Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Obituaries: Jozef Altholz

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Obituaries: Jozef Altholz

Article excerpt

Jozef Altholz died on August 2, 2003, of a massive heart attack after a long battle against lymphatic cancer. He was born in the Bronx on August 31, 1933. A Ph.D. from Columbia University, he had been a member of the Department of History at the University of Minnesota since 1960.

Professor Altholz was a highly respected and unusually prolific student of the religious history of nineteenth-century England, with four books to his credit including The Liberal Catholic Movement in England: The "Rambler" and Its Contributors, 1848-1964 (1962), and The Religious Press in Britain, 1760-1900 (1989), as well as six edited or co-edited volumes including The Correspondence of Lord Acton and Richard Simpson (3 vols., 1971-1975), more than fifty articles and chapters in books, and over a hundred book reviews.

A scholar through and through, he relished being a Jew initially known for his work on the history of Catholics, a status not without its ironies. Active in local politics, he ran for the Minneapolis School Board in his early days at Minnesota, listing his first book in campaign literature, only to be told, after losing, that some people had not wanted to vote for a Catholic. In 1986-1987 his accomplishments earned him a term as president of the American Catholic Historical Association. Those of us who attended the session on "Catholic History" at the 1999 meeting will especially remember his paper, an eloquent plea that the history of Catholicism is not and must not be a craft accessible only to Catholics.

Among history colleagues at Minnesota Jozef was cherished for his sardonic wit, his encyclopedic knowledge (not just of European history), and above all for his unfailing memory of our collective past: only he knew what was the correct procedure in any situation, and why it was so. …

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