Lawrence S. Finkelstein

Lawrence S. Finkelstein, Professor of Political Science and participant to the founding of the United Nations, died on February 13 in Manchester, NH.  He was 93. 

Dr. Finkelstein earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Columbia University.  His career in international affairs began in 1944 when interning in the State Department’s Office of Political Affairs;  there he was selected to accompany the US Delegation to the San Francisco Conference on the UN Charter.  Serving in the UN Secretariat from 1946-49, Finkelstein was privy to the disagreements and negotiations among global leaders that threatened but ultimately resulted in the signing of the UN Charter.  His insights on this critical time were documented in a 1990 interview for the UN Digital Library.

At the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Dr. Finkelstein served as Director of Studies and Vice President from 1952 – 65.  Following, he served in the US Department of Defense for one year.  Dr. Finkelstein entered academia in 1966 as Director of the Case Institute of Technology-Western Reserve University study, piloting the strategic plan to unite the two universities as Case Western Reserve University; then as acting Dean of the Graduate School at Brandeis University, 1967-69; and Secretary of the Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, 1969-73.  A natural teacher, Dr. Finkelstein enjoyed a successful academic career as Professor of Political Science at Northern Illinois University, 1973-95.  His commitment to mentoring emerging professionals to produce excellent work and written communication is recognized with the Lawrence S. Finkelstein Prize, awarded by the International Studies Association to a superlative graduate student to present a paper at its annual meeting. Dr. Finkelstein is author of numerous articles on foreign policy.

In retirement in Hollis, NH in 1998, he put political theory to a practical test, running for the state House of Representatives.  A Democrat campaigning in the then solidly Republican NH, he lost respectably; but his campaign contributed to the growth of the Democratic party in NH.

Lawrence Finkelstein is remembered by his colleague Professor Joseph Nye, “as  a voice for reasoned internationalism and multilateralism in American foreign policy.”  In his private life he was known for his kindness and humor, and a life-long love of trout fishing, bird watching, and his birthplace of New York City.  He was fortunate to have two happy marriages: first to Marina Salvin (deceased, 1972); then to Non Talland.  A dedicated public servant and  loving husband, father and grandfather, he is survived by his widow, Non, of Nashua NH; his brother, Richard S. Finkelstein, PhD of Columbia, MO, as well as his children and grandchildren; his daughter Susan Zinn and granddaughter Rachel Zinn, of San Antonio, TX; his step-daughters Claudia and Valentine Talland, of Carlisle and Cambridge, MA; and his step-granddaughters, Amelia and Natalie Barnett and Tara Talland.

A Celebration of Life will be held privately at a later date.

The Rivet Funeral Home in Merrimack, NH is in charge of the arrangements.