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Atkinson, Dorothy Gillis (1929–) - Russian History

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Dorothy Gillis Atkinson was born in Malden, Massachusetts, on August 5, 1929, of Scotch-Italian ancestry. Her mother was a full-time homemaker, her father a labor-union leader. As a child she attended public schools in Massachusetts, New York, and California. The oldest of six children and the only girl, Atkinson was an avid reader who did well in school, as she puts it, “without much effort.” At around age eight, she was promised a new bicycle if she earned all A’s. “Yes, I was bribed,” she states, “and it worked. I learned that extra effort pays off.”

Atkinson attended Barnard College, Columbia University, as an undergraduate. She decided as a teenager that her highest values were people and time, and she felt that the study and practice of history fit well with those values. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1951, she attended the University of California at Berkeley, earning a master’s degree in 1953 and then Stanford University, earning a Ph.D. in 1971.

Professor Atkinson’s first academic appointment was at Stanford University, where she was assistant professor of history from 1973 to 1982. From 1984 to 1985, she was visiting associate professor of history at the University of California at Berkeley. From 1983 to 1986, Atkinson was also director of the Stanford Summer Institute for Soviet and East European Studies. In 1981, she was named executive director of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, a post she held until her retirement in 1995. Atkinson remains the AAASS representative on the International Council for Central and East European Studies.

Dr. Atkinson has published widely in Russian history. Her work includes The End of the Russian Land Commune, 1905–1930 (1983), and a co-edited work, Women in Russia (1977). Critic Roberta Manning, arguing that The End of the Russian Land Commune was the first comprehensive account of the commune in the twentieth century, called it “an outstanding work of scholarship that should be read by all serious students of twentieth-century Russia and of agrarian development in general.” Dorothy Atkinson has also written approximately fifty articles, book chapters, and reviews. She has been the recipient of many awards, including fellowships from the U.S. Fulbright-Hays Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Hoover Institution, and the Mellon Foundation. She also received a Faculty Exchange with the USSR Ministry of Higher Education, a Cory Scholarship Award, and a Pulitzer Scholarship.

Her work includes service to the International Council for Central and East European Studies, the American Historical Association, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Council for Area Studies Associations, and the U.S. Department of State Advisory Committee on Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies.

Dorothy Atkinson was married to Sterling K. Atkinson from 1950 to 1982, when they divorced. She has two children, a daughter, Kim Leslie Atkinson Fudenberg, and a son, Paul David Atkinson. She also has two “extraordinary” granddaughters, Amy and Keri, her daughter’s children. Her hobbies include gardening and travel.

Atlantov, Vladimir (Andreievich) [next] [back] Atkins, Simon Green(1863–1934) - Educator, college president, Chronology

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