A man of intense energy, Stanford led the Library into a growing emphasis on building archival collections and also guides the Library in the early days of information science. A Minnesota native, Stanford received his library education from the University of Illinois and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. During World War II, he served as special representative of the U.S. Civil Service Commission and was stationed in England, where he was an army instructor. In 1946, he was appointed Assistant University Librarian. His responsibilities included personnel work and administration of the departmental libraries. He was appointed Acting University Librarian after McDiarmid’s resignation from the Library and, in 1952, was appointed University Librarian. During his tenure, professional librarians were given faculty status (1963).
Although construction of Wilson Library in 1968 is a highlight of Stanford’s career, his tireless work in establishing special collections may be the longest lasting legacy to scholarship. The Wangensteen History of Medicine Library opened in 1964. The Manuscript Collection, Social Welfare History Archives, and Immigration History Archives were established in the 1960s. The James Ford Bell Collection was founded under his direction in 1952. In 1963, the Library was designated as a regional documents depository for all U.S. Government publications. MINITEX was established (1972) to facilitate interlibrary loan within the state and, at the end of its first year, sixty-five regional libraries were connected via teletype.
In 1971, Stanford resigned to accept a appointment to the Library School faculty where he taught until 1977. During his retirement, Stanford has contributed his energy and leadership to a number of community services and as a volunteer in the Children’s Literature Research Collections.
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