Lydia Black, scholar of the Aleutians, dies at 81

Monday, March 12 2007

Unalaska, AK – One of the most renowned scholars of Unangan culture and art has passed away. Lydia Black died Monday morning of liver failure at her home in Kodiak. She was 81 years old.

Black was the author of numerous books on Unangan and Alutiiq culture and art, Russian Alaskan history and other subjects. She was a professor emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and had previously taught at Providence College in Rhode Island, after immigrating from the Soviet Union.

Black was born in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1925, and suffered a difficult childhood: her father was executed by the Soviet government when she was eight, and her mother died eight years later of tuberculosis. She immigrated to the United States in 1950 with her husband, a thermodynamics engineer, and went into academia after his early death in 1969.

A funeral service for Black will be held on Saturday at noon at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Kodiak. A reception will follow at 4 p.m. at the Kodiak Senior Center.


Audio: Patty Lekanoff-Gregory knew Lydia Black for more than thirty years, since her first visit to Unalaska in 1974. She spoke with KIAL's Charles Homans today about the anthropologist's three-decade relationship with the Aleutian Islands.

News Community About Site by Joseph Redmon