Richard Nelson Current, 100, a historian whose elegant books on Abraham Lincoln led to a deeper understanding of the character and thought of the 16th president, died Oct. 26 at a hospital in Boston.
Current was a wide-ranging scholar of U.S. history who came late to the study of Lincoln. He had already written books on 19th-century political leaders and the history of the typewriter when he was asked to complete a four-volume biography of Lincoln begun by his University of Illinois colleague, J.G. Randall.
Randall had published three volumes before he died in 1953. Current wrote at least half of the fourth volume, "Lincoln the President: Midstream to the Last Full Measure," which appeared in 1955 and won the prestigious Bancroft Prize, an annual award presented by Columbia University for a book of history.
Current went on to write seven more books about Lincoln, drawn to what he called the "perpetual timeliness" and "eternal relevance" of Lincoln's presidency and life.
Elliott Carter, 103, the great American composer who was born in the horse-and-buggy era but whose music persistently looked ahead by reflecting and unabashedly celebrating the intricacies of modern life, died Monday of natural causes.
Carter astonished the musical world by remaining inventive and prolific up to the end. On Oct. 25, Los Angeles Philharmonic musical director Gustavo Dudamel conducted the world premiere of Carter's most recent piece, "Dialogues II," at La Scala in Milan.
Carter was never a favorite with general audiences because of the complexity of his works, but he was in such demand that two months before his 97th birthday in 2005, he had competing premieres given by the Boston Symphony and the Chicago Symphony on the same night.
Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo, 77, who fought against the Batista dictatorship in Cuba, then spent 22 years in prison for fighting the Fidel Castro dictatorship and finally returned to the island for a controversial attempt at dialogue, died Oct. 26 in Havana.
Gutierrez Menoyo was awarded the rank of commandant after Batista fled Cuba on Jan. 1 1959. But within months he was criticizing Castro's slide toward communism. He escaped to Miami in 1961 and became chief of military operations of Alpha 66, an exile group that staged armed attacks against Cuba.
Returning to Cuba for a raid in late 1964, he was captured four weeks later. He was sentenced to death after a 30-minute trial, but that was later reduced to 30 years.
He was freed in 1986, after serving 22 years.