Diane Lindstrom (1944 – 2018)

The History Department sadly announces that Professor Emeritus Diane Lindstrom died on February 7, 2018.  She was the first woman to earn tenure in the History Department.  She also was the first person to teach a course at the university in Women’s Studies.

Diane Lindstrom and her twin brother, Daniel, were born in Jamestown, New York, on September 9, 1944.  She graduated with a B.A. from Alfred University in 1966 and enrolled at the University of Delaware.  There she earned her M.A. in 1969 and her Ph.D. in 1974.  Drawing from her dissertation, she wrote Economic Development in the Philadelphia Region 1810-1850 (Columbia University Press, 1978), for which she won the Allan Nevins Prize in Economic History.  Her work demonstrated that economic growth and industrialization in antebellum Philadelphia had more to do with relationships between the city and its hinterland, than with inter-regional or foreign trade.

Arriving in Madison in 1971 as an assistant professor, Diane Lindstrom became the department’s specialist in economic history.  Promoted to associate professor in 1977, she became full professor in 1983.  Diane acted in several roles in the Economic History Association and the Agricultural History Association.  She served terms also as a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Economic History and of Business History.  In 1992 and 1993, Diane was visiting professor in the Faculty of Economics at the University of Sydney.

The History Department recognized Diane as one of its most effective teachers, presenting her with the Dorothy and Hsin-Nung Yao Teaching Award in 1994.  Diane taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in economic and business history.  She also offered the senior capstone seminar and served as director of the department’s Honors Thesis colloquium.

Diane’s work in behalf of the department and university was as important as it was diverse.  She was instrumental in the founding of what has become the Program in Gender and Women’s History.  Lindstrom was a member of the Athletic Board from 1977 until 1987 and, within it, served as Chair of Women’s Sports from 1980 to 1987.  From 1996 to 1999, she was a member of the Social Studies Divisional Committee.

After thirty-one years at the university, Diane retired in 2005.  She subsequently divided her time between Madison and her second home in The Villages, Florida.  In both locations, she pursued her passion for golf.  More than a casual player, Diane was a winner of state and league championships.

Late in 2012, Diane received a diagnosis of advanced ovarian cancer.  With support from the Carbone Cancer Center, she fought the disease for six years.  During that period, she spent increasing amounts of time with her son Erik, her grandson Andrew, and her eventual daughter-in-law at their home in Verona.  Erik’s devotion enabled her to maintain an active life of travel to multiple spots, including London, Hawaii, and the Galapagos Islands.

Diane had exhausted all of the “good” chemotherapy regimens and even participated in three medical trials when she experienced a medical setback in December of 2017.  This led her to accept hospice care at home where she remained until her passing.

Tom Archdeacon