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Matt S. Meier, 86; Wrote on History of Mexican Americans

August 17, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

Matt S. Meier, a professor emeritus of history at the University of Santa Clara who wrote extensively on Mexican American history, has died. He was 86.

Meier, who wrote more than a dozen books on Mexican Americans and other Latinos living in the United States, died Monday at a hospital in Santa Clara of complications from leukemia, according to his son Phil.

A native of Covington, Ky., Meier served in the Army during World War II and went to college after the war. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Miami, his master's at Mexico City College and his doctorate at UC Berkeley.

He joined the University of Santa Clara in 1963 after teaching at Bakersfield City College and spending time in Argentina as a Fulbright professor.

He served as chairman of the history department on two occasions while at Santa Clara. He retired in 1989.

Meier also was a prolific writer during his teaching career.

His best-known works were "The Chicanos: A History of Mexican Americans," written with Feliciano Rivera in 1972, and two books under his own name: "Mexican American Biographies: A Historical Dictionary" and "Bibliography of Mexican American History."

A reviewer for the New Republic called "The Chicanos" "especially good; it is not long or pretentious, nor it is especially polemical. Rather the authors in a quiet but determined way want to educate their readers, presumably the Anglos."

In addition to his son Phil of Tustin, he is survived by his sons Gary of San Jose; Patrick of Pullman, Wash.; Paul of Las Vegas; and Pepe of Flagstaff, Ariz. He also is survived by five grandchildren.

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