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Diane Dallis joins UChicago as Associate University Librarian for Research and Learning

Diane Dallis joined the University of Chicago Library on May 10 as Associate University Librarian for Research and Learning.  Diane was most recently the Associate Dean for Library Academic Services at Indiana University and will bring to Chicago extensive experience in transforming reference services, building new programs and spaces that support research and learning, and creative use of assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of operations and to understand the role the library plays in faculty and student success.

Diane Dallis

Diane Dallis, Associate University Librarian for Research and Learning

At Indiana University Ms. Dallis worked closely with the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, the University Information Technology Services, the Associate Vice Provost for Research in Arts & Humanities, and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education to collaboratively develop new programs including support for new research technologies, scholarly publishing, and research and learning skills.  Ms. Dallis oversaw the development of a Learning Commons that provided students a more learner-centered environment with access to the tools, systems, and support needed to turn information into knowledge. Ms. Dallis also led the creation of a Scholars’ Commons that supports cutting edge research by providing easy access to experts and technology for every stage of a researcher’s scholarship from curiosity to discovery to publication, including consultation services in areas such as GIS, text mining, visualization, intellectual property, data management, digitization, metadata, and project management.

At the University of Chicago Library, Ms. Dallis oversees Humanities, Social Sciences, Area Studies, Special Collections, East Asia, and the Sciences, ensuring a coherent and responsive information and service environment for the highly interdisciplinary research and teaching needs of the campus.  Ms. Dallis will bring to the position both her experience at Indiana University, and her strong record of national leadership in the field, including serving as chair of the Public Services Big Heads group and the Big Ten Academic Alliance Public Services Discussion Group.

Apply for the Library Student Advisory Group

Mansueto Library at sunset

Mansueto Library (Photo by Tom Rossiter)

Applications due October 23, 2016.

The Library Student Advisory Group serves as a formal channel of communication between students and the Library administration. The group assists in making specific recommendations to improve the Library and considers proposals for future changes in services. The Library Student Advisory Group meets two times a quarter and representatives serve two-year terms.

We are looking for student representatives from the College (Class of 2020) and from each of the Graduate Divisions and Professional Schools.

Please complete our online application by October 23, 2016.

For more information about the Library Student Advisory Group, or the application process, please contact:

Rebecca Starkey
Librarian for College Instruction & Outreach
773-702-4484
rstarkey@uchicago.edu

 

Milton Watkins, Regenstein Entry Attendant, 1925–2016

A dedicated member of the University of Chicago Library staff for nearly two decades, Milton Watkins warmly greeted students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors at the Regenstein entry desk between 1992 and 2012. He died of multiple myeloma on April 13 at the age of 90.

Milton Watkins

Milton Watkins in front of Regenstein Library (Photo by Kiku Hibino)

Often referred to as the “Face of the Place,” Milton was the first person most people saw when entering the Joseph Regenstein Library.  He was able to make everyone who entered the Library feel welcome—students, faculty, and staff (some of whom came at exactly the same time each day), alumni, prospective students and their families, visiting scholars, and the occasional tourist who wanted to see Regenstein or Mansueto. He provided expert assistance when requested to both first-time visitors and long-time library users.

Milton began working at the University after a very full life.  He grew up at 38th and Federal on the South Side, attending Edward Hardigan Grammar School and Wendell Phillips High School.  Following graduation, he served in the U.S. Army as a radar technician and troop instructor between 1944 and 1952. After returning to Chicago, Milton wed his fiancée Mary, who survives him.  Milton worked for the American Maize Products Company for 30 years; he also worked for the United States Post Office for 27 years as a postal clerk.  It was only after these retirements that he came to the Library.

Outside of the Library, much of Milton’s time was spent sharing in the ministries of St. John Church-Baptist at 48th and Michigan, where he served for many years as a deacon.  Milton’s dedication to the service of others as a church deacon carried over to his work at the Library.  He was a wonderful listener and helpful counselor whose smile and laugh could cheer up almost anyone.

For those entering Regenstein who Milton saw every day, his cheery “How are you doing?” made the day special.  For Library staff, his big smile and his reminder that “there’s a lot to do in a big place like this” also helped to make the work day special.  His friendly presence created a welcoming environment throughout the entire Library.

In addition to his wife, Mary, Milton is survived by his son-in-law Daniel Adams, his grandchildren (Danny Adams, Sheena Adams, Quintin Adams), and his great grandchildren (Devon Adams, Jordan Davis, Danyel Adams).  Milton’s daughter and Daniel’s wife, Anita Watkins-Adams, died in 2012.

A memorial visitation will be held on Saturday, April 23 at St. John Church-Baptist, 4821 S. Michigan beginning at 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. funeral service.

William Alspaugh, area studies librarian, 1942-2016

William Josiah AlspaughWilliam Josiah Alspaugh, known to his Library colleagues as Bill, died on January 24, 2016 at the age of 73 after a lengthy and varied career at the University of Chicago Library.

Bill worked in the Southern Asia Department from 1978 to 1997. One of Bill’s notable academic accomplishments was his collaboration from 1978 to 1981 with Maureen L. P. Patterson in compilation of the much-lauded South Asian Civilizations: A Bibliographic Synthesis, published in 1981 by the University of Chicago Press. From 1981 to 1997 he served as Assistant to the Bibliographer for Southern Asia. He also served as Associate Editor of South Asia Library Notes and Queries. His engagement during the 1980s and early 1990s in the preparation of the Indological Books in Series database was of pivotal importance, as was his contribution to the subsequent preservation of books described in that resource. Many of our graduate students benefited from his intelligence and generosity as a South Asia reference librarian.

Bill started working at the East Asian Collection in 1997, initially part-time, and soon assumed the duty of Chinese Bibliographer full-time. Later, he became Chinese Bibliographer/Cataloger, splitting his time between collection development, public services, and cataloging. For more than 10 years, he built the Chinese studies collection in western languages while also selecting many titles in Chinese language. Bill’s knowledge of the research resources for Chinese studies, especially those in western languages, was of great benefit to many graduate and undergrad students through the reference and consultation services he provided.

Bill retired from his Chinese Bibliographer/Cataloger position in 2008, but remained as a part-time Chinese cataloger until May 2011, and then again from March 2013 to 2015. Throughout his years with the East Asian Collection, Bill made great contributions, making a large number of newly acquired Chinese books accessible to patrons through his efforts in original cataloging.

After retirement in 2011, he volunteered at Cheena Bhavan, the Institute of Chinese Language and Culture, in Santiniketan near Calcutta, cataloging their Chinese collection.

Bill was fluent in Mandarin, Hindi, and French. He also studied Tamil language. He was a merit scholar during his secondary education in Oklahoma City. Bill received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Chicago and attended Stanford University where the Air Force sent him to the Defense Language Institute. There he studied Mandarin and subsequently monitored mainland China radio broadcasts from Taiwan and Okinawa. After discharge, he worked for Aetna for several years before returning to the University of Chicago for graduate study in the Department of East Asian Studies and, while a graduate student, to work in the Library. He earned a master’s degree in library science from the University of Chicago Graduate Library School while working in the Library’s Southern Asia Department.

Bill was an intellectual shaped by his studies in the University of Chicago’s College and his years of close collaboration with colleagues in the Library, faculty, and our students. He said that he read articles in scholarly journals with a relish and zeal comparable to that exhibited by others in their reading of mysteries.

Bill is survived by a sister, Elizabeth Beasley, and two nephews, Robert Barrett Beasley and Charles Emory Alspaugh II.

PhD student interns gain new perspectives at the Library

When the call went out for summer internship ideas for the University of Chicago’s Graduate Global Impact program, librarians on campus recognized a dual opportunity. PhD students could develop new perspectives on scholarship by working with librarians on important projects, while the work they accomplished could enhance the Library’s offerings for its many users.

Special Collections Intern Ellen Ambrosone with blueprints

Special Collections Intern Ellen Ambrosone with blueprints (Photo by John Zich)

Four interns—Rafadi Hakim, Ellen Ambrosone, Marco Torres, and Eric Phillips—were hired for summer 2015. Through their internships, they gained new insights into the local and global impact of librarianship and scholarship.

The skills these interns developed in the Library can help them in a wide range of environments in the future. “The primary objective of the internship program is to provide graduate students with flexible training that can help them prepare for careers in academia, nonprofits, government, and industry,” said A-J Aronstein, Associate Director of Graduate Career Development and Employer Relations. “The kind of skills that one develops in the Library—including digital skills, coding, and archival research—are just as vital for jobs on the tenure track as they are for jobs in other fields.”

Digital South Asia Library Intern Rafadi Hakim

A PhD student in Anthropology, Rafadi Hakim, was hired to help expand and enhance the presentation of data and texts in the Digital South Asia Library (DSAL). His projects ranged from writing a grant application with librarians to adding digital facsimiles to the DSAL website.

Hakim jumped at the chance to be involved in the digital humanities. “Sometimes as a student, I feel I’m spending so much time fine tuning small parts of my own paper for just a few people,” he said. But, when working on the DSAL, he explained, “It’s not just about this exclusive circle. It’s massively helpful to people in different countries.” His work this summer required thinking about how to best serve students, scholars, and others with varying degrees of fluency in South Asian languages and varying amounts of Internet bandwidth.

Hakim also appreciates the new perspectives on scholarship that he gained from working with James Nye, Bibliographer for Southern Asia, and Laura Ring, Cataloger and Assistant South Asia Librarian.   “It’s nice to get some mentoring from people in addition to the faculty in your own department,” he said.

Rafadi Hakim

Rafadi Hakim examines an image that will be added to the Digital South Asia Library. (Photo by John Zich)

 

Special Collections Intern Ellen Ambrosone

Over the last several years in particular, Special Collections has received an enormous influx of architectural drawings. “They’re hanging on racks; they’re in drawers; they’re in archival boxes,” said Kathleen Feeney, Head of Archives Processing and Digital Access. “Our best estimate is that there are 117,000 of them. We know we have them from the entire history of the University, from landscape drawings to electrical plans, but when we hired Ellen, we didn’t have a strong inventory.”

Ambrosone, a PhD candidate in South Asian Languages and Civilizations, welcomed the opportunity to participate in the first phase of a multi-year project to preserve and make these drawings accessible. She began the compilation of an inventory of the drawings, so that researchers can more readily understand what is available.

Processing Archivist Ashley Locke Gosselar, who helped to direct Ambrosone’s work on the project, emphasized its importance. “Our campus—and the city at large—is renowned for its architecture. What Ellen is doing is helping to preserve that legacy.”

Ambrosone expects to use the skills she developed in her own work, and to share her knowledge with others. “Having a working knowledge of archiving and processing the collection makes me a more well-rounded scholar,” she said. “I’m thinking about how I can incorporate this experience into my teaching to show students how the work scholars do is often built on work done by library professionals.”

Citation Analysis Intern Marco Torres

History PhD candidate Marco Torres joined the Library this summer to analyze citations used in recent UChicago Latin American studies dissertations. “One of the goals of the project is to help us make decisions about what resources should be purchased in the future based on the type of materials PhD students are using,” explained Ellen Bryan, Reference Librarian and Head of the Dissertation Office.

Torres’s own dissertation proposal was approved shortly before his internship began. He plans to go to Mexico City to do research on the labor movement in the late 1930s and its role in Mexican politics. He particularly valued the opportunity to discover the kinds of sources recent graduates used in studying Mexico.

“A lot of what we do as scholars is to look at bibliographies and see patterns in them,” Torres said. “Getting that recent bibliography is not so easy, sometimes.” One unexpected trend he observed was that recent political science bibliographies cite trade publications outside the social sciences, in fields such as medicine.

ACASA Intern Eric Phillips

History PhD student Eric Phillips first met June Farris, the Library’s Bibliographer for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies, when consulting the Library’s Archives of Czechs & Slovaks Abroad (ACASA) for a seminar paper on the transformation of Pressburg into Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak half of newly independent Czechoslovakia in post-World War I Europe. He is studying the Czech language and preparing to write his dissertation on the economic history of interwar Czechoslovakia and Austria.

Eric Phillips

ACASA Intern Eric Phillips (Photo by John Zich)

Farris mentioned to Phillips some time ago that ACASA needed to be reorganized. New materials were waiting to be integrated into the original schema devised by early collector Zdenek Hruban, and old materials needed to be rehoused to make room for them. During his internship, Phillips immersed himself in this project. He was delighted to be the first to go through Professor Hruban’s papers and fascinated to see a copy of the Nuremberg testimony of Petr Zenkl, a mayor of Prague, who was sent by the Nazis to Buchenwald concentration camp.

“For the last two summers, I’ve been going to the archives in Prague and trying to navigate them. It’s been a challenging experience,” Phillips said in August. “Now I’m on the other side, learning how archives are organized.”

“Being a historian, archival research is the ultimate goal, so the more you do of it, the more competent a researcher you are, and the more it can help you develop themes in your area,” said Farris.

Hakim, Torres and Phillips’s internships were sponsored by the Division of the Social Sciences Emerging Leaders Initiative. Ambrosone’s internship was sponsored by UChicago GRAD.

Alumni honor Ray Gadke with named student internship

The longtime keeper of the Library’s microforms—and longtime wearer of Hawaiian shirts—becomes the namesake for a new student internship

Ray Gadke

Ray Gadke. (Photo by Hannah Gitlin)

On a Thursday in late June, Raymond Gadke, AM’66, walked into a restaurant filled with a sea of Hawaiian shirts, and those shirts were filled with University students and alumni of different ages. When Gadke, himself dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, sat down amid this sea, John Boyer, AM’69, PhD’79, the dean of the College, presented him with a giant check for $75,000.

This was the culmination of a fundraising effort to establish an internship honoring Gadke, a longtime University of Chicago Library staff member. More than 50 alumni—many of whom were in the room, wearing those Hawaiian shirts—raised $75,000 to create the Ray Gadke Internship Fund Established by Friends of Ray to Endow Undergraduate Internships (as it says on Gadke’s plaque commemorating the occasion). The fund will be part of UChicago’s larger Metcalf Internship Program, which offers undergraduate students paid experience in their chosen field. The Metcalf program was established in 1997 by University trustee (and Gadke internship donor) Byron Trott, AB’81, MBA’82.  

Brooks Dexter, AB’79, MBA’84, led the fundraising effort for the internship honoring Gadke. Now managing director at corporate finance advising firm Duff and Phelps, Dexter was, once upon a time—like nearly all those who gave money to the internship fund—a College student working for Gadke in the Reg’s microforms library. “For more than 40 years, Ray has been helping undergraduates make the journey from College to the next step in their lives,” Dexter says. He calls Gadke a friend and a mentor. “Those of us in Ray’s employ were known as ‘Ray’s Rangers.’” For the past 15 years, Gadke has sent a daily email of “fun facts” to his network of friends and former employees, “including a happy birthday wish to any Rangers with a birthday that day,” Dexter says. (The August 3 email, which stretches to 15 pages, notes that on that day in 1492, “Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos [Spain, not Illinois] with his three ships, seeking a westward route to India and China” and that in 1946, “what some historians consider the first ‘theme park’ in the world, Santa Claus Land, opened in Santa Claus, Indiana.”)

And why the Hawaiian shirts? Because Gadke wears them just about every day, and has ever since he saw Elvis Presley in the film Blue Hawaii. “I had worn button down shirts and stuff like that, but I thought, these are nice, and I got in the habit of wearing them,” he says.

Gadke’s job title is reading room manager, but he has worn many hats during his time at the University. He arrived in the 1960s as a history graduate student, studying the role of religion in American immigrants’ assimilation, an interest that he has maintained and that inspired his sizable collection of religious figurines from shuttered Chicago-area churches. During Gadke’s academic research, he’d met a number of local priests, and when the Archdiocese of Chicago decided to close some of its churches, “one of the pastors called me and told me, ‘I’ve got a church full of statues, what can I do with them?’ And so I said, Hey, that’s kind of a neat idea,’ and so I started acquiring them.” Gadke keeps a few of these statues in his office on the third floor of the Regenstein Library, but says that walking into his apartment, which has about 45 of these statues, kind of feels like walking into a church.

In 1971 Gadke was hired to supervise the microfilms collection, which is headquartered on the third floor of the library. Later his jurisdiction grew to encompass current periodicals as well, and now his job includes care of all of the library’s reading rooms: the periodical reading room on the second floor, the reference collections throughout the library, and and, of course, the microfilms.

Microfilms have been an important method of document preservation from the early 20th century through the end of the 20th century. After that, digitization took over, but microfilms remain important because of the volume of material they still store: newspapers, magazines, photographs, and countless other documents. Creating microfilms involved sliding individual documents under a projector and taking photographs of these documents using a film camera. This process, as Gadke explains, was equivalent to today’s digitization.

The University was one of the very first institutions to have an academic microfilm collection. Herman Fussler, AM’41, PhD’48, the former director of the UChicago Library system, started the University’s Department of Photoduplication, which produced massive amounts of microfilm in the basement of Cobb Hall (where the coffee shop is today) until its closing in 1995. Fussler created some of the very first academic microfilm when he sailed to Paris on an ocean liner full of microfilm equipment in order to catalog French Revolutionary newspapers from 1788 to 1791—film that UChicago still has. Though the University no longer maintains the Department of Photoduplication, microfilm still contains an amazing amount of knowledge about an incredible range of topics.

And Gadke himself has an amazing amount of knowledge about an incredible range of topics. At the library he helps patrons—students, scholars, visitors—find the research they need. “Everyone’s looking for something different,” he says. “People come from all over the world to use our collection. A lot of the things that we have, we are the only place in the country that has them.” That includes original copies of Revolutionary French newspapers, old Irish newspapers obtained for a professor studying Ireland, Armenian newspapers—as well as the good old Chicago Maroon. “We have people that want to look from the glory days of Big Ten football, want to come and read about Amos Alonzo Stagg and University of Chicago football. Right where we are”—he was standing in the Regenstein Library—”were football stands that held 40,000 people, and got up to 60,000.”

Gadke is approaching his 45th year working as a full-time staff member, which means that he’s worked at the Library for longer than any other man on the staff. When I asked him how it came to pass that he ended up working at the library, he told me, “It just kinda happened. You know, I got a job that I enjoyed, and it’s where I’ve been since.”

The article originally appeared on the University of Chicago Magazine website.

Sandra Roscoe, Reference Librarian and Bibliographer for Current Fiction, 1947-2015

A dedicated member of the Joseph Regenstein Library’s Reference Department for 39 years, Sandra Roscoe helped generations of students and faculty members find the resources they needed. She died of a stroke on Friday, May 29 at the age of 67.

“Sandy was the consummate reference librarian,” said Jeffry Archer, Head of Reference Instruction and Outreach at Regenstein. “She was passionate about helping patrons, bringing her extensive knowledge of our institution and our print and electronic resources to bear on any question until the answer, resource, or right person was found to fulfill the patron’s need.”

Sandra Roscoe

Sandra Roscoe in 2009 (Photo by Lloyd DeGrane)

Sandy began work at the University of Chicago Library in 1975 as an Assistant Reference Librarian and was later promoted to Reference Librarian. Beginning in 1980, she had selection responsibilities for current English and American fiction.

“Sandy was such a great resource for students,” said Judith Dartt, AM’06, the Digitization Manager for the Library’s Special Collections Research Center. “When I came here as a graduate student, I always received the attention and help I needed from her. Sandy did wonderful work for Special Collections, too, during the time she provided reference support.”

Sandy received her B.A. in English Literature with distinction and honors from Mount Holyoke College.  After two years of graduate study in English at Clemson University, she went to University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she earned her M.S. in Library Science and was elected to Beta Phi Mu, the librarians’ honor society.

During the 1990s, Sandy participated actively in the development of the library catalog Horizon and served on numerous committees including the Media Review and Implementation and Digital Resources Delivery Group.  She enjoyed writing, edited the orientation newsletter in the early 1980s, and served as the Regenstein Coordinator of Public Information in the late 1990s, helping to supply information about the Library to campus publications and other media.  She served on the Reference Advisory Subcommittee of the Virtual Access Committee, and in the early 2000’s assisted with exhibition planning and provided reference service for Reader Services in Special Collections. 

“As our colleague, Sandy infused us with her excitement, sharing questions and resources that came to her while providing reference,” said Archer. “And she made us feel special, often bringing in baked goodies like her amazing ginger cookies.”

Sandy is survived by her brother-in-law, Kent Rigsby, and her niece, Dr. Dana Gossett. 

Donations in Sandy’s memory may be made to the University of Chicago Library’s Fund for Books, which supports the purchase of print and digital resources. To make a gift, contact the Library Development Office at 773-702-7695.

 

Alice Schreyer, Associate University Librarian for Area Studies and Special Collections, leaves UChicago

Alice Schreyer will be leaving the University of Chicago Library to join the Newberry Library as the Roger and Julie Baskes Vice President for Collections and Library Services on August 24. Alice’s last day at UChicago will be July 17.

Alice Schreyer

Alice Schreyer

“Alice has accomplished a tremendous amount for the Library since her arrival in 1991,” said Brenda Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian at the University of Chicago. Serving initially as Curator and then Director of Special Collections through 2011, she fundamentally reconceived and expanded collections, programs, and spaces to emphasize and encourage the use of rare and unique materials by faculty and students at all levels. Among the collections added to the Library during Alice’s tenure are the Saul Bellow Papers, the Barbara and Bill Yoffee Collection of African-American Children’s Literature, the Bibliotheca Homerica Langiana, and the Daniel Clowes Archive. Alice supported the retrospective conversion of Special Collections catalog records, the encoding of archives and manuscript finding aids in EAD, and the launch of the Aeon online request circulation system. An early champion of digitization of Special Collections materials, Alice led several grant-funded projects and helped guide the development and expansion of Library digital collections as co-chair of the Digital Collections Steering Committee. She also oversaw a transformative series of construction projects, including the reconfiguration that shifted Special Collections from three floors to two and created new stack and staff spaces on A-Level; the Rosenthal Seminar Room project that produced the Library’s first smart classroom; the HVAC project that addressed environmental needs of the collections; and the recently completed construction project that reshaped Special Collections’ first floor and created its new public face on the Mansueto pathway. She also directed Preservation from 2007-2011 as the Mansueto Library, with its new Conservation and Digitization Laboratories, was being planned and constructed.

Since 2011, the Library has benefitted from Alice’s leadership in a number of roles. She served as Assistant University Librarian for Humanities, Social Sciences and Special Collections from January 2012 to June 2014, creating the Library’s first unified humanities, social sciences, and area studies division; as Interim Library Director and Associate University Librarian for Area Studies and Special Collections from July to December 2014; and as Associate University Librarian for Area Studies and Special Collections and Curator of Rare Books since January 2015.  

Alice has also played a vital role in shaping special collections librarianship throughout the country. Before joining us, she worked at Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Library of Congress, and the University of Delaware Library. She was the founding editor of the ACRL journal Rare Books & Manuscripts from 1988 to 1993 and a member of the ARL Task Force on Special Collections (2002-2006), for which she wrote “Education and Training for Careers in Special Collections Librarianship; A White Paper” (November 2004). Book collectors and librarians continue to refer to Alice’s essay, Elective Affinities: Private Collectors & Special Collections in Libraries (Chicago: University of Chicago Library, 2001), originally delivered at the Library of Congress and published by the University of Chicago Library Society. In addition to teaching courses on special collections librarianship from 2001-2012, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia since 2004, as Secretary from 2009 through 2014, and as Chair since January 2014.

“We will miss Alice greatly but are pleased to know that she will be nearby and that we will have the opportunity to collaborate with her as she takes on her new role at the Newberry,” Johnson said.

Tsuen-hsuin Tsien, Curator Emeritus of the East Asian Collection, 1909-2015

Tsuen-hsuin (T.H.) Tsien, Curator Emeritus of the East Asian Collection of the Joseph Regenstein Library and Professor Emeritus of Far Eastern Languages and Civilizations (now East Asian Languages and Civilizations) of the University of Chicago, passed away in Chicago on April 9, 2015, at the age of 105.

Dr. Tsuen-hsuin Tsien (center) with Professor Edward Shaughnessy (right) and Mary Tsien Dunkel (left) at the conference “Texting China—Composition, Transmission, Preservation of Pre-modern Chinese Textual Materials” at the University of Chicago Library in 2012. (Photo by Jason Smith)

Dr. Tsuen-hsuin Tsien (center) with Professor Edward Shaughnessy (right) and Mary Tsien Dunkel (left) at the conference “Texting China—Composition, Transmission, Preservation of Pre-modern Chinese Textual Materials” at the University of Chicago Library in 2012. (Photo by Jason Smith)

T.H. lived a long and extraordinarily full life. He liked to say that he was born under the last emperor of China, in 1909, in Taixian (today’s Taizhou City), Jiangsu, China. In 1927, before entering university, he participated in the Northern Expedition, a military effort of the Nationalist government of China that resulted in the unification of China. In 1928, T.H. entered Jinling University (the precursor of Nanjing University), from which he was graduated in 1932 with a degree in Library Science. After graduation, he worked first in Shanghai at the Jiaotong University Library, and then in Nanjing at the Nanjing Branch of the Peking Library (the forerunner of the National Library of China). In December, 1941, he was personally responsible for shipping rare books from the library to the United States Library of Congress for safe-keeping during the war, arranging for 2,720 individual titles in some 30,000 volumes to be crated for shipment. The books left the port of Shanghai, then still an open city, just days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and made it safely to Washington. After the conclusion of the war, T.H. went to Washington to arrange for the return of the books. However, the outbreak of civil war in China made their return at the time impossible, and T.H. remained in America together with the books. In 1947, Herrlee G. Creel (1905-1994; Martin A. Ryerson Professor Emeritus of Chinese Studies at the University) invited T.H. to the University of Chicago to manage the Far Eastern Library (now East Asian Collection). T.H. remained in Chicago thereafter.

It is no exaggeration to say that T.H. Tsien was the most influential Chinese librarian in America. Not only did he develop one of the country’s greatest East Asian libraries at the University of Chicago, but he also trained a generation of students for East Asian libraries around the country including those who went on to head the East Asian libraries at Harvard and Princeton. In addition, his published scholarship continues to have a profound influence on the fields of Chinese bibliography, paleography, and science and technology. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1957; his dissertation, published by the University of Chicago Press in 1962 as Written on Bamboo and Silk: The Beginnings of Chinese Books and Inscriptions, is still regarded as a classic in the field. In 1978, after retiring from his position as Curator of the East Asian Collection, T.H. accepted an invitation from Joseph Needham to participate in Needham’s great Science and civilisation in China project. In 1984, T.H. contributed Vol. 5.1: Paper and Printing, the first volume in the series to be published under a name other than Needham’s. After this time, he remained active. In 2011, his book Collected Writings on Chinese Culture, was published by the Chinese University of Hong Kong Press. It includes thirty essays on “Ancient Documents and Artifacts,” “Paper, Ink, and Printing,” “Cultural Exchange and Librarianship,” “Biographies of Eminent Scholars,” “Memoir of a Centenarian,” and “Essays about the Author.” The volume also contains prefaces by Edward L. Shaughnessy and Anthony C. Yu, his colleagues at the University of Chicago, relating many more of his contributions to the University and to scholarship.

T.H. Tsien has now rejoined his beloved wife Wen-ching Hsu, who was one of the first instructors of Chinese at the University, and his eldest daughter Ginger, both of whom passed away in 2008. He is survived by two other daughters, Mary Tsien Dunkel and Gloria Tsien, as well as by his nephew Xiaowen Qian, Assistant to the Curator for the East Asian Collection of the Regenstein Library. He has established a legacy that will endure as long as scholars continue to value books.

Updated 9/16/15

Library Director Judith Nadler to retire

After a distinguished 48-year career, Library Director and University Librarian Judith Nadler, who oversaw the planning and construction of the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, will retire on June 30, 2014. A national search is underway to identify her successor.

Under Nadler’s leadership, the University of Chicago Library flourished as a prized and effective research tool for students and faculty. With its 11.9 million volumes, noted collections in fields ranging from sociology to the history of science, rich selection of non-English holdings and commitment to keeping its collection on campus, the Library has become a destination for scholars and a model for other institutions worldwide.  

Judith Nadler

Judith Nadler, Director and University Librarian (Photo by Dan Dry)

A frequently consulted expert on library science, Nadler is known for her broad expertise, unlimited energy, conceptual acuity and deep devotion to both the Library and the University of Chicago.

“Judi has tirelessly pursued new opportunities, enhanced every aspect of the Library and demonstrated continuously expert and nimble leadership,” Provost Thomas F. Rosenbaum wrote in a message to faculty on March 17. “We are indebted to Judi for her keen judgment and generosity of spirit while she served as the Library’s guide, administrator and strategic planner.”

“I feel deeply privileged to have served the University and the Library for almost five decades and grateful for the opportunities given to me to serve it well. I cannot think of an environment that is more inspirational and more conducive to enabling success,” Nadler said.

“Among the achievements I am most proud of are the lasting impact of the Mansueto Library, the sustained confidence and support of the faculty, and the evidenced quality and achievements of the library staff. More than what we have done in the past, it’s about what we have built for the future, and that is what I would like to be remembered for,” she added.

The Mansueto Library, one of the crowning achievements of Nadler’s two terms as director, houses cutting-edge facilities for book preservation and digitization, as well as a high-density underground storage system with the capacity to hold 3.5 million volume equivalents. The library was designed to fulfill scholars’ needs for easy access to print resources at a time when many other research universities are moving their collections to off-site storage.

The library is named in honor of Joe Mansueto, AB’78, and MBA’80, and Rika Yoshida, AB’91, who gave a $25 million gift to the University in 2008. Architect Helmut Jahn designed the facility’s iconic glass dome, which encloses a light-filled reading room and an underground storage system that descends 50 feet below ground.

‘Nationally recognized and locally treasured’

Andrew Abbott, the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in Sociology, worked closely with Nadler during the planning process for Mansueto. He described working with Nadler as “one of the greatest pleasures of my career. Her breadth of expertise, her commitment to the life of the mind, her ability to innovate boldly while maintaining traditional library values and practices: These unique qualities have led to the creation of a research library unmatched in the world. It has been an honor to work with her as a colleague and a friend.”

During her 10 years as director, Nadler also maintained six on-site libraries, built collections, explored and implemented digitization techniques, amassed electronic assets and automating services to optimize the preservation and access of vital resource materials, while cultivating a robust relationship between the Library and University faculty.

Diane Lauderdale, professor of Health Studies and chair of the Library’s faculty board, praised Nadler’s leadership and vision for the Library.

“Judi’s retirement is an occasion to celebrate her achievements and the health of the University’s library,” Lauderdale said. “Her wise leadership and understanding of research libraries are nationally recognized and locally treasured. Judi has expertly navigated the Library through changes that ensure its continued centrality to the intellectual life of the University by strengthening its staff, collections and physical environment.”

Nadler joined UChicago in 1966 as a cataloger in the Foreign Language Section of the Library’s Cataloging Department. She was successively promoted to head of the Social Sciences Section, head of the Cataloging Department, assistant director for Technical Services and then associate director of the Library.

In addition to her duties as director, Nadler currently serves as chief selector for the Library’s Judaica Collection, having raised much of the funding to build this collection.

Nadler studied history and comparative linguistics at the University of Cluj in Romania, earned an undergraduate degree in English and Romance Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a master’s degree in library science from the Israel Graduate School and pursued graduate studies in comparative literature at Hebrew University.

The search committee is chaired by Deputy Provost for Research Roy Weiss and includes Andrew Abbott, Elizabeth Asmis, Michael Geyer, Klara Jelinkova, Garrett Kiely, Diane Lauderdale, Randal Picker and James Vaughan.

A University of Chicago news release