In Memoriam, Anthropologist Sidney Mintz, 1922-2015 – by Andrew Tarter


In Memoriam, Anthropologist Sidney Mintz, 1922-2015

Anthropologist Sidney Mintz conducting fieldwork in Haiti

I never had the privilege of meeting Dr. Sidney Mintz face-to-face, but I did have the chance to correspond with him via email a bit. A high thrill of my lifetime was receiving a hand-addressed manila envelope from him (see photo below), containing several of his hard-to-find publications, which I had inquired about.

A hard-to-find article Sidney Mitnz graciously mailed to me.

After I thanked Mintz, he closed his response with:

Give my best Jerry [anthropologist Gerald Murray and the chair of my dissertation], would you please? tell him I’m going to be 90 in November, and I’m still trying to make trouble — with some success!


My last correspondence with Sid was in August 2015, when I inquired if he would consider doing an interview for the National Association of Student Anthropologists’ column in the American Anthropological Association’s Anthropology News publication. He responded:

Dear Andrew,

Let me see the questions so I can decide. I’m not snobbish, honest — just busy!


I sent the questions, but he never responded. No, he was not snobbish, and yes, Sidney Mintz was indeed a very busy man.

One is never great by being in proximity to greatness, but Sidney Mintz’s writing on Haiti has always been a great inspiration to me, and to many, many others. Rest in peace,‪ Sidney Mintz‬, and thank you for your contributions to understanding Haiti‬ and to anthropology in general.