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Richard Hellie, 1937-2009

The University of Chicago Chronicle reports that Richard Hellie, a preeminent scholar of medieval and early modern Russian history, died Friday, April 24 in his Hyde Park home. He was 71.

A Chicago faculty member since 1966, Hellie was the Thomas E. Donnelly Professor in History and Chairman of the College Russian Civilization program. From the Chronicle article:

 “Richard Hellie was a rigorous and indefatigable researcher who produced groundbreaking and lasting, massive historical syntheses on fundamental issues of early Russian history,” said Walter Kaegi, Professor in History. “A bibliophile, he assembled one of the largest personal collections of books on Russian history anywhere. He insisted on academic excellence, and he took great pride in the achievements of his students.”

Prof. Hellie’s work reached across the bounds of academic discipline: in addition to his esteemed place in the Department of History, he also served as a faculty member of The University of Chicago Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (CEERES) and lectured at the 2007 Humanities Day. Last year, the University of Chicago Magazine profiled Hellie and explored the work-in-progress that he was finishing at the time of his death: The Structure of Modern Russian History, a study five centuries of Russian history.

Hellie is survived by wife, Shujie; sons, Benjamin and Michael; step-daughter, Sara Yu; and sister, Margaret Huyck.

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