Rosenzweig, Roy 1950-2007 (Roy A. Rosenzweig, Roy Alan Rosenzweig)

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Rosenzweig, Roy 1950-2007 (Roy A. Rosenzweig, Roy Alan Rosenzweig)


See index for CA sketch: Born August 6, 1950, in New York, NY; died of lung cancer, October 11, 2007, in Arlington, VA. Historian, educator, administrator, film producer, Web site developer, editor, and author. Rosenzweig dedicated himself to the preservation and presentation of the history of ordinary men and women—the people whose names are not recorded in history books and whose lives are rarely the subject of feature films. He pursued his goal by every means available, but was especially drawn to the products of the digital age for their capacity to store huge amounts of data and reach the greatest number of people. He was also concerned about the great fragility of individual scraps of electronic data that disappear without a steward to gather and preserve them, and he is now remembered as that steward of digital history. Rosenzweig began his scholarly career in 1978, as a professor of history. At the same time he began producing historical documentary films. In 1981 Rosenzweig became a professor of social and cultural history at George Mason University, where he taught for more than twenty-five years. He began to collect oral histories and other documents, and in 1994 he created the Center for History and New Media. "New media" included the Internet, where he directed online history projects and facilitated the creation of various history-related Web sites. In 2001 he combined all these interests when he developed the September 11 Digital Archive, an enormous collection of materials, large and small, created by ordinary people in response to the destruction of the World Trade Center towers. He included items as trivial (and impermanent) as e-mail and voice-mail messages and amateur video clips that increased in historical importance as the collection grew in size and came to represent a collective response to an overwhelming tragedy. For his work Rosenzweig received the Lyman Award of the National Humanities Center. This was not his only innovative contribution to the history of the "common man." Rosenzweig also created the two-part CD-ROM package Who Built America? (1993, 1999). His books include The Park and the People: A History of Central Park (1992), which earned several awards, including the Abbott Cumming Lowell Prize of the Vernacular Architecture Forum and the Historic Preservation Book Prize of the Center for Historic Preservation; The Presence of the Past: Popular Uses of History in American Life (1998); and Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web (2005).



Washington Post, October 13, 2007, p. B6.