Vucinich, Wayne S. 1913–2005

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Vucinich, Wayne S. 1913–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born June 23, 1913, in Butte, MT; died of heart failure April 21, 2005, in Menlo Park, CA. Historian, educator, and author. A scholar of Eastern European history, Vucinich was a retired Stanford University professor whose early life was marked by considerable challenges. After his parents died during the 1918 influenza pandemic, he briefly lived with family members in Los Angeles and then was taken in by relatives who lived on a farm in Herzegovina. He returned to the United States when he was fifteen years old, and later attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned his B.A. in 1936, followed by an M.A. in 1937 and a Ph.D. in 1941. Just before World War II, Vucinich worked in the USSR section of the Library of Congress. He then put his expertise on Eastern Europe to use as a Balkan expert for the Office of Strategic Services (forerunner of the CIA) during the war. A lieutenant in the Navy Reserve from 1943 to 1946, he was also a liaison officer in the London office and head of research and analysis in Italy in 1944. His last governmental post was with the Department of State in Washington, DC, where he was part of the research and analysis department from 1945 to 1946. Leaving Washington, Vucinich joined the Stanford faculty as an instructor and, became a full professor of history there in 1956. Because of his knowledge of Eastern Europe, Vucinich came under suspicion of the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1954. However, with the help of supporters at his university, he was cleared of being a communist sympathizer. One of Vucinich's greatest accomplishments while at Stanford occurred in 1972, when he helped found the Center for Russian and East European Studies, which he also chaired. In 1977 he was named Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor of Eastern European Studies, a post from which he retired in 1988. Vucinich was the author of such books as The Ottoman Empire: Its Record and Legacy (1965) and Eastern Europe (1973), as well as the editor of many other scholarly texts, including 1995's Ivo Andric Revisited: The Bridge Still Stands.



Los Angeles Times, April 28, 2005, p. B13.

San Francisco Chronicle, May 1, 2005, p. A23.