Victor R. Greene, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Emeritus Professor of History, died on September 5 at the age of 80. A noted scholar and teacher in the fields of American immigration, labor, and popular culture, Professor Greene earned a B.A. cum laude in History from Harvard University (1955), an M.A. in History from the University of Rochester (1960), and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Pennsylvania (1963). Before joining UWM in 1971, Professor Greene taught at the University of Notre Dame and Kansas State University. At UWM, he served on a number of important campus committees, and generously donated to the UWM Foundation and its programs that benefit students. He established a fund in honor of his own hero, former Milwaukee mayor Frank P. Zeidler, an annual award presented to a history master's student interested in American history. Recognizing Professor Greene's long dedication to undergraduate learning, the History Department created the Victor Greene Award to honor the best paper written in a History capstone course.
Professor Greene was active in many professional and community history organizations. In 2009 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Immigration History Society after serving as President and Executive Secretary. He also served on the History Committee of the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Centennial Commission, and was on the editorial board of the Journal of American Ethnic History and Polish American Studies. He was a member of the executive boards of the Wisconsin Society for Jewish Learning, the Ko-Thi African American Dance Troupe, the Wisconsin Labor History Society, and the Milwaukee County Historical Society. He also lectured and taught widely around the United States, and in China, the Czech Republic, England, and Poland.
Professor Greene authored many acclaimed books. His Ph.D. dissertation on Slavic miners in Pennsylvania was published as The Slavic Community on Strike: Immigrant Labor in Pennsylvania Anthracite (1968). Other notable books followed, including For God and Country: The Rise of Polish and Lithuanian Consciousness in America, 1860-1910 (1975), American Immigrant Leaders, 1800-1910: Marginality and Identity (1987),and two wonderful studies on popular immigrant music, A Passion for Polka: Old-Time Ethnic Music in America (1992), and A Singing Ambivalence: American Immigrants between Old World and New, 1830-1930 (2004). He also co-edited, with UWM History Professor, Margo Anderson, Perspectives on Milwaukee's Past (2009).
Victor was married to Laura Greene. They have two children, Geoff and Jessica, and three grandchildren.
Posted: September 11, 2014
Tagged: In Memoriam