The Miami Herald
December 6, 2000

Sir Philip Sherlock, 98, historian


 Sir Philip Sherlock, a giant among contemporary Caribbean historians and
 educators, died of natural causes at his home in Jamaica Monday. He was 98.

 ``Philip Sherlock was among the greatest West Indians of the 20th Century,'' said
 Sir Shridath Ramphal, chancellor of the University of the West Indies, an
 institution Sherlock helped found in the late 1940s and where he later served as
 vice chancellor. ``May the 21st see his like again.''

 Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson described Sherlock as a ``distinguished
 scholar and educator'' who made an indelible contribution ``to human

 Bruce Golding, leader of an opposition political party, called Sherlock ``one of the
 greatest Jamaicans of all time.''

 ``He was a gentleman and a visionary with a sense of the Caribbean and unique
 for his time,'' said Anthony Maingot, Trinidadian-born professor of sociology at
 Florida International University, who coauthored later editions of A Short History of
 the West Indies  with Sir Philip, as he was universally called by those who knew

 First written with the late British Professor John Parry, the book was considered a
 seminal work, looking at the history of the region from a Caribbean perspective.

 ``He was a historian but mostly he was a folklorist with his great love and
 understanding of West Indian folk, the common people and their common sense,''
 Maingot said.

 That folkloric quality was reflected in the titles of many of the 15 books he wrote
 or coauthored, including Ears and Tails and Common Sense: More Stories From
 the Caribbean  and Anansi, The Spider Man.


 Born Feb. 25, 1902, the son of a Methodist minister and his wife, Sherlock was a
 Jamaican by birth but a Caribbean man by choice who, says Maingot, ``spent
 many years promoting the idea of West Indian unity.''

 Sherlock graduated from the University of London in 1927 with a first-class honors
 degree in English and literature. He later served on Jamaica's preindependence
 Legislative Council.

 In the late 1940s, he was a member of the committee that recommended the
 establishment of the University College of the West Indies, which was attached to
 the University of London, serving as its principal and later as vice chancellor when
 it became the University of the West Indies.


 After ``retiring'' in the late 1960s, Sherlock spent several years in South Florida as
 the first secretary-general of the Association of Caribbean Universities and
 Research Institutes, which he had founded in 1968 with other Caribbean university
 heads, among them Henry King Stanford, former president of the University of

 In January 1971, he gave the midterm commencement address at the University
 of Miami after which he was awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree.

 He later returned to Jamaica where he continued his prolific writing. He
 coauthored The Story of the Jamaican People  in 1998 and at his death was
 working on another book with his daughter, Hilary, about life in Jamaica.

 ``Up to the end he was working,'' his wife, Lady Grace Sherlock, his wife of 58
 years, told the Observer newspaper. ``Maybe Hilary will finish the book.''

 He also is survived by two sons, John and Christopher.