Professor of History, Emeritus
UC Los Angeles
Stanley Coben, professor of history, died of a heart attack at his home in Los Angeles on July 31, 2000 at the age of 70. He was born in Flushing, N.Y. on August 6, 1929. He married Herminia Menez in 1951.
He attended Union College in New York and transferred to the University of Southern California, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1954. For a short time after graduation he was a journalist in New York City and then resumed his studies at Columbia University where he received a M.A. in 1959 and a Ph.D. in history in 1961.
Coben’s first teaching assignment was at Hunter College from 1960 to 1964. He then taught at Princeton University from 1964 to 1968. In 1968 he joined the History Department at UCLA where he remained until his retirement in 1999. He was also a visiting professor in history at the University of California, Berkeley in 1971. Coben was a leading scholar in twentieth century United States history and trained many important scholars in American history. Coben’s writings include his books A. Mitchell Palmer, Politician and Rebellion against Victorianism, the Impetus for Cultural Change in 1920s America and his articles in scholarly publications on J. Edgar Hoover, the Ku-Klux Klan, and historical development of quantum physics in the United States. At the time of his death he was working on the final chapter of his latest book Religious Rights in Los Angeles.
Professor Coben was a member of the American Historical Advisory Committee, the New York State Board of Higher Education from 1964 to 1966, and the University of California Liaison Committee on Educational Programs in 1977 as well as a Social Science Faculty Research Fellow from 1967 to 1968 and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow from 1972 to 1973. His memberships also included the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, American Studies Association, and the Economic Historical Association.
He enjoyed jazz concerts and running. As a student at the University of Southern California, he was on the track and field team and remained competitive as a runner. In 1995 he won his last gold medal at the National Masters Championships held at Michigan State University.
Coben is survived by his wife Herminia, his brother William, his two daughters Elizabeth Waldman and Celia Alaniz, and four grandchildren.
UCLA Today, August 29, 2000