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Cross, Samuel H.

    Full Name: Cross, Samuel Hazzard

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 01 July 1891

    Date Died: 14 October 1946

    Place Died: Cambridge City, Middlesex, MA, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Subject Area(s): architecture (object genre), Medieval (European), and sculpture (visual works)

    Institution(s): Harvard University


    Chairman of the committee of Slavic Languages and Literature at Harvard College; Slavic church expert. Samuel Cross was born on July 1st, 1891, in Westerly, Rhode Island. Cross graduated from Harvard College in 1912 with an A.B. degree in classics, summa cum laude. Cross then pursued a PhD from the same institution. During his time as a Harvard PhD student, Cross spent a year as an exchange student at the University of St. Petersburg Leningrad during pre-revolutionary Russia, giving Cross firsthand experience in the USSR. Cross’s PhD was conferred in 1916.

    Following his studies, Cross served in the U.S. army and the American Commission between 1917-1920, during the latter half of World War I. After his military service, Cross worked both as a lecturer on European trade and economics at Georgetown University and chief of the U.S. Department of Commerce in Europe from 1925-1926.

    In 1927, Cross returned to Harvard to work across several language departments. Cross was the Chairman of the Germanic Languages and Literature department from 1930 to 1939. Cross delivered a series of public lectures at the Fogg Museum at Harvard University in the fall of 1933, and established the concentration in Slavic Languages and Literatures. These were published after his death at Medieval Russian Churches (1949), edited by Kenneth John Conant. Cross also maintained a long editorial relationship with Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, beginning with his appointment as an Assistant Managing Editor in 1929. He penned several articles for Speculum, including Yaroslav the Wise in the Norse tradition in 1929 and Notes on King Alfred’s North: Osti, Este in 1931. In 1936, Cross climbed to the role of the Editor of Speculum.

    In 1942, at the height of World War II, Cross interpreted a conversation between President Roosevelt and Vyacheslav Mikhaylovich Molotov (1890-1986), a Soviet politician and diplomat during a White House conference. Cross wrote for and directed the Speculum until his sudden death by heart attack on October 14th, 1946. Leonid I. Strakhovsky (1898-1963), a colleague of Cross on The American Slavic and East European Review, wrote that Cross’s “neverending labors in promoting and advancing Slavic Studies in America for a better world understanding will not have been in vain.”

    Selected Bibliography

    • The Earliest Mediaeval Churches of Kiev. Speculum 11, no. 4 (1936): 477–99.
    • Notes on King Alfred’s North: Osti, Este. Speculum 6 (April): 296–99. 1931. doi:10.2307/2848364.
    • Yaroslav the Wise in the Norse Tradition. Speculum 4 (April): 177–97.1929. doi:10.2307/2847951.



    • Blake, Robert P. “SAMUEL HAZZARD CROSS (1891-1946).” Byzantion 18 (1946): 348–52.
    • “History | Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures.”
    • “Samuel Hazzard Cross.” Speculum 21, no. 4 (1946).
    • “Slavic Scholar Samuel Cross Dies Suddenly” The Harvard Crimson
    • Strakhovsky, Leonid I. “In Memoriam: Samuel Hazzard Cross.” American Slavic and East European Review 5, no. 3/4 (1946).


    Contributors: Emily Crockett, Lee Sorensen, and Zahra Hassan


    Emily Crockett, Lee Sorensen, and Zahra Hassan. "Cross, Samuel H.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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