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No, I'm not referring to Henry Hudson and his quadricentennial of "discovering" Manhattan and the river that's named after him. I'm speaking of Alice Hudson, Chief of the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, who retires this week after a long and glorious career at NYPL. She's someone who impacted many lives, leaving behind a shining legacy that will continue to glow for years.
I'll particularly miss Alice's wry humor. I still chuckle when I recall her telling me that she first wanted to title her upcoming exhibition (Mapping New York's Shoreline 1609-2009) "Hudson on Hudson." You could always count on her to tell it like it is. Her professional dedication was always so obvious and so inspiring. A former student told me once that,when talking about a favorite topic related to maps or map librarianship, she'd light up with a very physical incandescence. She's taught a generation of new and aspiring map librarians, counceled collectors, helped grateful general readers, and always looked after the Mercator Society. In addition to her many contributions to NYPL, I seem to recollect that she won a very prestigious librarian award some years ago...
Alice's teaching is only one facet of her many abilities. Her leadership proved invaluable in important endeavors, as when she welcomed the world of K-12 teachers and students to the Map Division, and incorporated their interests into her show and tells and exhibition work, demonstrating how there could be a place for these constituents in a research library. There are many reasons why the NYPL Map Division is one of the top ten in the world, and Alice has everything to do with them. Another facet of her professionalism is her fierce devotion to public service. Having reached a point where she could forgivably build an ivory tower to lock herself in with major projects, she never lost the understanding that helping people directly is most important of all.
Well, I'd better wind down now or Alice will get a swelled head. And the halo will fall off! C'mpn folks, let's get serious and use this post as the social networking tool it is. I think Alice is fabulous, her legacy is intact, and she'll be missed like crazy. Other comments?