Decease of Jacques Lory, former member of the Scientific Committee of CegeSoma
Historian Jacques Lory, professor emeritus at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve (UCL) and the University of Saint-Louis, passed away on 13 August. He became a member of the Scientific Committee of our Centre in 1972, to which he participated assiduously until its cessation in 1999. With him an important part of the memory of our institution disappears, as well as a discreet but important contributor to the historiography of the Second World War in Belgium.
Jacques Lory (in the middle), with among others to his right one of his greatest friends, abbot André Tihon, also professor at the Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis, during the symposium « Belgique, une société en crise, un pays en guerre, 1940 » organised by the future CegeSoma in October 1990. (photo CegeSoma).
Jacques Lory was born on 1 January 1934 in Dour, in the Borinage region. He obtained his licentiate thesis in contemporary history at the UCL in 1961. He was a FNRS aspirant from 1962 to 1965 and started working as a teaching assistant at the Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis in 1965. Very soon, and until 1999, he played a central part in the historical education of nearly all students. His PhD concerned the liberals and the reforms in primary education in Belgium from the 1842 law to the 1879 law. In the same year, 1971, he became a lecturer, then part time professor at the UCL where he remained until 1998.
Research through teaching
Professor Lory's teaching assignments in the two universities played an important role in his career. However, he also took a keen interest in research and published several studies on Belgian political history and the Roman question in the second half of the 19th century. In particular, he supervised countless research projects carried out mostly by future historians he taught at Saint-Louis and at Louvain-la-Neuve.
Daily life during the occupation
The research projects which he supported concerned the history of the press and in particular the history of education and the Second World War. The latter subject was especially dear to him since his nomination as a member of the Scientific Committee of our institution in 1972. During nearly thirty years, he faithfully assisted the meetings of the Committee and the activities of the Centre and he successfully stimulated research by his students in this field, particularly in the context of the contemporary history seminars which he supervised at the UCL from 1983 onwards. As a result, the remarkable and in their scope unprecedented oral history surveys he organized between 1983 and 1998 on daily life during the war in Walloon Brabant but also in Hainaut and the region of Namur, constitute a unique source on the memory of the Second World War in Wallonia. He proved his commitment to CegeSoma by leaving us his books (about 190) and sound recordings (about 1,200). All his written and audio documents are accessible in our reading room.
The resistance, too
The contribution of Jacques Lory to the historiography of the Second World War does not end there. Apart from the seminars, there are the regular exercises on this subject in the first two university years and also the dozens of licentiate theses and some PhD's conducted under his survey. These end-of-studies works, mostly kept at CegeSoma, mainly concern daily life and the resistance during the occupation.