Memorial to Ben Weider
Ben Weider was my friend, mentor and supporter, as well as a major
historian and benefactor in the field of Napoleonic history. He died
on October 17, 2008, at the age of eighty-five. His passing leaves
both a personal and professional void that can never be filled.
When Ben created The International Napoleonic Society he honored
me by asking me to serve as Executive Vice-President and Editor-in-Chief.
Little did I know the journey upon which I was about to embark.
Ben was full of ideas and dreams for the INS and was always anxious
to hear the thoughts of others as well. He was the most energetic,
hardworking person I have ever known. He'd even give Napoleon
a run for his money! With his guidance and generous support, the
INS became a major force in the promotion of good, scholarly Napoleonic
research. Our International Congress, publications, scholarships
and endowments, awards and web site have all been designed for
one purpose, to promote the truth about Napoleon and his time
through solid academic research untainted by traditional misconceptions.
It is a legacy that to most of us will be how we most honor Ben’s
Ben was a force of nature, a man dedicated to a cause and willing
to support the cause with all the energy and resources required. Over
the least 13 years or so we became good friends, dedicated to our
work and full of mutual friendship, respect and admiration. Recently
we were collaborating on a book and discussing plans for the next
Congress. As always, he was supportive in every possible way.
Ben gave me many opportunities and his support has been a major factor
in my own success. I will miss our work together, of course. But what
I will miss the most is the friendship, the friendly E-mails, our
few times together, our numerous phone calls. He always had a great
sense of humor. He showed genuine interest in how my health and private
life was going. He was a caring, dynamic, exciting man of the world.
Ben wanted the work of the INS to go forward and made generous arrangements
for its future. He always told me he hoped I would take over as president
someday. That day has come all too soon, but I am dedicated to do
all I can to see that the Society continues to do its excellent work.
Rest in peace, my friend!
J. David Markham, President
International Napoleonic Society