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In Memoriam Vivian David Lipman (1921-1990)

<plain_text><page sequence="1">In Memoriam Vivian David Lipman CVO, DPhil, FSA, FRHisrS 1921-1990 Vivian Lipman was a civil servant of great distinction, an historian of the front rank in his chosen fields, and a pious Jew. His piety and faith are essential ingredients in understanding his character and outlook. He was a family man and a private man. He was rarely at ease in the public glare. Vivian was deeply attached to our heritage, and to the study, including the private study, of its sources, and of the media through which over the ages our religious, cultural and literary inheritance has been channelled, moulded and perceived. He also had a high degree of public spiritedness for society as a whole, for the efficacy of its institutions and for social relations. His instinctive interest in history reflected an interest in people, and was not confined to the Jewish sector. His extensive reading of British history was in part a reflection of his patriotism. His pleasure in his Fellowship of the Royal Historical Society was a considered and not a trite reaction. I have no doubt that these were among the qualities which infused his work as a public administrator, in which sphere his talents and achievements won such wide acclaim. Added to these gifts were a sharp mind, a remarkably capacious intellect, an unfailing ability to detect and formulate with pellucid clarity the issues that matter, and a flair for the labour of detailed research and for the marshalling and analysis of the results. Clearly it was such factors which caused him to shine brightly in his capacity as Jewish historian. He had a life-long and profound curiosity about the ever-changing contemporary Jewish scene, and a kind of personal commitment to the elucidation of its beginnings in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, especially so far as the Jews in the United Kingdom were concerned. His devotion to the Jewish Historical Society of England became part of the pattern of his life, in which pattern Sonia, his wife who predeceased him, shared. It was for both of them an extension of their domesticity, to the great benefit of the Society and of Jewish scholarship. Vivian was well aware of his intellectual gifts. He would not hesitate in conversation to illustrate the range of his multi-sided knowledge. This xv</page><page sequence="2">In Memoriam would be done by way of a distinctly playful presentation of a piece of recondite information. While others would be impressed, he would take boyish amusement in the apparent ease with which he carried his immense learning. Nobody could define this as immodesty. It was more a form of gamesmanship in which all had their parts. In demeanour and personal relations he had an unaffected modesty, which sometimes concealed a considerable inner confidence. That confidence, which became manifest when required, was, again in a wholly distinctive way, often accompanied by a constitutional shyness which in no way lessened the impact of his confidence, but, for his audience, reinforced its effect. His wit and humour took time to announce themselves, except in the company of intimates. The combination of such characteristics might have led the unwary to think of him as remote and likely to be impractical. He was neither remote nor impractical. He was a superb committee member, full of wise ideas and prolific in devices for handling practical situations. Down-to earth and endowed with insight into people's thinking and reactions, he was an invaluable colleague. He always gave of his best. Vivian's ready helpfulness to students became proverbial. His felicity of expression in writing and in speech delighted scholar and layman alike. It was an important element in his large contribution to Anglo-Jewish historiography. His polymathic versatility, as well as his sheer industry, is illustrated in his undoubted feel for medieval studies. His monumental The Jews of Medieval Norwich (1967) vividly demonstrates it. Vivian held many offices in this Society, adding prestige to each of them. He attended closely to detail as well as to policy. As Chairman of the Programme Committee he extended the bounds of the Society's conventional interests, encouraging young scholars and newer themes. As Editor of Publications his exactitude never became pedantry, but added quality and effectiveness to our publications. As President he brought lustre to the Society by his addresses and his personality. The Transactions bear extensive witness to his success in all those fields, as do his editing of Three Centuries of Anglo-Jewish History (1961) and his joint editing with Sonia of Jewish Life in Modern Britain, which contain the proceedings of the conference on that subject convened in London by the Board of Deputies in 1977. The latter volume was a follow-up to the work of like title published in 1964 in consequence of the conference held in London in 1962 under the auspices of the Board and of the Hebrew University's Institute of Contemporary Jewry. At that conference Vivian delivered an address, xvi</page><page sequence="3">In Memoriam included in the volume of 1964 on 'Topics and Methods of Future Research in Contemporary Anglo-Jewish History'. It proved to be a highly influential and prophetic paper, typical of his style in substance and form. Its influence may be detected in the proceedings of the conference of 1977, to which Vivian made his own distinctive contributions. As we approach the centenary of the Society, three figures may fairly be said to stand out. They are Luden Wolf, Cecil Roth and Vivian Lipman. Each reflected the priorities and aspirations of their successive ages. Cecil and Vivian each built on the work of their predecessors, expanding the scope of Jewish historical writing. Vivian's Social History of the Jews in England 1850-1950 (1954) was a pioneer work, of enduring value to researchers in, and teachers of, Anglo-Jewish history. The social and economic subjects with which it dealt, the statistical studies which it included, its examination of demographic changes and of the changing occupational structures, and its close study of the non-establishment segments of the Jewish community, render that work a landmark in Anglo Jewish scholarship and literature. Vivian's numerous papers on demographic history between the mid Victorian period and the present day, continued this genre of study. They form a striking department of original and analytical production within his considerable output. He was also concerned with the inter-relations between the divers layers of the communal structure; with the reality of the mode of life and work of the broad mass of the evolving community; and with the impact of immigrations on the existing community; the immigrants themselves and the old and new communal institutions. It was no accident that he had a long personal interest in the writings of the Webbs, not least the attitudes to Jewish issues on the part of Beatrice Webb. They were among the precursors of a new ethos of social awareness and social studies. His impressive paper entitled The Age of Emancipation, 1815-1880' in Three Centuries, which was probably (with the notes thereto) his best single piece in literary terms, again reveals his concern to study those layers of life and thought outside the governing groups. His role in this kind of research will be increasingly appreciated. His articles on these and related subjects appeared in Transactions, the Jewish Journal of Sociology, the Jewish Chronicle, L'Eylah, and elsewhere. His 'The Structure of London Jewry in the mid-Nineteenth Century' in the Festschrift for Sir Israel Brodie (1967) is especially noteworthy in the wide range of Vivian's unfailingly original and stimulating studies. I would also make special reference to volume XXI of Transactions (1968). It was a tour de force on his part that there appear in that volume xvii</page><page sequence="4">In Memoriam two rich papers by Vivian on subjects as diverse as 'The Rise of Anglo Jewish Suburbia' and 'Anatomy of Medieval Anglo-Jewry' (which was his presidential address in 1965). The former paper was an expanded version of his presidential address in 1966. It was in a sense a sequel to his memorable study in volume XVIII on 'A Survey of Anglo-Jewry, 1851', which was largely based on the census of that year. The 'Suburbia' study was concerned with demographic, occupational and residential movements among the Jews in England during and since the Emancipation. Whatever differences there were in the themes of the two papers in volume XXI, there was the undoubted connecting link in the study of how and where people lived and what work they did, all based on research into often untapped sources and replete with original conclusions and fresh interpretations. Vivian greatly welcomed his association with the Littman Library of Jewish Civilization. It served to broaden his opportunities to serve the cause of Jewish studies, especially in the historical field. He was especially pleased, as was Sonia, with the notable collection of studies on The Century of Moses Montefiore (1985), which they edited with great zeal and skill, and in which Sonia's own study, entitled 'The Making of a Victorian Gentleman', was a significant feature. The last work which Vivian lived to see was his Americans and the Holy Land (1989). His study therein of British records throwing light on American involvement in the Holy Land during the hundred years prior to the Balfour Declaration, adds new material and fresh insights to the subject. Vivian had already contributed a major paper to the colloquium in Washington in 1983, convened by the America-Holy Land Studies Project, on America-Holy Land material in British Archives between 1820 and 1930. That paper was published in With Eyes Towards Zion (1986), edited by Professor Moshe Davis, the academic chairman of the International Centre for the University Teaching of Jewish Civilization. Vivian acknowledged the help and encouragement given to him by that Centre and by the Palestine Exploration Fund (with which he was closely associated) in connection with these new branches of his scholarly enterprise. He was devoted to the welfare and honour of the State of Israel, and saw in these works a significant contribution to the history both of the evolution of Israel and the study of the Jewish people within the family of peoples. As we pay tribute to this scholar and friend, we may properly regard ourselves as blessed by the memory of him, enriched and fortified by his example and achievements, and fortunate to have had him among us. In this is to be found his legacy to us all. We say to his son, Anthony, and all xviii</page><page sequence="5">In Memoriam the family, that we are proud to have known him, and that he and Sonia will not be forgotten. Israel Finestein xix</page><page sequence="6">^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^BF ? v -i^^&amp;ijBl^J ^^^^^B ?. 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