Last spring our chair received an inquiry from Pat Landow, a retired physician living in Connecticut. Pat was seeking information about the library that had been established in the Department of Anthropology in the 1950s in memory of her elder brother, Roy Webb, an enthusiastic UW anthropology student who died at a tragically young age.
When first established, the Roy Webb Library housed many books and journals on the fourth floor of Denny Hall. The advent of computers and online library tools and resources, however, was bringing significant changes in how students go about the work of studying and researching. In keeping with these changing needs of the students, about ten years ago the materials housed in the Roy Webb Library were integrated with the larger UW Libraries system, and the space on the fourth floor was renovated and equipped with computers available for student use.
In the course of that renovation, one very important detail had been overlooked: the plaque memorializing Roy Webb had not been replaced. In May 2013, Pat Landow and her son Chris travelled to Seattle and joined some sixty faculty members, graduate students, alumni and friends of the department as we unveiled a new plaque honoring the new Roy Webb Memorial Research Commons. The plaque now hangs in the fourth floor space, together with a small display of information about him,and a photo of Roy as a handsome, energetic young man.
Much has changed in the sixty-odd years since Roy, as a young man, shared with his family his excitement about the anthropology courses he was taking with Professor Daniel “Suds” Davidson at the UW. One thing that remains constant, however, is the passion that anthropology can ignite in a young person, as they discover the seriousness and the delight of studying human life in all its richness and variety, past and present. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the family of Roy Webb, and to all of our friends and supporters, for their commitment to helping new generations of students pursue their passion—in the process, enriching their own education and expanding our world.
- The new Roy Webb Memorial Research Commons with former chair Miriam Kahn (l) and current chair Janelle Taylor (r) standing next to the new plaque
- Miriam Kahn (l) and Janelle Taylor (r) next to photos of Roy Webb
- Roy Webb in the 1950s
- Roy Webb (foreground) engaged in archaeological excavation in the 1950s