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Syracuse University community mourns passing of University Librarian Peter Graham
Syracuse University community mourns passing of University Librarian Peter GrahamAugust 12, 2004Kevin Morrowkdmorrow@syr.edu
Peter S. Graham, university librarian at Syracuse University, died Aug. 11 at his home in Syracuse after a long battle with lymphoma. He was 65.
Graham had served as university librarian since Sept. 1, 1998. As head of the SU Library, he revitalized the staff structure by appointing nationally known leaders as heads of major library areas. He successfully called for increases in librarians’ salaries and support staff’s base wages, also obtaining a $1 million base budget increase in the library’s acquisitions budget. Graham’s emphasis throughout his tenure was on supporting traditional scholarly materials, primarily print, as well as the new technologies of research distribution. He inaugurated the ongoing SU Seminar in the History of the Book and made library facilities home for many other campus-wide intellectual activities.
Prior to coming to SU, Graham was associate university librarian for technical and networked information services at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, from 1987-98. He also served as associate vice president for information services at Rutgers, where he transformed the capabilities of administrative and academic computing and oversaw construction of a new library technical services building. He began his career in librarianship at the Research Libraries Group in its early days and has also been a librarian and manager at Columbia and Indiana universities. His earliest professional experience was with early IBM machines at the Association of American Medical Colleges.
In 1990, Graham founded the electronic bulletin board ExLibris, a forum for more than 1,600 rare book and special collections librarians; he was moderator until 1995. Graham was elected to the Council of the American Library Association (ALA) in 1993 and re-elected in 1997. He chaired the board of the Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities at Rutgers and Princeton universities, was elected to the Council of the Bibliographical Society of America and served as a member of its Publication and Web Advisory committees. He was a member of the advisory board of the Rare Book School of the University of Virginia.
He authored more than 30 scholarly pieces, including “New Roles for Special Collections on the Network” (College & Research Libraries, 1998) and “Requirements for the Digital Research Library” (College & Research Libraries, 1995), which received an ALA award as that journal’s outstanding article of the year. He also wrote “Intellectual Preservation: Electronic Preservation of the Third Kind” for the Council on Preservation and Access and “Electronic Information and Research Library Technical Services” (College & Research Libraries, 1990).
His writing and speaking in the 1990s primarily addressed the emerging issues of digital preservation. He emphasized an area that he called “intellectual preservation”-the assurance to a reader of an electronic document that it is in fact what it purports to be.
His key professional recognitions included election to the board of the Research Libraries Group, from 1999-2003, and membership on the steering committee of the Coalition for Networked Information, from 2002-04.
During the 1960s, Graham was an active member of the Young People’s Socialist League in Chicago and New York City. In 1963, he worked as an assistant to Bayard Rustin, executive director of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, managing the national office in Harlem for four months. Graham continued to be active in social organizations; in 2002, he and his wife, Lewraine Graham, were awarded the NAACP President’s Award for service to the Syracuse/Onondaga County branch.
Graham studied English at Columbia University and earned graduate degrees in English Renaissance literature there and at Oxford University. He subsequently earned a graduate library degree at Indiana University.
He is survived by his wife, the former Lewraine Buckingham of York, Pa., a professional artist; son Andrew Graham of Boston; and daughter Rae Buckley of Carrboro, N.C. He is also survived by his father, Harold N. Graham, and his father’s wife, Alaine Krim, and by siblings Margaret Schultz, Vicki Graham, Emily Graham and Rocky Graham.
Calling hours are Sunday, Aug. 15, 1 to 3 p.m., with the service to follow at 3 p.m., at Greenleaf Funeral Home, 503 W. Onondaga St., Syracuse. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Syracuse University Library in memory of Peter Graham.