Sally Falk Moore
1924 - 2021
Sally Falk Moore, Victor S. Thomas Professor Emerita at Harvard University, passed away peacefully at the age of 97 on May 2, 2021 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Born Sally Lou Falk on January 18, 1924 in NYC, she attended the Lincoln School, Barnard College, and Columbia Law School. After briefly working on Wall Street, she became a staff attorney with the War Department at the Nuremberg Trials intended to bring Nazi war criminals to justice. There, she saw the limitations of law, sparking her life-long study of legal and political systems. She met David Cresap Moore in Haiti in 1948, while each was considering next steps in their lives. They returned together to NYC and Columbia University, married, and raised two daughters. Wherever they were living during the next seventy years, the family spent as much time as possible at their retreat in Truro on Cape Cod.

Professor Moore received her Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University in 1957. Her subsequent field work was in Tanzania, studying the interactions between indigenous, colonial, and post-colonial social and legal systems. She published widely, focusing largely on cross-cultural, comparative legal theory.

The Moores went to Los Angeles when Cresap joined the history department at UCLA. Professor Moore served on the faculty of USC (1963-1977) and UCLA (1977-1981). She was a Visiting Professor at Yale (1975-1976) and Harvard (1978).

The Moores moved to Cambridge in 1981, when Professor Moore joined Harvard as a Professor of Anthropology. During the 1980's and 1990's, she often taught a class in anthropology and law at Harvard Law School; she was later delighted to learn that one of her students was Barack Hussein Obama, though she had no memory of him from the class. The Moores were Co-Masters of Dunster House at Harvard (1984-1989). and she was Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1985-1989).

Professor Moore's honors accrued throughout her career. She was awarded the Ansley prize for her PhD dissertation, the Kalven Prize from the Law and Society Association, and the Huxley Memorial Medal from the Royal Anthropological Institute. She gave the Morgan Lectures (University of Rochester), the Beatty Lecture (McGill University), the Huxley Memorial Lecture (University of Manchester), the Brittingham Lecture (Law School, University of Wisconsin), and the Haskins Prize Lecture at the American Council of Learned Societies.

Sally Falk Moore was a devoted educator, mentor, and colleague and a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. In addition to her myriad professional accomplishments, she was known for her beauty, which she never failed to use to her advantage. She was a very good hostess and an ace double-solitaire player. She drank a small glass of vermouth every evening. Her husband of fifty years died in 2001. She is survived by her daughters, Penelope Moore and Nicola Moore, her grandsons, Benjamin Whitlock (Alison Thaler) and Samuel Moore (Michael Roytman), and by a host of students whose lives she touched.

Donations can be made in her name to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Published by New York Times from May 5 to May 6, 2021.
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8 Entries
I was just about to write you a note, saying that I missed you!
Out of sight does not necessarily mean out of mind.
I am grateful to have had you in my life. All those many times that you bestowed the great honor, of being the person to cut your hair.
It gave me time to get to know what kind of person you really were—and I can tell you without hesitation— a very fine one indeed.
I will finally try to make that chicken tikka recipe you mailed to me. You warned me that it was time consuming and a lot of work, but I won’t let that stop me, I will enjoy it in your honor.
Goodbye to you, my favorite “white cloud”.
With love and great affection,

Your faithful tonsorialist,
David LaFrance Winner
David Winner
Friend
June 19, 2021
So sorry for your loss. I remember your parents fondly from their years at Dunster House. One of the few great photos I have from college is of a glorious spring day spent gardening at your father's behest. Eminent scholars both and lovely people.
Kristin Gilbertson
Student
May 10, 2021
I knew Professor Moore when I was a graduate student at Harvard and tutor at Dunster House. I had actually known her husband at UCLA, where I got my first degree in History. Small world! Although I was a historian of 16th century England, my interest in legal history drew me to her work. She was always an available and supportive mentor, and I much admired her for that and her innovative scholarship.
Eric Carlson
Student
May 8, 2021
Whether in Cambridge or on the Cape, Sally was always a gracious hostess, vibrant conversationalist and empathetic listener. Thanksgiving with Cressup and Sally at Harvard will always be a warm memory for me.
Olav ha-shalom
Leonard Roseman
Friend
May 8, 2021
Sally and Cresap were UCLA colleagues, and delightful hosts in Los Angeles, Truro, and even in Dunster House when I took my son on his college tour in 1989. (Blake did go to Harvard.). A bittersweet memory was spending election night 1980 with them, commiserating over Reagan's election. Always hospitable and always very smart. Sally, RIP
Ronald Mellor
Friend
May 6, 2021
Cherry and I remember Sally with much affection and gratitude. She and Cressap welcomed us warmly into their home for ten days when we first came to Cambridge in 1983, and were the most gracious and generous hosts. We recall with great pleasure Sally's lively intelligence and infectious smile. She will be sorely missed.
Charles Lindholm
Coworker
May 6, 2021
You have become like family to us, and Sally was the last of her generation. So we must move on without her presence, but guided by the words "What would Sally have thought?" With love from us all.
Ralph
Friend
May 6, 2021
Sally was a brilliant anthropologist, analyst of law and jurisprudence, and insightful specialist on East Africa. She was also a Kilimanjaro of colleagues, looked up to by everyone around her; a devoted teacher and scholar to the end of her long life; and a great, empathic, giving friend.
Parker Shipton
Coworker
May 6, 2021
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