In Memory of

Peter

Christopher

Holloran

Obituary for Peter Christopher Holloran

Peter Christopher Holloran
February 11, 1947 - June 4, 2023

Age 76, of Cambridge MA, Peter C. Holloran died peacefully following a stroke on June 4, 2023 with members of his family present. Peter leaves behind his beloved wife of 40 years, Kathryn Beers; his sisters Maureen Monahan, Kathleen Joyce, Frances Rizza and her husband, Margaret Geary, brother John Holloran and his wife and a large extended family. Peter was born and raised in Dorchester, MA, the seventh of nine children. He graduated from Suffolk University in 1968 and then earned his PhD in American History at Boston University in 1982. He served in combat in the Vietnam War in 1969, earning a Purple Heart.

Peter was an engaging and generous teacher and scholar who had a vast knowledge of social history. His primary area of interest was 19th Century American History including the history of child welfare services, history of immigration and labor movements, and the American Civil War. He also taught a course on the Vietnam War. He authored three books: Boston’s Wayward Children; Social Services for Homeless Children 1830-1930; Historical Dictionary of New England and Historical Dictionary of the Progressive Era. He achieved tenure at Worcester State University in 2013 retiring as a full professor in 2020. Peter was active in multiple professional historical organizations including the New England Popular Culture Association (NEPCA) and Poplar Cultural Association and American Cultural Associations (PCACA) where he was cited for meritorious service and scholarly contribution. For the New England Historical Association (NEHA), he served as Executive Secretary from 1990 - 1995; the Secretary 1995 - 2014; and, was the editor of NEHA NEWS 1990 - 2010. He was instrumental in increasing NEHA membership and participation. Because of his great love for books, he continued for many years to serve with great insight and generosity of both time and effort on NEHA’s book award committees. He frequently contributed book reviews to NEHA NEWS.

Peter had a quick and playful sense of humor that endeared him to everyone. He loved to read, often finding an author of historical fiction and reading every book written by that author; his longtime favorites included Patrick O’Brian and Bernard Cornwall. Although he suffered a number of medical problems over the years, his love of reading sustained him. Along with his wife, he appreciated the great outdoors spending many a summer at Isle au Haut, Maine and a summer home in Eden, Vermont. He was a news hound and lover of big band music and classic ballads; a favorite was Ella Fitzgerald. He was an impressive man in stature, fiercely loyal to his friends and family, and possessed of a great original spirit.

A private, graveside service for family members for interment of his ashes will be held at 1:30 PM on Thursday, June 22 at Mt Auburn Cemetery. This will be followed by a memorial service at Bigelow Chapel at 2:00 PM. A reception will follow also at Bigelow Chapel.

In lieu of flowers please consider donating to The Home for Little Wanderers thehome.org and/or WBUR.org/membership.