Robert B. Slocum

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Robert B. Slocum, age 90, of 92 West Main Street, passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 after a brief illness. Robert was born on April 6, 1922 in Brockton, MA, the fifth child and the third son of the late George Weeden Slocum and Florence Alice (Huestis) Slocum. He lived for seven years in Avon, MA and then moved to Brockton. During the Great Depression of 1929 his youth was a happy one filled with sports, school and whatever odd jobs one could find in the 1930s and early 1940s. One friendly rival on the football and baseball sandlots was the well liked Rocco Marchegiano, little did we know that he would become Rocky Marciano, undefeated world heavyweight champion boxer. Robert graduated from Brockton High School in 1940 as war clouds edged closer to the United States. He entered Boston University that same year on a scholarship, but in the spring of 1942 he was drafted into the Army, serving from 1942 to1945. Returning to the US from England on the eve of Germanys surrender, he resumed his studies at Boston University, attaining a B.A. in 1946 and then an M.A. in European history from Columbia University. He realized that a planned career as a teacher/ coach was doubtful because of his recurring hearing problems. Deciding to pursue librarianship, Robert worked at Harvard University while he studied library science at Simmons College, receiving his degree in 1948. Subsequently, he worked at the Library of Congress, and then became the assistant to the director of the library at Simmons. From 1952 -1954 Robert taught library science at the University of Illinois. It was there he met Christine Stanfield, a fellow librarian; they were married 57 years. In 1954 he was appointed Associate Catalog Librarian at Cornell University Libraries and continued in that position until retirement in 1988. At Cornell he trained a large number of librarians and cataloged works in European languages. During this period he authored Sample Catalog in Forms and was chief editor of two editions of the Manual of Cataloging Procedures of the Cornell University Libraries. Other major publications were: Biographical Dictionaries and Related Works, New England in Fiction, 1787-1990; New York State in Fiction (1751-1999) & New York City in Fiction (1751-1930); and Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware & Maryland in Fiction, 1792-2000. Despite his New England roots, Robert resided in Dryden, NY, from 1955 until his death. There he volunteered for the Economic Opportunity Corporation and the Dryden Kitchen Cupboard. As a member of The First Presbyterian Church of Dryden he served as an elder and deacon. For 11 years he joined the Rev. Jack Lewiss hospital and nursing home visitation group and later was a founding member of Cornell Retiree Volunteering in Service, serving at the Cayuga Heights School and Freeville School. As co-chairman for cultural activities on the Town of Dryden Bicentennial Commission, Robert secured funding for the production of the musical drama, Jennies Will, about Jennie McGraw and her connection with Cornell, prepared an art exhibit featuring local scenes by area artists and scheduled a concert by the Ithaca Concert Band. Robert was a 50-year member of the American Historical Association, the American Library Association and the American Association of University Professors. Because physical limitations precluded further volunteering outreach (except for the Dryden Kitchen Cupboard) Robert decided that a good portion of his income should go to over 100 local and national charities, educational institutions, etc. This continued throughout his productive years and in retirement. In 2012 a tribute to Roberts support (over 50 years) of Boston University was published in Bostonia, the university's alumni magazine. Classical music, collecting American and Victorian literature and 54 volumes of the Library of America were avocations. Over the years he was intrigued by silent films and early talking pictures, resulting in a large collection of books on film critics and history. Robert's wife Christine passed away in October 2010. Surviving are a son, Robert S. Slocum of Dryden; a daughter, Kathryn Slocum (Goodwin) of Dobbs Ferry, NY; son-in-law, Robert Goodwin and grandson Graham Goodwin; brother-in-law, Rev. David O. Stanfield and wife, Helen Lewis of Greensboro, NC; a sister Ann Nolan of Amherst, MA; sister-in-law, Mary Slocum of Holden, and many nieces and nephews as well as grandnieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Southworth Library, P.O. Box 45, Dryden, NY 13053-0045; The First Presbyterian Church of Dryden, P.O. Box 42, Dryden, NY 13053-0042 or the Town of Dryden Historical Society, P.O. Box 69, Dryden, NY 13053-0069. A memorial service will be held at The First Presbyterian Church of Dryden on Saturday, January 26th at 3 PM. His family will greet attendees at Church after the service. Perkins Funeral Home is assisting the family.

Published in The Enterprise on Jan. 20, 2013
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