Nancy Bartlett 2014-07-22 11:32:18
Archivists lost a leader and dear friend when Terry Cook passed away on May 12, 2014. Terry personified the best in our profession’s aspirations, expertise, compassion, and curiosity. These qualities were always on display, in person and throughout his many pages of publications, with a Canadian gentility that matched his stature in what one might call “the deluxe model.” I consider myself very fortunate to have met Terry more than twenty years ago, when we both served on the SAA’s Program Committee for the 1992 Annual Meeting in Montreal. I realized within a few hours of the committee’s debating proposals that Terry was a smooth diplomat on behalf of the National Archives of Canada, as well as an intellectual and allaround fun guy. Out of that fortuitous encounter evolved my close admiration of Terry’s expansive reach and effect on archives and “archivistique” worldwide. He conducted workshops, led seminars, and delivered lectures in many countries on six continents. I was witness to Terry’s keynote address at the 1996 International Congress on Archives in Beijing. It was there that he introduced his masterful analysis of the history of archival ideas since 1898, a presentation that led to publication in Archivaria and subsequent translations in at least ten languages.1 It also led to his very welcomed return to China. I saw him treated like a rock star at Renmin University in Beijing just a few years ago. Students scrambled then to ask him questions in response to his talk on macroappraisal and functional analysis. In June they organized a memorial tribute. For thirty-seven years, Terry taught in the postgraduate Archival Studies program at the University of Manitoba and worked at the Public (later National) Archives of Canada. Across his amazingly productive career, he published five books, some eighty articles on archival theory and strategy, and edited three scholarly journals in archives and history. His contributions have been recognized by many awards. In 2010, he was elected as a Fellow of the prestigious Royal Society of Canada, which is the highest recognition for scholars and scientists in all academic fields in Canada, and the first scholar of archival science to be so honored. He was also a Fellow of the Association of Canadian Archivists, Fellow of the Canadian Society of Office Automation Professionals, and Fellow of SAA. Terry’s history with SAA was substantial: member for thirty-four years; decade of service on The American Archivist Editorial Board; recipient of the 2002 Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award for the best essay in The American Archivist; co-editor of Imagining Archives: Essays and Reflections by Hugh A. Taylor; editor of Controlling the Past: Documenting Society and Institutions? Essays in Honor of Helen Willa Samuels; and countless presentations at the annual meetings. In the spring he coauthored the article “The Sense of Wonder,” which was featured in the Archival Outlook (March/ April 2014). Terry was often a visitor to the University of Michigan. He came to Ann Arbor just over a year ago to take part in a twoday symposium on Visual Culture and Archives. He came not as a specialist in all matters visual, but rather at my invitation that he offer his larger perspective from a career devoted to the inclusiveness of contents and communities in the archival equation. (Inclusiveness was a focus of one of his most recent articles, titled “Evidence, Memory, Identity, and Community: Four Shifting Archival Paradigms”).2 I knew Terry would ask questions more than offer answers in his giving a refined archival context to the important complexities of images and visual thinking. He and his co-presenter and close friend Joan M. Schwartz, premier scholar of photographic and cartographic archives, challenged and charmed their audience.3 Terry visited upon issues of appraisal, agency, the emotional and visceral, analog and digital, “the patterns and textures of meaning,” and tensions and wonders of archives as “a trace of a trace of a trace of a trace.” Terry urged us all to move “wisely, creatively” through our work toward “new thinking and new ways of seeing.” That visionary encouragement is a part of his legacy and gift to a world of colleagues. Notes 1 See Terry Cook, “What Is Past Is Prologue: A History of Archival Ideas since 1898, and the Future Paradigm Shift,” Archivaria 43 (Spring 1997) : 17?63. 2 See Terry Cook, “Evidence, Memory, Identity, and Community: Four Shifting Archival Paradigms,” Archival Science 13, 2–3 (June 2013): 95–120. 3 All content from the symposium, including Terry Cook’s remarks at the beginning and end of the event, is viewable online at http://bentley.umich .edu/general/symposiumvideo.php.
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