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John Brady Leaves Newberry, Will Hansen Returns; Roger Baskes Receives Award

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The Newberry Library announced, “John Brady, the Newberry's director of Reader Services and curator of Americana, will leave the library this month. John has led a team of librarians and librarian assistants while planning, providing for, and coordinating services for readers, scholars participating in Newberry programs, staff, and remote users; as a curator, he collected current monographs, antiquarian books, and manuscript Americana to augment a strong repository in the field. A ubiquitous presence around the Newberry, John could often be found guiding groups of visitors through the library's corridors, indicating the resources to which they lead and sharing an institutional knowledge that had long ago become intuition. John ends an illustrious 16-year career at the Newberry, which he began in 1998 as a reference librarian.”

Will Hansen assumes John's dual role at The Newberry Library. This marks Will Hansen's second stint as a member of The Newberry Library’s staff, as he previously served as Reference Services Senior Library Assistant. Between these two non-consecutive terms, Hansen spent seven years at Duke University, where he served as Assistant Curator of Collections at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Hansen, who earned his M.L.S. degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign, was the subject of an interview last year by Nate Pedersen in the “Bright Young Librarians” series for the blog Fine Books & Collections.

In an event held Monday, May 5, 2014 the Newberry bestowed on Roger Baskes its most prestigious award, the Newberry Library Award. Victoria J. Herget, Chair of the Newberry Board of Trustees, presented the 2014 Newberry Library Award to Roger Baskes. Baskes is himself a former Chairman of The Newberry Library’s Board of Trustees.

The Newberry Library stated, “Established in 1987, the library’s centennial year, the award honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the humanities, particularly in fields of endeavor related to the Newberry’s collection. Mr. Baskes is the thirteenth person to be so honored.”

Roger Baskes has long been a generous supporter of various organizations that compose Chicago’s cultural infrastructure: Lyric Opera of Chicago, Goodman Theatre, and Chicago Opera Theater, among others. He has also been an ardent champion of the Newberry, where his service has taken the forms of trustee and collector. Since the late 1980s Baskes has been assembling a collection of more than 19,000 volumes relating to cartography; when the gift of this collection is complete, it will more than double the Newberry’s atlas holdings…

The Baskes Collection, by defining 'atlas' in an expansive way, potentially re-maps the boundaries of its field of study. For Baskes, this definition includes not only books that most would recognize as dedicated atlases, but also geographies and travel guidebooks for migrants, railway and ocean liner travelers, motorists, and other restless souls on the move.

“The Newberry is proud to acknowledge the people who have helped form an institution that preserves a rich cultural heritage and encourages new scholarship and lifetime learning in the humanities,” said Newberry President David Spadafora. “Roger’s immense involvement with the Newberry has helped make possible the successful pursuit of our general mission while bolstering a specific strength of the library’s collection.”

“The sheer diversity of the Baskes Collection has the capacity to change the way scholars and other readers think about maps, their history, and their use in different fields of study,” said James Akerman, Director of the Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography at The Newberry Library.

Previous recipients of the Newberry Library Award include David McCullough, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author; Hanna H. Gray, President Emerita, University of Chicago; Anthony Grafton, Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton University; and Jonathan D. Spence, Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University.

A graduate of Harvard Law School (Class of 1959), Baskes practiced law in Chixago for twenty years. In 1999, he and his wife endowed the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections Services. He is a member of The Caxton Club, which meets at The Newberry Library; and is a past president of the Chicago Map Society.

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