Vermont Historian Samuel B. Hand Dies At Age 80

07/02/12 12:04PM

Funeral services were held  on Monday for an academic who helped generations of Vermonters understand their state's history.

Samuel Hand was hired as a professor of American history when he was hired at the University of Vermont in 1961.

But before long, he became as the "dean of Vermont studies" for his landmark work on 19th and 20th century politics.

Utility executive Steve Terry co-wrote two books with Hand. He says Hand helped to explain the context of Vermont's transformation from one of the most reliably Republican states.

"He really looked at it with a real microscope and he helped us understand that the roots or the facts of why that was happening," Terry said. "Then he could translate that t least for his students in the ‘60s and beyond why Vermont was a changing state."

Terry worked with Hand on his most recent book, a biography of former Governor Phil Hoff.

The Burlington Free Press reports that Hand suffered from a form of Parkinson's disease and died after choking at a South Burlington restaurant. He was 80.

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