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

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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…

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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.…

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

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

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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.

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