For the past two years, much attention has been paid to the building and our widening public scope. But such attention in no way diminishes the fact that people are the foundation of our institution. The occasion of several retirements and departures brings me to reflect upon the enormous contribution of our staff.
Sally Leach's career has been charted by Roy Flukinger elsewhere in this issue, but I would add that her contributions to the Center are unique. Her presence has deeply enriched us all. Beyond her many scholarly and administrative talents runs a deep dedication to the Center. Her absence creates a void in our institutional memory, and her talent, goodwill, warmth, and resilience can hardly be replaced.
We suffer another loss in the retirement of French Collection Curator Carlton Lake, whose extraordinary record at the Ransom Center over the past 35 years is testament to his achievements. In addition to unfettered knowledge of French culture, the publication of several critically-acclaimed books, and acumen in the field of collecting, Carlton has provided the Center with the greatest collection of twentieth-century French cultural artifacts outside of France itself. Carlton retains the honorary of Executive Curator Emeritus, and his legacy to the Center will serve generations to come.
It's important to note the departure of three people whose cumulative service to the Ransom Center exceeds 74 years. Though James South, Imre Eifert, and Jim Whitaker worked quietly behind the scenes providing a range of expertise in cataloging, translation, reference, inventory, stack maintenance, and general amiability, they will be enormously missed by all who have had the pleasure to share time with them.
Finally, I am grateful for the wonderful work that Margaret Barker has done over the last three years. She leaves to join her husband as his military service takes him to the West Coast. A testament to Margaret's skill as a writer is evidenced by the Guide to the Collections, but more personal to me is her great help in correspondence, administration, and a myriad of other tasks. Margaret's grace, talent, capacity for work and goodwill will be sorely missed.
-Thomas F. Staley