Amos Robert Rogers
A. Robert Rogers was born 9 September 1927 in Berry Mills, NB, a small community near Moncton. He died young, aged only 57 years, on 22 June 1985 in Ravenna, Ohio. He had become a naturalised US citizen on 18 Nov 1965, having spent nearly ten years in the United States as a student and library administrator.
His parents were Amos Rollen Rogers (farmer) and Ethel Lena Lutes. He married Rhoda Mae Page on 18 December 1960 and had one child, Mark Alan, born 28 March 1963. His principle residences were in Fredericton; Detroit, Michigan; Bowling Green, Ohio; and Kent, Ohio.
Rogers graduated from Moncton High School in 1944 and then entered the University of New Brunswick as a Beaverbrook Scholar in September of that year. He earned his BA in 1948, majoring in Philosophy and History. The following year he went to the University of Toronto where he continued his study of Philosophy, graduating with an MA in 1950. With the support of UNB professors, Rogers was recommended for a Beaverbrook Overseas Scholarship in 1950, which he took up at the University of London [UK], earning an Academic Post-Graduate Diploma in Librarianship in 1953. The outcome of his studies in London was a bibliography entitled “Books and Pamphlets by New Brunswick Writers, 1890-1950.” He later continued his professional education at the University of Michigan and was awarded a PhD in Library Science in 1964; his two-volume doctoral thesis was entitled “American Recognition of Canadian Authors Writing in English, 1890-1960.”
Rogers was the editor of The Fiddlehead in 1947-48 and again in 1951-53, and he became the magazine’s business manager beginning in 1953. He published poetry in a variety of literary magazines, including The Fiddlehead, Saturday Night, Contact, Canadian Forum, Canadian Poetry Magazine, and The Albatross.
His most significant literary publication was a collection of sixteen poems called The White Monument. The collection was not reviewed widely. A review by Millar MacLure in The Fiddlehead was somewhat unfavourable, finding only one poem memorable. A later article by Eric Linderman characterised the collection as an “expression of [Rogers’] pacifism” (501). Several of the poems speak to Rogers’ strong religious beliefs; throughout his life he was very active in church organisations and in the Student Christian Movement.
Rogers began his professional career as an assistant librarian at the University of New Brunswick, where he worked from 1951-55. He became ‘Executive Librarian’ in 1955-56, leaving to pursue his career at the Detroit Public Library. After completing two years in Detroit, he moved in 1959 to a job at Bowling Green State University Library in Ohio, later becoming assistant to the Library Director, then Acting Director (1961-64), and finally Director (1964-1969). In 1969, he became a Professor of Library Science at Kent State University (KSU) in Kent, Ohio. He went on to become Dean of the School of Library Science at KSU in 1978, a position he held until his death in 1985. He was dean at the time that the KSU Library School acquired a national reputation as a leader in the integration of high technology into library operations.
He was an author/contributor to articles, reviews, and surveys in many professional journals, and he was an active member of many organisations and committees in the library field. In an obituary article a colleague described him as “a nationally and internationally recognised educator, noted scholar, and true promoter of ethnic studies in American higher education” (Wynar 146).
His major awards include the following: Beaverbrook Scholar, University of New Brunswick (1944); Bliss Carman Memorial Poetry Prize, University of New Brunswick (1946); 1st class honours in Philosophy& History and Governor-General’s Gold Medal for greatest proficiency and highest aggregate of marks in any 5 subjects in 4th year arts, University of New Brunswick (1948); R.W. Leonard Fellowship, University of New Brunswick (1948); Beaverbrook Overseas Scholarship, University of New Brunswick (1950); and Librarian of the Year Award, Ohio Library Association (1976).
He was one of New Brunswick’s great librarians.
Patricia L. Belier
University of New Brunswick
bibliography of primary sources
Rogers, Robert. “American Recognition of Canadian Authors Writing in English, 1890-1960.” Diss. U of Michigan, 1964.
---. “Books and Pamphlets by New Brunswick Writers, 1890-1950.” Thesis. U of London, 1953.
---. “Canadian Literature in American Libraries.” Library Quarterly 43.1 (Jan 1973): 1-26.
---. The humanities; a selective guide to information sources. Littleton, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1974.
---. “In Joyful Service: An Appreciation of the Career of Marjorie Thompson.” APLA Bulletin 24.3 (Spring 1960): 56-8, 75.
---. “Recent Poets of Fredericton.” Maritime Advocate and Busy East 44.7 (March 1954): 11-19.
---. The White Monument. [poetry chapbook] Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1955. 13p.
Rogers, Robert A., and Kathryn McChesney. The Library in Society. Littleton, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1984.
University of New Brunswick. Archives & Special Collections. Biographical files; Fiddlehead Papers; A.G. Bailey Papers.
Archives and Special Collections (UNB) also holds upwards of a dozen talks/lectures by Robert Rogers to such campus and city groups as the SCM (Student Christian Movement), YWCA, UNB Philosophy Club, and Kiwanis Club. He also broadcast some talks on CFNB and CBC radio (for “Anthology”). The CBC “Anthology” essay was on the “Tenth Birthday of The Fiddlehead [literary magazine].”
Bibliography of secondary sources
Linderman, Eric G. “A. Robert Rogers: The Influence of his Canadianism on His Work as a Library Educator.” Libraries & Culture 35.4 (Fall 2000): 499-513.
MacLure, Millar. Rev. of The White Monument. The Fiddlehead 26 (November 1955): 26-27.
“Rogers, A(mos) Robert, 1927 - .” Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series. Vol. 8. Anne Evory and Linda Metzer, Ed. Detroit: Gale Research Corp., 1983. 422-23.
“Robert Amos Rogers.” Maritime Library Association Bulletin 21.2 (Winter 1957): 22.
Wynar, L.R. “In Memoriam. A. Robert Rogers, September 9, 1927 – June 22, 1985.” Ethnic Forum 5 (Fall 1985): 146.