Lucy Simler Obituary: Independent historian helped start U center





Lucy Simler an independent historian who helped launch the University of Minnesota's Center for Early Modern History and who wrote about colonial Pennsylvania, died in Edina on Dec. 20 of complications from a fall last spring.

The St. Paul resident was 79.

"How extraordinary it was for her to carve out a career as a private scholar. She didn't have an academic appointment. She created her own intellectual agenda," said Ted Farmer, a professor of history at the University of Minnesota and the acting director of the Center for Early Modern History.

Simler was instrumental in raising the funds to build the center and for enlarging it since its inception 20 years ago, Farmer said. She also served as the center's associate director until the late 1990s.

Simler, whose historical research centered on the colonial market economies of southeastern Pennsylvannia counties near Philadelphia, wrote or co-wrote three books and numerous scholarly articles.

Simler questioned the underpinnings of America's early industrialization.


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