by Prof. Robert Johnson, Professor Emeritus, former director of CERES

Scott Eddie and I arrived at the University of Toronto in the same year, 1971. Both of us were cross-appointed to what was then Erindale College, later re-christened as the University of Toronto, Mississauga. His home department was Political Economy and mine History, but we shared an interest in the economic history of Europe and especially its eastern parts. My concentration was on Russia, while Scott focused largely on Hungary. (One of his more striking accomplishments was that, with no familial or ancestral connection to Hungary, he had mastered the Hungarian language in order to carry out his studies.)

He had, at MIT, studied with the eminent economic historian, Russian-born Evsey Domar; this gave him a broad expertise about the agricultural economies of Eastern Europe. I too was studying peasant agriculture and patterns of landowning in feudal and post-feudal economies—albeit through a different lens. We found a great deal to talk about, and I cannot overstate the pleasures of those conversations. He was always generous with his time and keenly curious about all the issues we were both studying. But he was also knowledgeable and enthusiastic about countless other matters. A lively sense of humour and irreverence were among his defining traits. He became a friend and a mentor.

Scott was one of the leading lights in the field of what has sometimes been called cleometrics—the refined use of statistics and statistical methods in the study of history. This was another field in which I turned to him for assistance in my own research. Once again I encountered the same collegiality, the same zest for historical study, the same ability to turn what could have been arcane study into a quest of broader significance.

Still later, during my term as Director of the then-Centre for Russian and East European Studies, he served as a member of the Steering Committee. The Centre in those days was redefining its teaching and research program to address the multiple opportunities and challenges of the post-Communist transition. Scott’s sound advice and good nature helped to keep the Centre on track through a very turbulent decade.

The range of his scholarly publications is far too long to enumerate here. He was a giant in his field. But I think it is also accurate to say that, no matter how specific or narrow his research focus may have been at a given moment, he never lost sight of the larger implications, the bigger picture into which the pieces fit. He was always passionately interested in the fate of Hungary and Eastern Europe—an interest that carried up to the present day.

He will be remembered for his expertise, but even more for the deep ­­­­affection that he inspired among all his colleagues. We will miss the pleasure of his company.