ANN ARBOR—Charles O. Hucker, University of Michigan professor emeritus of Chinese and of history, died Nov. 14 in Odessa, Texas. He was 75 years old.
One of the foremost historians of Imperial China and a leading promoter of academic programs in Asian studies during the 1950s and '60s, Hucker retired from U-M in 1983. In his honor, the University established the Charles O. Hucker professorship in the U-M Department of Asian Languages and Cultures.
Hucker authored, among other works, " A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China," the most comprehensive guide to traditional Chinese government in a Western language, and " China's Imperial Past," an acclaimed general history of Imperial China. He also contributed to Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Americana, and the Cambridge History of China.
Born in St. Louis on from the University of Texas, and served in the Army Air Corps during World War II where he achieved the rank of major and was awarded the Bronze Star. He earned a Ph.D. degree in Chinese from the University of Chicago, was a Rockefeller Foundation fellow, a senior fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a frequent consultant to the U.S. Office of Education, foundations, and colleges and universities. He received an honorary doctorate of humanities from Oakland University in 1974.
Prior to joining the U-M in 1965 where he chaired the Department of Far Eastern Languages and Literatures, Hucker taught at the University of Chicago, the University of Arizona, and Oakland University.
Throughout his teaching career, he was an active member of many professional associations. He was among a small number of American China historians who visited scholarly centers in China in 1979 under joint auspices of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
In his retirement, Hucker and his wife, the former Myrl Henderson, whom he married in 1943, lived in Tucson, Ariz., where he volunteered in schools and hospitals and wrote plays and short stories, several of which have been published or produced. In addition to his wife, Hucker is survived by a brother and a sister.