March 20, 1997
Vol. 16, No. 13

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    Obituary: Herman Fussler

    Herman H. Fussler (A.M.'41, Ph.D.'48), a pioneering librarian who helped make the University Library a leading international resource for scholars, died March 2 in Raleigh, N.C. He was 82.

    Fussler, who retired from the University in 1983, was Director of the Library for 23 years. The Joseph Regenstein Library, built under his direction, became a model research library for the humanities and social sciences. He was a leader in applying computers to library applications, developing in the 1960s a plan to convert the Library's bibliographic data into computerized form.

    After Regenstein Library was completed in 1970, he joined the faculty of the Graduate Library School on a full-time basis in 1971. He was named the Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor in 1974.

    "I remember him as an inspiring teacher and a formidable intellect," said Martin Runkle, Director of the University Library and a former student of Fussler's. "He was greatly admired throughout the library and academic communities."

    Fussler began his library career in 1936 when he arrived at the University of Chicago to establish and direct its pioneering Department of Photographic Reproduction, where he developed processes that helped establish the use of microfilm in research libraries. He became Science Librarian in 1943, and in 1947 he was promoted to Assistant Director and then Associate Director of the University Library. He was named Director in 1948. Fussler also served the Manhattan Project as the Assistant Director of the Information Division and Librarian of the Metallurgical Laboratory, from 1942 to 1945.

    He received presidential appointments to the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine in 1963 and to the National Advisory Committee on Libraries in 1966.

    Fussler was a member of the advisory committee to the Librarian of Congress on the study of automation in the Library of Congress. He was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    Fussler received his A.B. in mathematics in 1935 and his A.B. in library science in 1936, both from the University of North Carolina. He received his M.A. in 1941 and his Ph.D. in 1948, both in library science, from Chicago.

    He is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, Lynn Padgett and Thomas Padgett, and a granddaughter, Ellen Elizabeth Boyd, all of Raleigh, N.C.; and a sister, Julia Lunsford of Medford, Ore. His wife, Gladys Otten, died in 1991.