Alumnae Bulletin November 2008

Alain Silvera, Professor Emeritus of History

Professor Emeritus of History Alain Silvera, a scholar of the history and current politics of France and the Middle East, died on July 8, 2008, at the age of 77. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, to French parents, he graduated from Victoria College, whose alumni include King Hussein of Jordan, Edward Said and Omar Sharif. He moved to the United States after World War II and received his A.B. with honors from Cornell University in 1952, and an M.A. in 1953 and Ph.D. in 1963 from Harvard University. From 1954 to 56, he served overseas with the U.S. Army as private and sergeant, acting as a general's interpreter in Verdun. He was a Visiting Fellow at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris from 1956 to 1957.

Professor Silvera joined the Bryn Mawr faculty in 1961 and retired in 1997. He was a devoted teacher whose interests ranged across many subjects, periods and regions. His primary fields of expertise were 19th-century French history, the influence of France on the Middle East, and 19th- and 0thcentury Egypt. He was the author of Daniel Halevy and His Times, (Cornell University Press 1966); translator and editor of Halevy's The End of the Notables (Wesleyan University Press 1974), which was nominated for the National Book Award in translation in 1974; and scores of scholarly articles, chapters in books, and book reviews. He received numerous outside fellowships, including grants from the American Philosophical Society, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Among other professional activities, he worked as a lecturer for the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, as a consultant to the CIA, and as an analyst with Dun and Bradstreet. During the Persian Gulf crisis, he participated in a teach-in on campus and spoke on local television news.

Predeceased by his wife, Dolores Dibblee Silvera, he is survived by his son, David, and three grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on December 6 at 1:30 p.m. in the Ely Room, Wyndham. Gifts in his memory may be made to Bryn Mawr College. For more information, please contact Anna Kamstra:, 610.526.7385