‘In Memoriam’ Archives
It is with great sadness that we share news of the death of Barbara Valk, founder of the Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI), Librarian Emeritus of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and pioneer in Latin Americanist librarianship.
Barbara graduated from Smith College and received her M.A. in Library Science from Rosary College. She began her career as the librarian for Latin American Studies at the Arizona State University Libraries. In 1973, while at ASU, she developed an index to the local periodical collection for Latin American studies. News of this index was received with excitement by members of the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM) who saw this as a possible model for a larger index to the periodical literature of Latin America. Barbara was recruited by the UCLA Latin American Center (now the Latin American Institute) to create the publication and serve as director of the newly-christened HAPI, a position she filled until her retirement in 2005. Working in collaboration with SALALM and its members, Barbara built the index from scratch to become a resource that is widely acknowledged as a key research resource for Latin American Studies. Under her guidance, HAPI successfully transitioned from a self-sustaining annual print volume to a locally-hosted database to a web-based search tool. This became the first reliable source for identifying journal literature from and about Latin America, making it invaluable for Latin American scholarship.
Barbara was an active member and leader within SALALM throughout her career. She served as SALALM President in 1984 and twice hosted the organization’s annual meeting. Additionally, she served for many years as chair of SALALM’s Editorial Board, setting a high standard for the organization’s reference publications and scholarship. She is the only three-time recipient of the José Toribio Medina Award for outstanding contributions by SALALM members to Latin American Studies for HAPI, Borderline: A Bibliography of the United States-Mexico Borderlands, and Latin American Studies: A Basic Guide to Sources. She also served as Associate Editor to the book Latin America and the Caribbean: A Critical Guide to Research Sources, another Medina Award winner. Upon her retirement she was named an Honorary Member of the organization. She is widely recognized for building a vibrant sense of community within the organization, beginning with the HAPI project.
Those of us who worked with Barbara remember her as a dedicated professional with an impressive work ethic. She could be counted on for both big ideas and the hard work required to accomplish ambitious projects. Over the years she was a mentor and a friend to many and left an indelible mark on the field of Latin Americanist librarianship.
Barbara is survived by her devoted husband Peter and children David, Dana, and Lauren, daughter-in-law Amy, and grandson Douglas.
- tatiana de la tierra
My first recollection of tatiana de la tierra (she always insisted on lower case) was at a Guadalajara Book Fair gathering. The rubenesque, gitana-attired colombiana, with funky bright colored glasses and red lipstick came straight at me, from the other side of the room. “I want to get to know you,” she said almost in a seductive kind of way!
That’s the kind of person tatiana was – direct, at times abrupt, others aguerrida. But always committed to her writing, her work, her way of living. “My office looks like Frida’s house,” she said to me once while having coffee in Madrid, probably at the Berkana book shop in Chueca, the gay enclave of the Spanish capital. For her debut performance the night before, she was introduced by a well-known local gay writer who started by singing: “tatiana, tatiana, I’ve just met a girl named tatiana…” and up the stairs, from the basement, came the colombiana salerosa, colorfully dressed as ever. Aguerrida como ella misma (why would things be different in Spain?), she managed to insult one of the males in the audience who questioned her anti-men attitude. “That’s okay, you have my permission to be in the front row,” she told him.
The colombiana was also adventurous. One year in Barcelona she almost had to sleep in the lobby of my hotel because the B&B she had booked was not even a one-star hotel, but she had managed to get a cash refund: aventurera…y aguerrida como ella misma!
Another time, while in Buenos Aires for the book fair, we embarked on another adventure. Imagine the taxi drivers facing a group of librarians in search of Belleza y Felicidad, the gallery where the early cartoneros showcased their work. During that porteño trip she had also contacted a women’s collective and had arranged to read for her book (Para las duras/For the Hard Ones) in a mysterious basement location where some sort of password had to be given to be allowed in.
The last time I saw her, she had come to San Francisco and we met for lunch. She had lost some weight (but not her afán de vida) and showed me some of the bruises on her arm from the constant hospital stays. She probably knew already she would not have much time left, but her risa contagiosa filled the room like any place where that colombiana de las duras always went.
Today, Tatiana Suerte Sirena, her Facebook nom de plume, has embarked on another adventure. I can envision her, with bright red lipstick, funky colored glasses, surrounded by choirs of gypsy-dressed sirenas, serenely but guardedly watching over her journey, así en la tierra como en los mares. Safe travels, colombiana rubenesca, colombiana salerosa!
Howard Karno was so many things to so many people: Angelino, born and bred; a student and scholar of Latin America; an innovative and resourceful bookseller; and a husband, father and friend. Howard was forever a boy trapped in a man’s body; he never lost the capacity for spontaneity and impish behavior.
He had many loves. He loved the beautiful home that he and Beverly created in the hills of Southern California. He loved good books, good conversation, good food, and good wine. He loved people – all sorts of people in more countries than most of us will ever visit. He remembered them; he kept up with them; he treasured them. Most of all, of course, he loved Beverly and his family. They were his greatest joy.
His involvement with Latin America began with graduate study at UCLA. Howard had the good fortune of doing field work in Peru at a time when the country hosted a number of young researchers from the United States, including Tom Davies, Jesus Chavarría and Peter Klaren, who became life-long friends. His work on Peruvian modernization resulted in a splendid dissertation but no job in the academy, which was a blessing in disguise.
Necessity being the mother of invention, Howard quickly found his footing in the book trade, establishing a business that combined his knowledge of bibliography with a garrulous personality and instinctive salesmanship. Enter SALALM.
The marvelous interview that Howard gave to Mark Grover in 2006 offers an account of the ups and downs of his career and memories of working with many SALALM alums. What he fails to mention is the important role that he and his family played in shaping our organization and building its community. Howard’s mother, a great cook, even prepared and served a dinner for the UCLA SALALM, which jump-started the libreros’ reception. Howard’s enormous presence in the Latin American book trade led to the compilation of bookseller information in the various editions of Directory of Vendors of Latin American Library Materials. Howard never lost the curiosity of a scholar. He read voraciously and broadly. SALALM is fortunate that so many of its libreros are people who love books, read books, and learn from books. Surely, none did so more than Howard. He knew our libraries’ collections and our interests and many of our institutions’ treasures are a result of his knowledge and efforts.
His generosity was legendary. He was generous with his time, ready to listen to all. He made each of us feel he truly cared about our lives. When he saw or read a book that reminded him of someone, he would mail it along to share it. He never visited a bookstore without buying something as a way to support them. Howard made a room brighter when he entered it and filled it with more laughter and engaging conversation.
Howard’s early Libros Latinos catalogs began with a lema: “As a former professor of Latin American history familiar with the bibliography and sources of out-of-print materials, I will give prompt attention to your requests.” So he was, and so he did for four decades.
We miss you, Howard.
David Block (University of Texas at Austin) and Paula Covington (Vanderbilt University)
It is in deep sadness and with a heavy heart that I share the following story on the untimely and unexpected death of distinguished Professor David Lee Craven (Art and Art History). He was — as noted within the attached — generous in spirit, praise, intellect, and also in his enthusiasm. His contributions to our graphic arts, contemporary exhibition catalog, and circulating Art History collections were extraordinary and reflective of his broad and deep commitment to intellectual and creative exchange. David’s loss cuts deep, not just here at UNM, but in all of the communities where he spread his infectious enthusiasm for Latin American Art, theory and popular movements. It was a distinct privilege to know him and to work with him. Please see: http://news.unm.edu/2012/02/distinguished-professor-david-craven-dies/
It is with regret that we announce the death of Alan Moss, a former staff member of the Main Library of the Cave Hill Campus of The University of the West Indies, who was also very active in SALALM
Alan’s first contact with the University came through the then College of Arts and Science (the precursor to the Cave Hill Campus), in September 1966, when he was recruited through the Joint Recruitment Scheme which the College had with the University of Reading. He worked with the library for about a year and a half, first as the interregnum head at the Harbour site (of the College of Arts and Science) and then as a member of staff under the then newly appointed head of the library. Alan assisted with the relocation of the Main Library to its present location at Cave Hill. He then worked as the librarian for the Centre for Multi-Racial Studies a joint project with the University of Sussex from 1968 to 1971. Alan returned to the Main Library in 1971 where he remained until his retirement in 2000.
During his tenure at Cave Hill’s Main Library, Alan worked primarily as the Acquisitions Librarian. One of his responsibilities was to ensure that the Campus’ collection of books and serials grew in tandem with course offerings and population growth. His personal strength was West Indiana. His accomplishments in this area embraced all linguistic groups in the region. He was as well known in a small bookshop outside Santo Domingo as he was in bookshops around Bridgetown. He also served as Officer-in-Charge of the Main Library on several occasions. During his professional career he gave unstinting and outstanding s service to ACURIL and SALALM. Locally he was very active in LAB (Library Association for Barbados), having served as an officer on more than one occasion and, many years ago, he submitted the winning entry for the Association’s logo.
After retirement, Alan used his bibliographic skills and knowledge of West Indiana to form a a very successful business as an international provider of West Indian materials to libraries and individuals with an interest in the printed products of region. During the course of his work in Barbados and also as a bookseller, he developed many lasting friendships with librarians, other booksellers and those with an interest in Caribbeana, locally, regionally and beyond. Upon hearing of his passing, SALALM colleagues spoke of his camaraderie and described him as a first-rate bibliographer with in-depth knowledge of publishing in the English-speaking Caribbean. Several members remember him providing unique materials and diligent service, especially with special requests.
His passing in late December in the U.K. comes after a period of illness and after having successfully completed a course of treatment in England. Alan died as he lived, quietly and peacefully, in his sleep. A memorial service was held at Coral Ridge, Christ Church, Barbados on January 17, 2012, after which he was cremated. On behalf of SALALM and other members of the library community, condolences are extended to his wife, Sylvia, daughters, Katy and Helen, as well as his grandchildren.
May he rest in peace.
Elizabeth F. Watson
The University of the West Indies
We note with sadness the death of Ceres Birkhead in Salt Lake City on December 30, 2011. Ceres was involved in SALALM for many years. For the SALALM 1994 meeting in Salt Lake City, she served as part of the local arrangements committee. From 1987 to 2009, she was a reference librarian at the University of Utah. More remarkable than what she did, though, was what she was as a friend and colleague who lit up our lives when we were with her. Born in the Brazilian city of Candelária, she had a smile with candle power to rival the sun. Private messages and tributes may be expressed via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brigham Young University
It was a privilege to know Merle Green Robertson, who passed away on April 22, 2011, as a person and a scholar. She had a long and very productive life as one of the great Mayanists of our time, and this at a time when men pretty much dominated the field. To the lovely tribute by Marc Zender and Joel Skidmore that Howard and Bev circulated on LALA-L, I would just add that for anyone wanting to know more about her life and work, check out her autobiography fittingly titled Never in Fear: the Memoirs of Merle Greene Robertson, Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, 2006. We at the Latin American Library in Tulane University are honored to be the repository of her materials: http://lal.tulane.edu/collections/mgr (see issue no. 5, page 153 for more information).