Fine, Sidney

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FINE, SIDNEY (1920– ), U.S. historian. After serving as a Japanese language officer in the Navy (1942–46), Fine received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1948. That year, the university offered him a teaching position; he was appointed professor of history in 1959. His fields of research were the intellectual regions of 20th-century American reform and the automobile industry. Fine was active in Jewish communal affairs.

He retired in 2001 as the Andrew Dickenson White Professor Emeritus, History, College of Literature, Science, & the Arts. Having taught for 53 years, Fine is credited with having the longest active teaching career at the university and for leaving a lasting impression on his students. Recognized as an outstanding educator and historian, Fine was awarded the highest faculty honor, the University of Michigan's Henry Russel Lectureship, as well as the Golden Apple Award. Students select the Golden Apple recipient for excellence in teaching; the faculty chooses the Russel winner for national distinction in research and publication. Fine is the first professor to have received both these awards. He also received three honorary degrees; was named Professor of the Year for the state of Michigan in 1986 by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education; was named an International Man of the Year for 2000–1 by the International Biographical Centre of Cambridge, England; and eight of his books have won awards.

Over the years, Fine's work has involved the study of labor law and organized labor, trade unions, race relations, racial discrimination, and political history in Michigan. His books include Laissez-Faire and the General Welfare of the State 1865–1901 (1956), The Automobile under the Blue Eagle (1963), Sit-Down: The General Motors Strike of 1936–1937 (1969), Frank Murphy: The Detroit Years (1975), Frank Murphy: The New Deal Years (1979), Violence in the Model City: The Cavanagh Administration, Race Relations, and the Detroit Riot of 1967 (1989), Frank Murphy: the New Deal Years (1993), Without Blare of Trumpets: Walter Drew, The National Erectors' Association, and the Open Shop Movement (1995), and Expanding the Frontiers of Civil Rights: Michigan, 1948–1968 (2000). In the latter book he documents the fact that Michigan, as a leader among the states in civil rights legislation, embraced not only African-Americans but also women, the elderly, Native Americans, migrant workers, and the physically handicapped.

[Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]