As is the case with many worthy projects, the seeds of this festschrift to David B. Gracy II began humbly—in the hallway of an office suite. Five years ago David announced that his retirement from the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) School of Information would go into effect at the end of the spring 2011 academic semester. Janelle Dupont, then managing editor of Libraries & the Cultural Record, worked in the office next to me. (David’s office was on the other side of Janelle’s.) Janelle, ever one to be thinking ahead, asked me what I thought about the two of us coediting a festschrift for David. It was a fine and fitting idea; David’s career has evinced innumerable critical contributions to advancing the archives field in the United States. My personal admiration and affection for David extend back to 1985, when I was his student at UT Austin. He is my mentor, colleague, and friend.
Far too early in her life, Janelle died in 2010. In 2011 I began working on the festschrift as guest editor. The contents of this issue are the result of a very rewarding two-year period commissioning papers and working with scholars who have known David and witnessed his extraordinary hard work in developing the archives field in the United States as professional practice and academic discipline.
The papers address five themes that characterize David’s career and scholarly interests: education of archivists; advocacy for archives; archival description; intersections of libraries, archives, and museums; and local records. Following the order of these topics, Patricia Galloway discusses the development of a discourse about and cadre for archival education in the United States, counterpointed by developments at UT Austin from the perspective of Gracy’s career. Randall C. Jimerson [End Page 1] examines the impact of Gracy’s Archives and Society initiative while he served as SAA president and its importance for and impact on some of the current themes being discussed in the profession today, such as archives and justice, advocacy and accountability, and the role of archivists in society. Reviewing the historical background and discourse surrounding early descriptive developments at the US National Archives from 1935 to 1941, Anne Gilliland identifies three discursive strands and discusses their implications for archivists today. Deanna Marcum suggests that while libraries, archives, and museums have taken separate paths to professionalization, the digital environment, along with its many opportunities for collaboration, is now bringing these cultural institutions closer together. Finally, describing efforts to preserve local records, Martha Doty Freeman enumerates the ways in which their uses have intensified since the mid-twentieth century.
Researchers who wish to study David Gracy’s career further can consult the biographical references noted in his curriculum vitae, published in this issue. Also, an essay-length biography of David Gracy written by Kimberly Anderson can be found archived in the UT Austin School of Information’s digital archival repository at https://pacer.ischool.utexas.edu under “School of Information Faculty” and “David B. Gracy II.”
I wish to thank all of the authors for their excellent contributions to this festschrift. It has been my honor and pleasure to work with and learn from each of you. I especially wish to thank my colleague Patricia Galloway, professor in the UT Austin School of Information. As always, she has been a wonderful collaborator, helping to define the subjects the festschrift would address and offering sage editorial advice. Finally, a special thanks to the memory of Janelle Dupont, whose sharp mind and personal warmth touched the lives of the faculty, staff, and students who worked with her. [End Page 2]
Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa, doctoral candidate in American studies at the University of Texas at Austin, is adjunct assistant professor in the University of Delaware Department of Art Conservation and adjunct faculty in Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. She has been an active practitioner, educator, and consultant in the field of cultural record preservation for thirty years.