Where's Max?

13 February 2013

The other day, I received a copy of Physics Calculations (1952) by Max Wittman.

This is actually my second copy, as I got one in very nice shape some years ago. Mr Wittman was one of my favorite teachers when I went to high school. We didn't use this book in the class that I took from him; it was long out-of-print. But still I'd wanted a copy as a sort of memento of the man. When another copy became available, for a pittance, it occurred to me that I could use it to buffer my first copy, should anyone want to use it. (It's a nifty little book.)

Anyway, this copy came with some writing on the inside front cover. In the upper left is a sticker on which was written

U. S. Vukcevich
204 E. Oak Street
West Hazelton, Pa.
In the upper right was written 5-21-52. And, in the center was ink-stamped
Physical Science Dept.
High school
So I though that I'd find what I could about this U. Samuel Vukcevich.

For the first several seconds, the information was fairly unsurprising. Dr. Ukasin Samuel Vukcevich was born on 25 October 1928, in St. Clair, Pennsylvania, to Savo and Stana (née Punosevich) Vukcevich; Ukasin died on 15 April 2008. He was raised in West Hazelton and was graduated from its high school. He was a decorated veteran of the Marine Corps, serving at the end of World War II in the Pacific Theater. He went on to get a degree from Bloomsburg State College, and also earned degrees from Temple University and Rutgers Universi­ty. He taught high school and became principal of a high school. In the mid '50s, he married Anna Pejakovich (who died on 21 November 2011).

So far, so good; then I see the word warden. Because, at some point, U. Samuel Vukcevich transitioned from high-school principal to, uhm yeah, prison superintendent. In fact, he gets special mention in various news articles and books because, on 24 November 1972, shortly after he became warden of New Jersey's Rahway State Prison, they had a riot, in which he was injured and taken hostage. In any case, it seems that he was an ardent advocate of using prisons to rehabilitate criminals, and that his belief in such efforts was what drew him, by the late '50s, into involvement with the penal system, beginning with juvenile reformatories.

At the end of his career, Dr Vukcevich was working as an adjunct professor at Various New Jersey colleges and universities, and as a labor-relations negotiator.


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