Dr. Leland Sage, ca. 1947
Dr. Leland Livingston Sage, 89, emeritus professor of history at the University of Northern Iowa, was born on April 23, 1899, in Magnolia, Arkansas, the son of Jesse A. and Mary C. (Livingston) Sage. After earning the B. A. degree in history at Vanderbilt University in 1922, he was awarded the M. A. (1928) and Ph. D. degrees (1932), both at the University of Illinois-Urbana. He taught for three years in high schools at Camden, Arkansas, and Taylorville, Illinois. During 1928-1930 he taught history at Depauw University, Indiana.
While on the faculty at Depauw University, he met Margaret Pearson, who was teaching music there. They were married December 30, 1929, in Bedford, Indiana, and had one daughter, Carolyn Sage Robinson. He was preceded in death by both his wife on July 3, 1986, and daughter on April 8, 1988. Professor Sage offered various courses in European history at UNI but soon developed a strong field in Iowa history. His first book, published in 1956, was "William Boyd Allison: A Study in Practical Politics," which is about an influential Iowan in the U. S. Senate at the turn of the century. Well received and reviewed, it was followed by another book, "A History of Iowa," which was published in 1974 by the Iowa State University Press. This effort gained similar favorable response. Each book won national recognition in the form of the Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. He also contributed a large number of reviews and articles in a wide variety of specialties within European and American history. In December 1987, he appeared on a program sponsored by the Illinois State Historical Society. Dr. Sage took what was then mandatory retirement at age 68 in 1967. But the pace of his career never slackened. He continued to offer a course, usually Iowa history, on campus during many semesters until 1981, and directed students via correspondence study until 1986. He was honored by his colleagues in the autumn of 1982 for completing fifty years of continuous service. At the time he was praised for his ability to relate local and state history to the national and international settings. His colleagues and former students planted a maple tree with a plaque honoring him in 1984. As far as can be determined, he holds the all-time record for continuous UNI service--1932-1986.
At the University of Northern Iowa Commencement of May 1983, Dr. Sage was awarded the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, at which time the citation lauded him as scholar, teacher, and humanist, who shared with his legion of grateful students all over the nation an insatiable penchant for pursuing the understanding of history. On all levels, he was respected and admired. He was the model teacher-scholar. In the community, Dr. and Mrs. Sage were well known for their performances in vocal music among other activities. Dr. Sage was only recently President of the Cedar Falls Rotary Club and President of the Cedar Falls Historical Society. During 1977-1981 he served on the Iowa State Historical Board including a term as its president. He was recognized in 1985 for his services and achievements with an award from Governor Terry Branstad.
In the spring of 1988, as he prepared for the move to Iowa City, colleagues and friends praised Dr. Sage as an urbane gentleman who even then sought new academic challenges in the form of additional research and writing from the holdings of the State Historical Society. They added, too, that at state and national history meetings, numerous inquiries continued to be directed toward his writings and well being. Professor Sage was engaged in the writing of several projects at the time of his death on Thursday, February 16, 1989.
Dr. Sage is survived by two grandsons, Timothy T. Robinson and Edward W. Robinson, both of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; his granddaughter Elizabeth A. Robinson, of Menomonee, Wisconsin, and three great-grandchildren.
Saturday, February 18, 1989
First United Methodist Church
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Rev. Keith L. Scott
Mr. Terry L. Kroese
William Metcalfe, LeRoy Redfern, Howard Jones, Donald Whitnah, George Poage, Thomas Ryan, David Walker, Harold Wohl
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Richardson Funeral Home Service