I grew up in Merrillville, Indiana in a humble house, but which backed onto a natural area. It was an ornithological paradise. We had scarlet tanagers, Baltimore orioles, great blue herons, red-headed woodpeckers, etc. It was fabulous!
2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career?
My transition from the study of History of Religions (Comparative Religion) is due to sheer necessity. In my early 30’s I needed to find work, so I became an ERISA and Tax paralegal at the major Chicago law firm of Kirkland and Ellis. I worked and went to night law school. I very much enjoyed my international law course with Cherif Bassiouni. To say the least, I had a very indulgent wife, who allowed me to stay in graduate school for 16 years. I was truly a professional student. I saw law librarianship as a way of staying in academia.
3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law?
I started library school at age 38. Before I went, I attended my first AALL Annual Meeting and went to a program given by Blanka Kudej (NYU) and Simone Marie Kleckner ( United Nations) on the basics of international legal research. I knew from then on I wanted to be a foreign and international law librarian.
4. Who is your current employer? How long have you worked there?
After working as a documents librarian and research assistant for Igor Kavass at Vanderbilt (1 year) and a foreign and international law librarian at the University of Houston (4 years), I came to Yale as a foreign and international Law librarian in 1987. In 1991 I was promoted to Associate Librarian for Foreign and International Law and held that position until 2010, when I became Curator of the Foreign and International Law Collection (focusing on collection development), In 2012, I semi-retired because of health reasons, and work only 23 hours a week.
5. Do you speak any foreign languages?
I speak a very little French and German and even less Spanish. But I have studied 15 languages in a formal classroom setting (classical Latin, French, German, Turkish, Arabic, modern Hebrew, Hellenistic Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Medieval Latin, Middle Egyptian, Aramaic, Sanskrit, Homeric Greek, Spanish, and Italian.) I have forgotten almost all of it!!! I use French, German, Spanish, Italian, and a wee bit of Portuguese in my work.
6. What is your most significant professional achievement?
I believe my most significant professional achievement has been in the training of the next generation of foreign and international law librarians, because they can help others. I encourage members to read about the history of foreign and international law librarianship in my short article, “The Education, Training and Experience of Foreign and International Law Librarians Now Working in United States Law Libraries” in Training the Future Generation of International and Foreign Law Librarians, edited by Judith Wright, AALL National Legal Resources Committee, 1992. I consider my Last Will and Testament to be “The Wisdom from Mount Nebo (Hiei): Advice to a Young Person Aspiring to Become a Foreign and International Law Librarian,” 23 (2/3) Legal Reference Services Quarterly, 51 (2006). I am still working! Finally, my greatest achievement was getting a picture in a law book! I clearly wanted more pictures in my law school texts! I was able to get permission to reprint Henri Rousseau’s “Dreams” in my article “Building a Medium-to-Large Foreign Law Collection” in the publication from our first Institute, Introduction to Foreign Legal Systems, (edited by Richard Danner and Marie-Louise Bernal), New York: Oceana, 1994.
7. What is your biggest food weakness?
Anything sweet! As a dialysis patient many foods are proscribed. When I go to heaven, I hope to have a root beer float!
8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance?
The old Shaker hymn “The Lord of the Dance.” I have been married to Carol for 48 years; our song was Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe!” We are children of the 60”s. We were in many anti-war protests and loved the folk music of the period, e.g., Peter, Paul and Mary.
9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)?
Russian and an understanding of international economics.
10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you could not go a day without?
A kiss from my wife and a whiff of fresh air! (I work in a small carrel in the lower level of the library. I am two city blocks from an outside entrance.)
11. Anything else you would like to share with us?
What else I think you need to know: I went to DePaul Law School and University of Illinois Library School. I have two daughters – Alyson, who teaches elementary school, and Malory, who is a pre-school teacher – and one grandson, Luke. Also, two cats, Chester and Luna.