Edmund Berkeley, Jr. (1937-2020)

We at the Library were saddened to hear of the death on December 29 of Edmund “Ned” Berkeley, Jr., University of Virginia alumnus, emeritus professor at UVA, and former director of the Library’s Special Collections department.

After graduating from the University of the South in Tennessee, Berkeley first came to UVA for graduate work, leaving in 1961 with an MA in American History. After a brief stint teaching in private schools in Virginia and Tennessee, he entered the library profession as an archivist at the Library of Virginia in Richmond and returned to UVA in the mid-sixties to work in the Library’s Special Collections department.

Berkeley held a number of positions in the department, including archivist, assistant curator, and manuscripts curator, before he ultimately became Director of Special Collections and University Archivist. He also served as the University’s records manager, and his many other contributions included the creation of manuals and policies on collection development and processing and his recommendations for a new building to house the University’s special collections — a project eventually realized with the construction of the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture and the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. In 1976 Berkeley was made associate professor in the general faculty, and upon his retirement in 1999 the Board of Visitors elected him Associate Professor Emeritus.

Circular cropped monchrome photo of a balding man with glasses and a beard, wearing a white shirt and dark suit and tie.

Ned Berkeley at UVA in 1986. (Detail from image provided by Linda Lester.)

Berkeley was an energetic contributor to his profession and an engaged member of a number of professional bodies, including the Association of Documentary Editors, the Manuscript Society, the Virginia Historical Society, and the American Association for State and Local History. He was particularly active in the Society of American Archivists, where he edited the Society’s “Autographs and Manuscripts: A Collector’s Manual” and served on both the Council and Executive Committee of the Society. He also routinely published in professional journals relating to the archival profession. His papers reside in the Small Special Collections Library.

Berkeley’s wife Elizabeth also had extensive UVA connections. Elizabeth M. Berkeley (then Elizabeth Makaritis) received her undergraduate degree from UVA’s School of Education, and like her husband went on to earn an MA in American History from the University. She became a distinguished editor of historical works, eventually working out of the UVA Library for the American Council of Learned Societies, editing the correspondence of William James. Elizabeth Berkeley died in April of 2020. While at the Library, the Berkeleys endowed a fund in honor of Ned Berkeley’s parents to benefit the Special Collections department. The Dorothy Smith Berkeley and Edmund Berkeley Natural History Endowed Fund, established in 1994, continues to give back, supporting the acquisition of library materials in natural history and botany.

Berkeley’s obituary can be read here. We are touched by the Berkeley family’s continued devotion to the University Library and its collections, and our thoughts are with them during this trying time.

We are collecting remembrances and anecdotes from current and former Library staff and others who worked with Ned Berkeley. Look for a follow-up soon on Notes from Under Grounds, the blog of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. If you would like to share a memory of Ned, please contact Brenda Gunn, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections and Preservation.


Comments are closed.