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Vt. historian Samuel B. Hand dies

BURLINGTON (AP) - Samuel B. Hand, a University of Vermont historian, whose books on Vermont in the 20th century are widely read by people with an interest in the state, has died. He was 80.

Burlington's Boucher and Pritchard Funeral Home confirmed Monday that he died Friday evening. According to reports, Hand had suffered from a form of Parkinson's disease and died after choking at a South Burlington restaurant.

Hand came to UVM in 1981 to teach European history, but his focus soon shifted to Vermont. His book "The Star That Set" is considered the definitive account of the Republican party's grip on the state's politics from the late 1800s through the 1950s. He most recently was one of three authors of a biography of former Gov. Philip Hoff.

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