Ladislaus Joseph Bolchazy
Lou Bolchazy combined the gifts of foresight, business acumen, and a deep determination to broaden the appeal and of classics to the general public and to publish modern teaching texts and materials for the classrooms of the twenty-first century.
His industry, devotion to the literature of classical antiquity and of modern Slovakia earned him awards and admiration both in his native and his adoptive countries.
Lou’s father, Eugene Bölcházy, was born in the United States but returned with his parents to Michalovec, Slovakia, at age 10, where he worked as a carpenter and farmer. His wife Maria gave birth to Ladislaus Joseph Bolchazy on June 7, 1937. Evacuated during bombing raids on their home town, young Lou and his family survived World War II, but when the Communist regime took over in 1948, Eugene emigrated back to America, where he earned enough money to bring his family over in May 1949. They settled in a Slavic enclave of Yonkers, New York, where Eugene worked as a custodian and Maria as a seamstress. Lou was educated in Catholic schools and intended to be a priest, enrolling at the Divine Word College and Seminary in Conesus, New York. He abandoned that idea, received an A.A. in Classics in 1960 and subsequently received a B.A. in philosophy from St. Joseph’s College and Seminary in Yonkers in 1963. He already had begun teaching at Sacred Heart High School in Yonkers in 1962 and he remained until 1965, when he met and married Marie Carducci, a marriage that lasted nearly 47 years. He enrolled in the graduate program at NYU and took a job as instructor at Siena College in Londonville, New York, for the academic year 1966-67. He received an M.A. from NYU in 1967 and took a position as assistant professor of classics at La Salette College and Seminary in Altamont, New York from 1971 to 1975. In 1973 he received his Ph.D. from SUNY Albany with a dissertation entitled “Livy’s Interest in the Humanizing Role of the Law of Hospitality, subsequently published as Hospitality in Early Rome: Livy’s Concept of Its Humanizing Force (Chicago: Ares, 1977). In early papers delivered at conferences, Lou showed his ability to adapt new technological resources to classicists’ research needs by compiling electronically-generated concordances of More’s Utopia and Ausonius. After a series of one-year jobs, as visiting assistant professor at Millersville State College in Pennsylvania (1975-76), and at Loyola University in Chicago (1976-77), and co-direction of NEH Summer Institutes Sophocles & Thucydides at Cornell (1976) and on ancient history at Michigan (1977), a permanent position still eluded him, and he decided to devote his considerable business skills to establishing a publishing house that would serve the profession. His successful 14-part radio series, “Myth is Truth,” on WLUC at Loyola and WRRG at Triton College in 1978 were evidence that he could answer the popular interest in classics. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers began in 1978 and by 2012 had published over 450 titles, 98 per cent of them dealing with classical antiquity and filling significant gaps in larger press offerings by producing reprints of significant works of scholarship, class-sized texts appropriate for the new millennium, and recordings of Greek and Latin featuring the latest rules of pronunciation. He founded The Ancient World in 1978, a journal still going strong at is death. In 1988 he revived The Classical Bulletin. Bolchazy-Carducci was the only firm effectively reaching out to over 3000 homeschooling teachers with Waldo Sweet’s Artes Latinae series. His early interest in technology made this the most technologically advanced publishing house in the classics field, marketing an iPhone app for Latin quotations, vocabulary cards for the Wheelock series on iPod, summer webinars for Latin teachers. His exhibit tables at APA, CAMWS, CANE and other meetings were always a site of free buttons with Latin mottoes, interesting new publications for every need, and a welcome as warm as if everyone were members of an extended family, which in Lou’s eyes, we were.
Lou retained dual citizenship in Slovakia, which he called his “mother” and America, which he called his “wife.” Among the numerous Slovakian works he had translated for the first time into English was the memoirs of Cardinal Jan Chryzostom Korec (b. 1924), who was imprisoned by Communists. In August 31, 2007 Slovak President HE Ivan Gasparovic presented Lou with the Slovak National Award (Rad Ludovita Stura) at Bratislava Castle for his lifelong efforts on behalf of the Slovak Republic.
He died July 28, 2012, in Barrington, IL.
PUBLICATIONS: A Concordance to the Utopia of St. Thomas More and a Frequency List in collaboration with Gregory Gichan & Frederick Theobald (Hildesheim: Olms, 1978); “From Xenophobia to Altruism. Homeric and Roman Hospitality,” AncW 1 (1978) 45-64; “Hospitality in Early Rome,” Anthropos 74 (1979) 619-620; Concordantia in Ausonium with indices to proper nouns and Greek forms, ed. with J.A.M. Sweeney in collab. With M.G. Antonetti (Hildesheim: Olms-Weidmann, 1982) [REVS: Gnomon LV 1983 749-750 Prete ; Latomus XLIV 1985 643-647 Évrard]; “Scholarship, Research, and the Search for Alexander. A Register of Titles of Unpublished Scholarly Papers Read at Four Meetings: June 7, 1981-February 27, 1982. Bibliographical Memos and Notes,” comp. with A. N. Oikonomides, AncW 4 (1981) 67-89; 5 (1982) 3-8; “A Report on the 8th International Congress of Greek and Latin Epigraphy. Athens 3-9 October 1982 with a Register of the Communications of Its Meetings,” comp. with A.N. Oikonomides AncW 7 (1983) 53-61; “Studies on Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic World in the USSR" AncW 13 (1986) 67-72; “Tables and Indices for the Catalogue and Supplements of The Search for Alexander Exhibition" AncW 14 (1987) 115-118; “Detecting the Real Sherlock Homes: A Stylometric Comparison of Doyle and Meyer" CB 65 (1989) 105-110; Anton Špiesz & Dusan Caplovic, Illustrated Slovak History: A Struggle for Sovereignty in Central Europe (ed.) (Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci, 2006).
SOURCES: Chicago Tribune, 29 July, 2012; WhAm (2006) 454.
— Ward Briggs