Heinz K. Meier
Heinz K. Meier is a native of Zurich, Switzerland, where he was born in 1929. He was a member of the so called “free church”. Heinz K. Meier was educated at the Evangelisches Lehrseminar and the University of Zurich and at the Alliance Francaise of Paris. He first came to the United States in 1955; he just had gotten married and wanted to see something. There was by chance an opening at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. Somebody was on leave for a year and his wife’s sister read about it and felt that if a French teacher is on leave for a year they probably need a replacement. He also started immediately taking courses in history. His wife suggested that he should study for a PhD. They didn’t have a PhD in French nor in German at Emory, so the next best thing was history, which Meier also had studied at the University of Zurich. He was accepted in the PhD program at Emory. And he decided that one doesn’t come to the United States to study European history, therefore, he would do American history, even so he never had one hour of American history. Within two years, Meier had his PhD. The Swiss-American Historical Society is probably the one organization Meier has been connected with where his participation was most important. The Society, which had been founded back in 1927, was practically dead at the end of the ’5Os. It was revived in the early ’60s. The person who was instrumental in getting it going again was connected with the Swiss Embassy in Washington, and he enlisted Heinz K. Meier’s participation from the start. Meier was elected the president of the society and stayed on in that function for seven years. When the responsible diplomat left the Embassy in Washington, Meier took over the editorship of the newsletter as well.
Heinz K. Meier began teaching at Old Dominion College, Norfolk, Virginia in 1960. From 1967-1973, he was the director of the graduate program in history and then was the head of the department from 1973-1975. He has held the position of dean since August of 1975.
Source: Heinz K. Meier, The United States and Switzerland in the Nineteenth Century, 1963, The Hague and Oral History Interview with Heinz K. Meier in the Perry Library, Old Dominion College, interviewed by Kim Snyder, April 10, 1981, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA (edited and shortened by editor)