Robert Bartlett Haas dies at 94
By Keith Thursby, Los Angeles Times
May 18, 2010
Robert Bartlett Haas, a longtime UCLA educator who spent years immersed in the writings of Gertrude Stein, has died. He was 94.
Haas died April 20 in a hospital in Nuertingen, Germany, after a brief illness, said his son, Peter. He had spent most of his retirement years in Germany.
Haas was born Jan. 20, 1916, in Santa Cruz. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from UC Berkeley in 1938, a master’s in English from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in education from Stanford.
He joined the UCLA faculty in 1949 and was the founding director of the school’s arts and humanities extension division. Peter Haas said the program was envisioned as a way for teachers to broaden their skills with additional courses on a variety of subjects. Haas stayed with the program until his retirement in the late 1970s.
Haas “was one of the young men who sought out Gertrude Stein as a mentor and was rewarded with years of encouragement and friendship and who, in turn, devoted a measure of his academic life to bolstering Stein’s reputation,” Timothy Young, curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, told The Times in an e-mail. Young cataloged Stein’s papers at Yale.
“My dad was a very complex guy,” Peter Haas said. “He was kind of a little avant-garde, and Gertrude Stein was certainly an avant-garde poet.” Among his books about Stein was “A Primer for the Gradual Understanding of Gertrude Stein,” published in 1971, in which he is credited as editor.
Our own subject gets just a one-line mention in the Los Angeles Times obituary:
Haas also wrote a 1976 biography of pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge, “Muybridge: Man in Motion,” and edited “William Grant Still and the Fusion of Cultures in American Music,” a 1972 book about an African American composer and conductor.
Hass is also survived by another son, Robin, and longtime partner Ia Wech. His first wife, Louise Krause Haas, died in 1982, and a second marriage ended in divorce.
Robert Haas worked on his Eadweard Muybridge book for more than two decades. “Muybridge: Man in Motion,” and Gordon Hendricks’ biography of Muybridge, are still key references for historians working today.
Robert Bartlett Haas donated his Muybridge-related research papers and notes to Kingston Museum, UK, where they may be accessed by prior arrangement.