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Richard Wright Stephenson(1930-2013)

Richard Walter Stephenson, 82, of Winchester, VA, died Wednesday, September 25, 2013, at Blue Ridge Hospice in Winchester, VA.

Mr. Stephenson was born in 1930, in Washington DC, the son of Charles H. Stephenson, Jr. and Marie Stephenson.

Richard W. Stephenson retired in 1992 from the Library of Congress. For 17 years he was head of the Libraryás Geography and Map Reading Room and from 1987 until his retirement he was the Libraryás Specialist in American Cartographic History. In his final year at the Library of Congress, he was the co-curator of the exhibition City of Magnificent Distances: The Nation's Capital commemorating the 200th anniversary of L'Enfant's plan of Washington, D.C.

Mr. Stephenson received his B. A. in Geography from The George Washington University and M. S. in Library Science from The Catholic University of America. At the latter university from 1975 to 1994, he taught graduate courses in "Map Librarianship" and the "History of Maps and Map Collecting." From 1980 to 1998, he also was associated with the Department of Geography and Earth Systems Science, George Mason University, where he taught a graduate course entitled the "History of Cartography." He has also taught an eight week course for seniors entitled "A Look at the World through Maps of All Ages" in Shenandoah University's Center for Lifelong Learning.

Mr. Stephenson is the author of numerous professional articles and compiler of several Library of Congress bibliographies including Civil War maps: An Annotated List of Maps and Atlases in the Library of Congress (Washington, 1989). In 1993, he authored "A Plan Whol[l]y New": Pierre Charles L'Enfant's Plan of the City of Washington. He was co-editor and co-author of Virginia in Maps: Four Centuries of Settlement, Growth, and Development published by the Library of Virginia in 2000. His most recent articles include "General Lee's Forgotten Mapmaker: Major Albert H. Campbell and the Department of Northern Virginia's Topographical Department" published in the Washington Map Society's The Portolan (Fall 2004) and North & South (March 2005); "A City in Transition: Mapping the Nation's Capital from Civil War to the Creation of a Comprehensive Plan, 1861-1902," The Portolan (Fall 2008), and "Jed Hotchkiss: Shenandoah Valley Mapmaker," Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society Journal (2008-2009).

Since his retirement, Mr. Stephenson has resided in Winchester, Virginia. He served on the Handley Regional Library's 100th Anniversary Planning Committee. Previously he served on the Library's Board from January 1995 to November 2005 and its chairman for six years. Mr. Stephenson was co-curator of the exhibition "Jed Hotchkiss: Shenandoah Valley Mapmaker" held at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester from September 2008 to May 2009. In August 2009, the exhibition traveled to the Library of Congress where it was displayed for one year.

He has served on the board of the French and Indian War Foundation; the steering committee of the Fry and Jefferson Map Society; and is an academic advisor to the Philip Lee Phillips Society, Library of Congress. He is a member of the Washington Map Society (president 1982-83), the Texas Map Society, and the Society for the History of Discoveries (councilor, 2000-2002 and 2009-2012).

Mr. Stephenson has received numerous awards, such as the Library of Congress Superior Service award (1992), the Special achievement Award (1990), and the Meritorious Service Award (1969); the Geography and Map Division, Special Library Association's Honors Award (1977); and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping's award for Outstanding Service to Surveying and Mapping (1988).

Mr. Stephenson is predeceased by his wife of 49 years, Sally Stephenson.

He is survived by his daughters, Cheryl Rodgers of Fairfax County and Deborah Stephenson of Loudon County; three grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 2:00 PM Saturday, at Christ Episcopal Church, 114 West Boscawen St., Winchester, VA. with the Reverend Webster Gibson officiating.

Memorial contributions may be made to Blue Ridge Hospice, 333 W. Cork St. Winchester, VA, 22601 or Christ Episcopal Church, 114 W. Boscawen Street, Winchester, VA 22601.

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Published in Northern Virginia Daily on Sept. 27, 2013
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