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Raymond D. Lum

Raymond D. Lum Obituary
Raymond Lum, librarian, teacher, author, critic and scholar died on November 14 at Dana Farber-Brigham and Womens Hospital of complications during treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukemia. A native of Chicago he was a thirty-four year resident of Arlington. He retired from Harvard University in 2014 after 41 years as Asian Bibliographer at Widener Library and Librarian for Western Languages at Harvard-Yenching Library as well as Instructor in Chinese at the Harvard University Extension School. During his tenure he received the Carmen S. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Foreign Language Teaching from the Harvard Extension School and the Carol Ishimoto Award for Distinguished Service, Harvard College Library. Ray received a B.A. in Chinese from Washington University, St. Louis in 1968. From 1968-1970 was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sarawak, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo. He worked with the Department of Education to improve instruction in rural jungle schools by incorporating a variety of teaching strategies to increase student interest and understanding. In the Peace Corps he learned Malay and developed his interest in South East Asia that later led to the addition of these areas in his collection duties as Bibliographer at Weidner. Following Peace Corps, Ray attended Taiwan Normal for 10 months and then enrolled at Harvard where he obtained a M.A. degree in East Asian Languages & Civilizations. He then moved on to the corresponding Ph.D. Program and worked as a graduate student assistant at the Harvard-Yenching where he was encouraged to take leave and apply to the University of Michigan for a Masters of Library Sciences degree that he received in 1975. Upon his return to Harvard he was appointed as Librarian for the Western Languages collection at Yenching and East Asian Specialist at Widener Library. This position was later renamed to Asian Bibliographer with collection responsibility for East, South and Southeast Asia at Widener Library. In 1985 he received his PhD in Chinese History from Havard with a dissertation titled Philanthropy and Public Welfare in Late Imperial China. In his role at the Harvard libraries Ray worked to increase access to all types of resources and implement them in teaching regardless of format. These projects included initiatives to digitize, catalog and create finding aides for some of the 70,000 photos and ephemera in the collection, allowing anyone in the world to view them. He curated photography exhibits, wrote articles on using photos as historical documentation and encouraged the library to embrace technology to promote the collections of the Harvard-Yenching Library. Ray also had a personal passion to document and research the history of Chinese Americans. He was consistently seeking and researching all aspects of the Chinese experience and was in the process of writing a history of Chicagos Chinatown where he grew up. In addition, he wrote book reviews for TransAsia Photography Review and China Insight and most recently contributed to The Chinese Photobook, Aperture Press, 2015. Ray was an active Arlingtonian and had served on the Arlington Historical Commission, and was currently the President of the Board of Directors of the Old Schwamb Mill. He was extremely proud to be a part of such an active and wonderful resource to the town. Ray was witty, loved art and music, especially jazz, gardening, summers on the Cape and international travel. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Susan, his son Christian and three grandchildren, his brother Frank, half brother Glenn McGeath, a large extended family of nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters in law and a community of friends and colleagues around the world. We will all gather to celebrate his life at a Memorial Service on March 12, 2016 at Arlington Town Hall. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to The Old Schwamb Mill, 17 Mill Lane, Arlington, Ma 02476 or the Maryknoll Sisters, P.O. Box 311, Maryknoll, NY 10545- 0311.
Published in The Arlington Advocate from Nov. 25 to Dec. 3, 2015
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