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University of Florida

LAKELAND - University of Florida Professor Emeritus Harry W. Paul died on Friday, October 12 in Lakeland, Florida, following a battle with cancer. He was 79.
He is survived by his loving companion of twenty years, Claire Orologas; four siblings, Murray, Allister, Juanita and Joan; his two daughters, Janine and Elena, and two grandchildren.
Born and raised in Newfoundland, Canada, Harry W. Paul received his BA in History from the University of Newfoundland and his PhD in French History from Columbia University in New York. He arrived at the University of Florida in the early 1960s and for nearly 40 years, until his formal retirement in 2001, Dr. Paul was an outstanding teacher-scholar of French intellectual and cultural history and history of science and medicine. He taught a range of courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level that included the surveys in European history, the history of France, the history of Paris (his favorite city), and the history of the life sciences along with the history of medicine. He worked to build the strength of the European history doctoral program and, at a time when areas like women's history, gender history and cultural history were considered marginal areas of study, supported department hires in these areas unequivocally.
In a remarkably strong scholarly career, Dr. Paul wrote dozens of articles including a celebrated entry on Louis Pasteur for the Dictionary of Medical Biography edited by W.F. and Helen Bynam, and no less than seven scholarly books, a number of which have been translated, often exploring themes of knowledge, science, power and their intersection with diverse cultural practices like wine making, therapeutic medicine, and theater in France. Some of these were pioneering works in the institutional and cultural history of science and medicine in France while others reached unexpected audiences. His monumental Science, Wine and Vine in France, for example, is now considered compulsory reading for all master of wine students by viticulturalists.
Throughout the course of his unusually productive scholarly career, he was the recipient of nearly every major federal grant or fellowship available at the time, including grants from the American Philosophical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation, at one time holding grants from both the latter two agencies simultaneously. He was repeatedly honored for his record of grantsmanship by the University of Florida's office of sponsored research, the only faculty member in history to receive this distinction on several occasions, and increased the visibility of the department both at the university and internationally by being the only historian at UF who also published in the prestigious journals Science and Nature. The latter journal published two long notable reviews of his own books --a rare distinction for historians at the time.
After his formal retirement from the University, he moved to Washington, DC, but continued to work in Paris at his usual spot in the Bibliothèque National de France. In 2011, Ashgate Press published his seventh book, a vivid biography of a long neglected figure Henri de Rothschild, of the famous wine-making family, that explores his career as physician and playwright against the backdrop of the intellectual and cultural life of early twentieth century Paris. At the time of Dr. Paul's death, he was finishing the final chapter on his eighth scholarly book, a study of the rise of the professional woman doctor, especially in Paris where the university pioneered the admission of women to medical studies.
In a life filled with academic achievements, diverse support throughout Dr. Paul's career for his scholarly work and good wine, one of his favorite distinctions was a formal luncheon reception held in his honor by the famed Chateau Mouton Rothschild after the publication of his Bacchic Medicine. With Philippine de Rothschild presiding, it became a much publicized event in the press with one account billing it dramatically as "The American Professor and the French Baroness." In 2011, The University of Florida recognized Dr. Paul's academic excellence, pedagogical efforts, pioneering work in his field and remarkable productivity by naming him Outstanding Emeritus Professor of the Year.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Polk Museum of Art, 800 East Palmetto Street, Lakeland, FL, or to Good Shepherd Hospice, 105 Arneson Avenue, Auburndale, FL, 33823.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.heathfuneralchapel.com


Published in Ledger on Oct. 16, 2012
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