Thanks for Everything, Roy

Roy RosenzweigMy dear friend, close collaborator, and brilliant and generous colleague Roy Rosenzweig passed away yesterday after a valiant battle with cancer. He was 57. I will write much more about Roy’s greatness as soon as I’m able. For now, profound sadness. A tremendous loss of a wonderful human being.

14 replies on “Thanks for Everything, Roy”

Miami of Ohio sends deepest sympathies. After serving as a program reviewer for Miami of Ohio’s History Department, Roy came to speak to our fledgling Digital Humanities Progam. We learned so much from him. I won’t be able to look at CHNM without thinking about him.

We at The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia send our deep condolences to Dan Cohen and his colleagues at CHNM for the loss of Roy Rosenzweig.

Roy was an innovative pioneer in applying digital technology to scholarship. We will miss seeing him, learning from him, and being constantly delighted by the endless stream of ideas, projects, and tools that flowed so effortlessly from him.

He fought nobly against the dread disease that struck him with no warning just a short time ago. The graceful way he lived his life and faced his illness will be an inspiration for a long time to come.

The Digital Library Federation sends its condolences to CHNM and everyone touched by Roy. This is a great loss of a wonderful person, someone able to move forward into a future by pulling along the past and making it as alive as the present.

Roy had so many talents. He was a brilliant organizer, researcher, writer, teacher, and the best sort of public intellectual — one who brought the public into the historical conversation and persuaded historians to think about how their work was understood by ordinary people.

But I will always think of Roy as the most generous, selfless, and compassionate intellectual I have ever known. In a profession full of large and fragile egos, he always worked for the common good.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Roy in person, but respected him as a colleague and greatly valued his advice. Roy was generous, smart, and a good-humored correspondant, and his approach to the profession will live in all of us who’ve known him as a role model.

My thoughts go out to you, Dan, and to his family.

Roy was and will remain one of my heroes and mentors. While his work will live on in those of us who he has so deeply influenced, the world is a less wonderful and interesting place with his passing. My thoughts are with is family and friends in this time of mourning.


To us at GMU and far beyond the Washington, DC, area, it is unthinkable that Roy has passed away.

I just heard from colleagues in South Africa, devising a new protocol for conducting oral history in a post-apartheid society. They were shocked and saddened to hear the news, and began immediately to discuss how Roy’s ideas profoundly shaped their understanding of South Africa’s modern past.

Roy, your spirit, generosity and impresario mind reach very far!

As one South African scholar reminded me, ‘when you mourn Roy, you must say aloud, hamba kahle, comrade, hamba kahle, go well, comrade, go well.’

Hamba Kahle, Roy, Hamba Kahle.

I worked with Roy for a year at the CHNM and was always blown away by his ability to think and communicate lucidly, brilliantly and succintly about all sorts of incredibly complicated questions of historiography, technology, social organization and human relationships — simultaneously.

In every meeting and encounter, he never failed to be the smartest, the most courteous and warm, and the most humble person in the conversation. After I left, he always, always responded to queries and questions with the same immediacy, intelligence and warmth.

Many others knew him better and worked with him more closely, but I am among the many who owe a great deal to him and who mourn his passing as a professional, personal and human loss. My condolences and thoughts to his family, colleagues and friends.

MARHO (which Roy helped found) meant the world to me when I was a graduate student in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It is impossible to recall the meetings of the Collective without feeling all over again the warmth of Roy’s brilliance, commitment, and generosity. I remember him as if it were yesterday.
To all of those who were lucky enough to be his close friends, and who now must be heart broken, Willy and I send our condolences. He was a wonderful, wonderful man.

Judy Coffin and Willy Forbath
University of Texas, Austin

I remember Roy from high school in New York, his balance, quiet wit, kindness — and, of course, his lucidity. Have followed his work over the years. So sad, and unbelievable, that he is gone. Condolences to you, his family, many colleagues and friends.

Leave a Reply