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Howard Karno | In Memoriam

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)

Alan Moss | In Memoriam

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

Merle Greene Robertson (1913-2011)

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).

 

Hortensia Calvo
Tulane University

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