- In Memoriam: Sidney P. Albert
Sidney P. Albert died peacefully on 9 January 2013; he was ninety-eight years old. Born in Syracuse, New York, Sid received an A.B. from Syracuse University in 1935 and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Yale in 1939. After serving in the military, he did postdoctoral study in drama and theater under the G.I. Bill at Carnegie Tech, Northwestern, Stanford, the University of Illinois, and Columbia. He was a founding member of the International Shaw Society and helped organize and run several Shaw organizations. His extensive collection of Shaw manuscripts, books, and correspondence, the Sidney P. Albert–Bernard Shaw Collection, is now housed at Brown University. He is survived by his sister, Beverly Cooper Silvers; his former wife, Lucy Ann Albert, and their thee children, Vivian, Alan, and Laurence; four grandchildren; and his longtime friend, Elaine Amromin.
A professor emeritus of philosophy at Cal State LA, Sid published his magnum opus, Shaw, Plato, and Euripides: Classical Currents in “Major Barbara,” in 2012 with the University Press of Florida as part of its Bernard Shaw Series. According to the series’ editor, R. F. Dietrich, “The sort of grit and determination that saw Sid through to the finishing of the book was typical of him. And I learned in the process an even greater admiration for his scholarship and his scholarly integrity, for, despite the urgency of an author in his 90s, there was no cutting of corners in the research and writing of this book. And what came out at the end was a work of philosophical discourse rare in his clarity and ground-breaking in showing very concretely how Shaw had borrowed Greek thought but modernized it. Major Barbara stood revealed at last as a step forward, an evolutionary growth, from ancient wisdom.” According to Dietrich, “I’m sure it was Sid’s experience in this that led to his strong support for me when, at the 2000 [End Page 228] Shaw Conference at Marquette University in Milwaukee, I proposed the founding of the ISS, which has borne promising fruit and seems likely to last, but which would be much stronger by now if I had known how valuable Sid would have been as a partner had we founded it ten years earlier. I am delighted, however, that the ISS was able to take advantage in 2007 of another Sid Albert obsession, the collecting of works on and by Shaw. The second ISS conference just happened to be at Brown that year, and what a rare privilege it was to see the display of Sid’s wonderful collection. I’ve heard since that Sid has a second collection of Shaviana that rivals the first, and I only hope that a suitable home can be found for it.”
In many ways, Sid’s life amounted to a sort of “Quintessence of Shavianism” in both work and deed—a legacy and an inspiration for his family, friends, and colleagues.
Michel W. Pharand, general editor of shaw, is the author of Bernard Shaw and the French (2000), editor of Robert Graves’s The Greek Myths (2001), and of Bernard Shaw and His Publishers (2009), and general editor of Benjamin Disraeli Letters, Volume IX: 1865–1867 (2013). He is director of the Disraeli Project at Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada.