Tennis Club News Page

Sunday, April 2

Earth, receive an honoured guest.

Adam Ulam died on Tuesday at the Youville Hospital in Cambridge. He was a long-time member of the Cambridge Tennis Club. His son, Joe, worked here for years.

Adam was a professor of history and political science at Harvard for 45 years and was the Director of the Russian Center there from 1973 to 1976 and again from 1980 to 1992. He wrote eighteen books and was seen as one of the foremost scholars on Soviet history, especially the early years. In 1965 he wrote, "The Bolsheviks," and in 1973, "Stalin: the Man and His Era." Both books were regarded as definitive by many scholars in the field.

The BolsheviksStalin:The Man and His Era

Adam was known as a voracious reader of oftentimes deadly dull official Soviet newspapers and journals. He read, we understand, reams and reams of exquisitely boring material, but wrote in a very lively style. He was quite lively in person, too.

We remember Adam chatting on the porch here, talking about a late-night phone call from the State Department. Someone in the Department needed information on a newcomer to the Politburo, a newcomer who didn't show up on the Department's radar.

Adam was mostly reluctant, though, to chat about the Soviet Union. He regarded that as talking shop. What he was eager to chat about was baseball. Adam was a real Red Sox fan. He knew the sad history of the team; he knew the players; he regretted the trades; he longed for a redemptive World Series triumph.

Adam played tennis here pretty often up until a few years ago, and he stopped in to visit regularly. He was a witty and colorful character. His legendary sartorial style was once descibed as `distraught.' His clothes never, ever matched. His bow tie was always, always askew.

Adam leaves his former wife, Mary Burgwin, and two sons, Alex and Joe. Alex and Joe both live in N.Y.C now. Joe visits the club from time to time, and plays a little tennis. He is maintaining Adam's web site, where you can find the first chapter of Adam's autobiography.

A memorial service will take place in the Mt. Auburn Cemetery at noon on Monday. Another service will follow on May 31 at Harvard's Memorial Church at 3 p.m.

We'll miss you, Adam.

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Joe DeBassio, Webmaster.

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