Fussler (1914-1997) was a pioneering librarian whose contributions to information science were wide-ranging and impactful. He was the Head of the Manhattan Project’s library division, laying the foundation for the Atomic Energy Commission’s later information activities. He was an associate editor of American Documentation, and wrote Photographic Reproduction for Libraries: a Study in Administrative Problems (1941). Fussler conducted early bibliometrics studies of the journal literature of chemistry and physics. He was interested in measuring the role of librarians in scientific communication, and published important articles on this subject in Library Quarterly. He was the Director of the University of Chicago Library from 1948-1971.
The following obituary appeared in the ASIS&T Bulletin, adapted from an obituary provided by the University of Chicago, at the time of his death in 1997:
Dr. Herman H. Fussler, a pioneering librarian who helped make the University of Chicago Libraries a leading international resource for scholars, died March 2 in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was 82.
Fussler, who retired from the University in 1983, was the director of the University of Chicago Libraries for 23 years. The University’s Joseph Regenstein Library, built under his direction, became a model research library for the humanities and social sciences. He was a leader in applying computers to library applications, developing in the 1960s a plan to convert the library’s bibliographic data into computerized form.
On the completion of the Regenstein Library in 1971, he joined the faculty of the Graduate Library School on a full-time basis. He was named the Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor in 1974.
[…] Fussler began his library career in 1936 when he arrived at the University of Chicago to establish and direct its pioneering Department of Photographic Reproduction. While there, he developed processes that helped establish the use of microfilm in research libraries. Concurrently, he became Science Librarian in 1943. In 1947, he was promoted to assistant director and then associate director of the library. He was named director in 1948.
National Library of Medicine: presidential appointment to Board of Regents (1963)
National Advisory Committee on Libraries: presidential appointment (1966)
Library of Congress, Advisory Committee on Automation: member
American Academy of Arts and Sciences: Fellow
American Association for the Advancement of Science: Fellow
American Library Association: Melvil Dewey Medal (1954)
Ralph R. Shaw Award: library literature (1976)
Association of College and Research Librarians: Distinguished Career Citation (1989)
Herman Fussler Papers:
University of Chicago Library, Special Collections, Chicago, IL (94.25 linear feet (83 boxes), professional papers including correspondence with ADI/ASIS&T and papers related to his work on microfilm; inventory available online at University of Chicago Library’s website)