Frederick H. Wagman

Frederick H. Wagman, former director of the University Library and professor emeritus of library science, died March 19 following a brief illness. He was 81.

Wagman joined the U-M in 1953 as director of the University Library and professor of library science.

“Fred was one of the great librarians of the University as well as a major contributor to the national profession,” said Robert M. Warner, dean emeritus of the School of Information and Library Studies and professor of library science. “Besides being a fine and energetic administrator, he was a kind person and a pleasure to work with. It’s unusual to find that combination of qualities in people at high-level positions.”

Wagman also was a leader in innovation, Warner added. The University’s Undergraduate Library, built in 1958, “was largely a product of Fred’s imagination. At that time, there were only one or two such libraries in the country,” Warner said. “His idea to create a duplicate of the main library, aimed at undergraduates, was a pioneering venture.”

Wagman’s library career began in 1945 when he went to the Library of Congress as acting director of personnel and administrative services. He subsequently served as assistant director of the reference department, director of the processing department, deputy chief assistant librarian, and director of administration.

Wagman served as president of the American Library Association and the Michigan Library Association, and was named Michigan’s “Librarian of the Year” in 1970. President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Wagman to serve as vice chair of the Federal Commission on Obscenity and Pornography.

A native of Springfield, Mass., Wagman held degrees from Amherst College and Columbia University.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth; a daughter, Elizabeth Gaidos of Petaluma, Calif.; and a son, William of Grand Rapids.

A memorial service is planned for a later date.


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