Memorial: Stan Stevens

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Memorial for Stanley D. Stevens (1933 – 2022)

By Katherine Rankin

Stan Stevens was a charter member of WAML and was map librarian emeritus at the University of California Santa Cruz. He passed away on October 25, 2022. Stan was 88 years old.

Several members of WAML shared their memories of him. He was a kind man who was always generous with his knowledge of map librarianship and of Santa Cruz history. Stan encouraged new map librarians, made them feel welcome in WAML and the UC map librarian group, and shared his knowledge of maps and map librarianship with them.  Stan did not have a library degree, which caused him some problems in advancing in the UC system, but he was able to overcome them. That is why he insisted that WAML be named the Western Association of Map Libraries and not the Western Association of Map Librarians as he felt the group should be open to all library workers regardless of education, rank, or status. Stan was chairman of the committee that wrote WAML’s by-laws and constitution. He was the first president of WAML and the first editor of its journal, the Information Bulletin. He was also WAML’s treasurer for twenty years. Stan generously donated to the WAML scholarship committee and sent words of encouragement and support to the committee. He helped find charter members who should be included in the WAML oral history project, wrote his own story for the project, attended the 50th-anniversary meeting of WAML, and gave his observations on the history of WAML, which are available at WAML IB 49.2: 50 Years Young – WAML 1967-2017: Some Personal Observations.

According to Julie Sweetkind Singer, “Stan was indeed one of a kind. He created one of the most impressive map collections that I have seen in terms of meeting the needs of the university, the research needs of the faculty and students, and the surrounding community. He focused the collection on the city of Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz county and parts of Santa Clara County.”

Stan was also a scholar and spent much time researching the history of the Santa Cruz area, particularly the Spanish land grants there. When Stan was the map librarian at Santa Cruz., he acquired many records from the F. A. Hihn Company for the library collection. Stan eventually became an authority on the life and business dealings of Hihn, a 19th-century Santa Cruz capitalist who greatly influenced the county’s early history. Stan wrote”Every Structure Tells A Story,” “Names on the Map,” “Pioneers of Santa Cruz County,” and numerous articles. He inspired Donald Clark to write his “Santa Cruz County Place Names” book and helped get it published. Stan started the “Researchers Anonymous” group at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, where Santa Cruz’s large community of researchers got together to share their research.

Stan was also one of the first members of the California Map Society and of MAGIRT. He also worked to achieve collective bargaining rights for UC librarians. 

Stan’s passing leaves a large hole in WAML, map librarianship, and research in Santa Cruz history, but we were lucky that he did so much for our organization and map librarians.

By Katherine Rankin

Here is a link to Stan’s obituary.

Stan Stevens