Researchers can now access the original papers of Alan H. MacDonald, who was instrumental in shaping the university’s library and information services. Another collection newly available, the archives of Anthony Rasporich, highlights western Canadian history, ethnic and Croatian history in Canada and the history of the University of Calgary.
Alan H. MacDonald
As Director of Libraries beginning in 1979 and later as Director of Information Services beginning in 1992, MacDonald’s career spanned the rapid change in libraries as the information explosion redefined how we access and use knowledge. MacDonald gave over 800 addresses, papers, keynote speeches and reports; in addition, MacDonald wrote and presented 127 citations for honorary degree recipients in his role as university orator from 1989-2002. Also available are the records of MacDonald’s uncle Wallace Archibald MacDonald, a silent film star and movie producer. These records include newspaper clippings, reviews, scrapbooks and movie posters.
MacDonald passed away in 2010. The university established the Alan H. MacDonald Management and Support Staff Training Fund to recognize his role as a mentor to staff in Libraries and Cultural Resources. In September 2016, Libraries and Cultural Resources opened the Alan MacDonald Graduate Student Commons in the Taylor Family Digital Library.
“MacDonald was exactly the right person at the right time in the history of the library and of the university as he shepherded us through both the information and technology explosion that took place in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and that changed forever the way we now access and use information,” explains Karen Buckley, the archivist with Archives and Special Collections who arranged and described the records.
Anthony Rasporich joined the newly established University of Calgary in 1966 in the Department of History, eventually serving in several administrative posts as Head, Associate Dean and Dean. Rasporich wrote articles, encyclopedia entries, chapters of books, edited conference proceedings, and wrote books on a wide of topics: western Canadian history, Canadian social and political history, utopian societies, William Lyon Mackenzie, Jewish settlers, oil history, and Croatians in Canada. He was co-editor of the Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal for 23 years.
Rasporich also wrote Make No Small Plans for the university’s 40th anniversary in 2006. These records include oral histories and source materials that provided valuable background for the university’s 50th celebrations.
“Exploring these archives gives you an appreciation for these two leaders and thinkers who helped to shape the university as it is today,” adds Buckley.
Both projects were supported by a grant from the Archives Society of Alberta. Archives and Special Collections is operated by Libraries and Cultural Resources.