Remembering Bruce M. Stave (1937 – 2017)
by Linda Shopes
Bruce M. Stave (1937 – 2017)
Bruce M. Stave, editor of the Oral History Review from 1996 to1999, died on December 2, 2017. He was affiliated with the history department at the University of Connecticut for forty-seven years, most recently as Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus.
For all of these years, Stave was an active practitioner and promoter of oral history and member of the Oral History Association. In 1978 he began his thirty-year tenure as director of UConn’s Oral History Office, from which he directed or co-directed numerous projects focusing on topics ranging from the state’s diverse ethnic and racial populations to blue collar workers; the Connecticut General Assembly to the state’s Communist Party; Chinese urbanization and urban planning to American participation in the Nuremburg war crimes trial. Many of these projects resulted in publications, including From the Old Country: An Oral History of European Migration to America), with John F. Sutherland and Aldo Salerno (1994); and Witnesses to Nuremberg (1998), co-authored by Michele Palmer, with Leslie Frank. Between 2001 and 2013, he served as co-general editor, with Linda Shopes, of Palgrave’s Studies in Oral History series, which published more than thirty titles during his tenure.
Stave earned national and international recognition in both oral and urban history as a result, among other work, of his more than two dozen historiographic interviews with urban historians published between 1974 and 2004 in the Journal of Urban History, of which he served as associate editor. He authored, co-authored, and edited eleven books ranging from his first, The New Deal and the Last Hurrah (1970), a revision of his University of Pittsburgh dissertation, to his commissioned history of UConn, Red Brick in the Land of Steady Habits (2006). He held Fulbright professorships in India, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and China; and lectured widely around the world.
Stave was also an active citizen of UConn, the historical profession, and the town of Coventry, where he lived since 1970. He served as history department chair from 1985 to 1994 and was an active participant in the University Senate. In 1976, he was president of the Federation of University Teachers during the campaign that brought collective bargaining to the university; and later served on the executive committee and bargaining team of UConn’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors. He was a president of the New England Historical Association, the New England Association of Oral History, and the Connecticut Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History, which he founded in 1979. Additionally, he was active for many years on Coventry’s Democratic Town Committee, serving as chair during the early 1990s, and board member and president of the town’s public library. With his wife, Sondra Astor Stave, he founded the Northeastern chapter of the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union in 1971.
In addition to his wife, to whom he was married for fifty-six years, Stave is survived by their son Channing (Sara) Stave; grandchildren Stratton and Sabrina Stave; and brother Howard D. (Renee) Stave.