A Drive from Union Station

Contributed By Ellen Noonan


Like so many, I have tales to tell about Roy's generosity and intellect and unflagging, mind-boggling work ethic. I first met Roy at the beginning of my second year in graduate school; during my first year, two other students (Elena Razlogova and John Spencer) and I had developed rudimentary history cd-roms. Elena had gone on to study with Roy at GMU (and become CHNM's first employee), and as a result, John and I had been invited down to present our cd-roms at a brown bag lunch event at GMU's history department. Elena met us at the train station, and as we exited into the Washington sunlight, she led us toward a car driven by a slightly rumpled, distracted looking guy in a red button down shirt and black jeans. As the car pulled away from the curb, John and I realized that this was Roy Rosenzweig. *The* Roy Rosenzweig, respected scholar, one of the only people doing the kind of digital history to which we aspired. And he was picking up two unknown graduate students at the train station. It was an entirely appropriate way to begin; he exhibited particular generosity to those low on the academic food chain. I came to know Roy in more venues after that first day; through the <i>Radical History Review<i>, where I served as Managing Editor for two years, and through the American Social History Project, where I had the enormous privilege of working with him on a myriad of projects. While in no way officially connected with my doctoral education, Roy became a true mentor, introducing me to people I should know, and the first person I turned to for career advice.

There is so much that I will remember about Roy: his keen editorial eye (the quickest way to improve every grant proposal I ever wrote for ASHP was to run a draft past Roy); his ability to move projects forward; his deep reservoir of odd historical facts, handy for historical timelines and puzzles; the certainty that an email message to him would be returned within a matter of hours; his endearingly awkward half hugs of greeting. I'm still only barely able to acknowledge that he isn't going to be around any more, that there won't be some new project or meeting or meal at a conference or email message passing along information about a project or person I should know about. I hope that Roy had some idea of how very many people admired and loved and valued him. I guess what we do now is carry on in his spirit, the only alternative we have to carrying on in his presence.