W. David Rozkuszka

W. David Rozkuszka photo


David Rozkuszka was documents librarian at Stanford University until his death in January 1997. David was a noted expert in the area of foreign documents. During his career he assisted librarians from all over the country in their pursuit of this elusive material. He was the consummate professional and served as an outstanding role model for all those fortunate enough to have known him.

The following are commends made by two of David's colleagues, Carol Turner and Ann Latta, upon his retirement and subsequent death.

David is an incomparable original whose work has set the standard for all who have worked with him in any capacity. Neither Stanford nor the documents world will be the same without his presence.

David spent more than 25 years with Stanford's libraries---most of the time devoted to building a world class collection of foreign documents. He collected with great intelligence, setting priorities and making choices---determining which specific items were absolutely essential, which types indicative of a nation, a period, a form of government operation---and then did whatever was necessary to add them to the collection and make them accessible. This invariably involved insuring that the cataloging included access points that would be sought by those immersed in how specific governments functioned and how their activities were then documented in publications. It also involved sharing his knowledge with library colleagues and library users.

David is a superb teacher who is able to focus on the essence of a topic and convey it with clarity, precision, and absolute authority. Be assured, those who listed to David carefully will not need to muddle through and sort out the chaff. They will know, without question, what the key points are. Whether talking to a new faculty member, initiating a graduate student to the ins and outs of the Parliamentary Papers, the Calendar of State Papers, and the Pipe Rolls, or training a novice library assistant, he is clear, incisive, and adept at explaining things that are inherently complex.

To Stanford documents old timers David was known as Mr. Clean because of his neat and artistic office, his ability to make dust fly and the clutter disappear, and his talent for going through piles of stuff and weeding out all but the essential. It always amazed me that he had 25 years worth of paper condensed into one small file cabinet in to which he could reach and extract exactly the key memorandum or document when it was needed (from Carol Turner's letter upon his retirement).

Beyond the libraries, David also left a legacy and an impact. His work on the Stanford Committee for Land and Building Development insured architectural integrity within the University and adherence to the vision of the early builders. Maintaining vistas was of particular importance to David, and many a Stanford tree owes its location to David's insistence that no vista be blocked.

David served as a member of the Committee for African Studies and the Canadian Studies Advisory Group. His work to develop Canadian Studies at Stanford coupled with urbanity and high spirits led to frequent visits to the Canadian Consulate in San Francisco and smoothed the way for the acquisition of Canadian publications.

Recognition of David's contributions by the Government Documents Round Table, American Library Association, resulted in the establishment of a scholarship in David's name for library school students working in the area of government documents (from In Memorium, by Ann Latta).

Photo supplied by Betty Lum, Stanford University.