Stanley D. Rose, 61, a Department of Justice attorney and an historian, died of a heart attack Saturday at Arlington Hospital. He lived on Venice Street in Falls Church.

Mr. Rose was chief of the economic litigation section in the civil division. He had spent his entire legal career with the Justice Department following his graduation from law school at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., in 1949.

In the 1950s. Mr. Rose left the government for three years to manage the C. H. Braun variety store in Warrenton, Va.

Born in New York, he earned a bachelor's degree in Philosophy at City College of New York and a Masters in history.

Mr. Rose was drafted into the Army in 1941. He graduated from officers candidate school and served in the Southwest Pacific during World War II. He was discharged with the rank of major in 1946.

As a historian. Mr. Rose specialized in the American colonial period. He reviewed numerous history books for The Washington Post, and also had written for the Nashville Tennesean.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret F., of the home; three sons, Stanley, of Lima, Peru: Preston, of Denver, Colo.; a brother, John Rose, the former dean of Georgetown University Medical School, of Washington; and his mother, Marie D. Rose, of Chevy Chase.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers contribution be sent to Vanderbilt Law School.