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Historian Sidney Harcave dies

Sidney S. Harcave, 92, professor emeritus of history, died early Friday, Oct. 24, at the Susquehanna Nursing Home, where he had been recovering from a fall.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from City College of New York and in 1943 received a doctorate in Russian history from the University of Chicago.

Harcave served as a foreign affairs analyst for the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service and an analyst for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the U.S. Department of State in the 1940s before beginning his teaching career at the University of Wyoming. He also taught at Champlain College of SUNY before joining the Binghamton faculty in 1953. He taught modern European history and Russian until he retired from the University on Jan. 1, 1982.

Gerald Kadish, distinguished teaching professor of history, said Harcave continued his work as a writer and researcher, publishing a book as recently as 2004.

“He was a remarkable man, who, at the age of 88, was still writing,” Kadish said. “He never quit as a scholar.”

Harcave was a reserved man,  according to Robin Oggins, associate professor emeritus of history.

“He was kind, reserved and knowledgeable, but he was a private man in many ways,” Oggins said. “He was writing his memoirs and was essentially finished with a first draft.”

A recognized authority on the Soviet Union and Russian history, Harcave published several books, including Russia, A History (6th edition, 1968), Readings in Russian History (1962), Years of the Golden Cockerel (1968), The Russian Revolution of 1905 (1970), The Memoirs of Count Witte (1990) and Count Sergei Witte and the Twilight of Imperial Russia: A Biography (2004).

While at Binghamton, he served as chair of the Department of History (1956-59 and 1960-65) and chair of the Social Sciences Division (1956-59).

He was predeceased by his wife, Norah, in 1997, and is survived by one cousin, Avi Katz, of Birmingham, Ala. Plans for services are not yet complete.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Norah B. Harcave Scholarship, Binghamton University Foundation, PO Box 6005, Binghamton, N.Y. 13902-6005.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08