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James J. Kopp

James J. Kopp James J. Kopp, director of the Aubrey R. Watzek Library, passed away August 5, 2010 after a struggle with cancer. Jim served as director of the library from 1999-2010.

Born and raised in Pendleton, Oregon, Jim was a graduate of the University of Oregon and went on to earn a master's in history from the University of Portland, a master's in library science from The Catholic University of America, and a doctorate in American Studies from George Washington University. Prior to arriving at Lewis & Clark he was the director of the PORTALS library consortium and the University of Portland Library, and held additional leadership positions in academic and special libraries during his career.

Jim was a mentor and friend to his staff at Watzek Library. During his years at Lewis & Clark, he broadly re-oriented Watzek Library to address the twenty-first century information needs of the College, developing the library's capacities in collection management, reference and instruction, access services, digital services, visual resources, and special collections. Notably, he oversaw the expansion of Special Collections through the acquisition of several important literary and historical collections, the construction of a state-of-the-art facility, and partnerships with scholars, curators, and cultural organizations in a wide range of areas. The Library was commended in the College's 2008 accreditation review for its work in visual resources and digital services and its unique online collections.

Jim's generosity to Lewis & Clark College led to the establishment of the Johannah Sherrer Memorial Lecture in Library Service, The Jean Ward Gender Studies Collection, and many other donations to the Library's general and Special Collections. He introduced new college students to the liberal arts tradition by teaching in the Core program for many years, and was a speaker in the Gender Studies and Environmental Studies symposia. An avid book collector, Jim donated his extensive Thomas More collection to The University of Oregon.

A scholar of utopian and communal studies, Jim published a book on Oregon's utopian heritage, Eden Within Eden (OSU Press, 2009). His other publications include the Catalogue of the James J. Kopp Collection of works by and about Edward Bellamy & American Utopian Literature (Berberis Press, 2009) and numerous scholarly articles. Jim served on the board of directors of the Aurora Colony Historical Society and on the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission. He was active in the Oregon Council for the Humanities' Chautauqua program and lectured at libraries and organizations throughout the state.

Jim was known and loved for his wit, his wisdom, and his kindness. He is remembered wtih fondness by colleagues and friends, but most especially by his family-his wife Sue, sons Joe and Peter, Peter's wife Sarah, and daughter Lucy and her husband, Ryan Berkley.

Read more about Jim from the August 19, 2010 Oregonian.

This page maintained by Elaine Hirsch elaineghirsch@lclark.edu. Updated 22 April, 2013.