Robert Gordon Vosper: A Force for Libraries


Robert Gordon Vosper served as director of KU Libraries from 1951 to 1960, shaping the collections with many of its most important acquisitions and establishing innovative ways to reach out to students. He was especially known for his defense of intellectual freedom, notably mounting an exhibition on banned books during the height of the McCarthy era, doing so with strong support from Chancellor Franklin D. Murphy.
 
Robert Vosper was named one of the top 100 most important people in 20th century librarianship by American Libraries, a publication of the American Library Association (ALA). The ALA lauded him “as a force for libraries and for the rights of librarians as partners in scholarly enterprise…. [H]is commitment to the library as an intellectual sanctuary was an inspiration to many.”

Robert Vosper (second from left) with others, looking at an "India Independence Day" exhibit

More...

University Archives, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Tour of the University of Pavia Library in Italy

Robert Vosper (left) with Romo Lanna (KU 1957/58), USIS library staff in Turin (center), and Dr. Silvano Gevevini (right), Director of the University of Pavia Library, touring the library during the Milan Conference on University Libraries, May 7/8, 1960.

More...

University Archives, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Robert Vosper browsing the stacks

Robert Vosper is browsing through the stacks of Watson Library, one of the libraries which grew tremendously under his nine years of stewardship. Perhaps he is viewing a book from the Ralph Ellis Collection?

More...

University Archives, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Robert Vosper (left) unpacking the O'Haggerty Collection with Professor Harold Orel

More...

University Archives, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Robert Vosper walking to work

Robert Vosper walked 1 1/2 miles to work four times daily.

More...

University Archives, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Robert Vosper with Tom Buckman (acquisitions librarian, KU Libraries Director, 1961-1968), examining the East collection

More...

University Archives, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Robert Vosper with Mrs. Edwin F. Abels, donor of a 1st American edition Britannica (1798)

More...

University Archives, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Robert Gordon Vosper

Close-up of Robert Gordon Vosper at UCLA before coming to KU. He was called the "grand acquisitor" by Chancellor Frank Murphy.

More...

University Archives, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

University Archives, established in 1969, is the repository for the records documenting the history of the University of Kansas. While some early records were lost, numerous documents were identified and kept by various offices and eventually brought to the Archives for proper preservation and storage.