Black of Dennis, MA; Zoë Pierson of Kodiak, AK and by six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A funeral service of Orthodox rite will take place at Saint Paul Lutheran Church, Kodiak, Alaska at 12:00 p.m., Saturday, March 17 2007. Burial, will take place at the City of Kodiak cemetery and will be followed by a repast at the Kodiak Senior Center at 4:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that memorial contributions be made to | Saint Innocent’s Academy |, P.O. Box 1517, Kodiak, AK 99615. St Innocent Academy Email
( | St Innocent’s Academy | older website)

See | St Innocent of Alaska Bicentennial (Ioann Veniaminov) |


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6 responses to “Lydia T. Black 1925 to 2007

  1. Pingback: Lydia T. Black 1925 to 2007 « Grassroots Science

  2. Pingback: Dr Lydia Black documents « Biocultural Science & Management

  3. Pingback: St Innocent of Alaska Bicentennial (Ioann Veniaminov) « Biocultural Science & Management

  4. from a neighbor and friend
    “… She was a grandmother figure to myself and would give me tips on babies, colic, teething, etc… She translated Russian accounts and taught Patrick and locals a great deal about the Russian colonization of Kodiak. ” […]

  5. Whalebone mask may rewrite Aleut history
    Anchorage Daily News – Anchorage, AK, USA, July 28, 2007

    Cultural anthropologist Lydia Black, who died earlier this year, wrote that
    members of ancient Aleut burial parties wore and shattered tiny masks
    during …

  6. Anthropology and Orthodoxy have suffered a sad loss in the death of Professor Lydia Black, as he beloved Russians say, May her memory be eternal.