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Saying farewell to Terry Cook

The history community has lost a good friend and ambassador this week with the passing of Dr. Terry Cook.

Terry was a leading figure in the field of archival studies, having worked at the National Archives of Canada (now Library and Archives Canada) for more than 20 years and as a professor at the University of Manitoba Archival Studies program since 2000. An internationally-recognized scholar, Terry made vast contributions to the theory, research, and understanding of the role of archives in Canada. Read Terry Cook’s obituary published May 16, 2014 in the Globe and Mail.

Terry CookOf all the tributes and memories of Terry that are being shared this week, his closing plenary talk from the 2010 Association of Canadian Archivists' conference stands out the most. His speech, entitled “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: The Next Generation of Canadian Archivists. Reflections and Prospects," is now required reading for any introductory archives course, and a touching reminder of Terry’s “giant” contributions to the field. Here is an excerpt:

"If you are standing on shoulders of giants, all you young archivists, then you should be poised to leap from those shoulders and fly off in exciting new directions. Don't climb off those giants' shoulders, slide down their stumpy legs, and tramp along behind in their footsteps. Rather, take the archival ideal, the best from the past, and go and re-invent how society can best archive itself, in an entirely new context of record making and record keeping in a wired, socially networked, and inter-active world.

Well, there, that's about all I really wanted to say, to pass that torch to you bright young archivists, who now so happily dominate our association's demographics the past couple of years, and here today, to pass that torch to you to take our profession to a better future as my generation fades into the past."

Everyone at Canada’s History offers their deepest condolences to Terry’s wife, Sharon Anne Cook, and children, Graham and Tim Cook.

Photo source: Literary Tourist. To listen to an interview with Terry Cook, visit

Posted: 16/05/2014 10:59:08 AM by JOANNA DAWSON | with 0 comments
Filed under: historians, Library and Archives Canada, Mark Reid, obituaries, Terry Cook

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