Dr. David Bergen Gracy II, 1941-2020

Dr. David Bergen Gracy II

We are deeply saddened that Dr. David B. Gracy II, Governor Bill Daniel Professor Emeritus in Archival Enterprise, passed away on Saturday, September 26, 2020 in Austin, Texas.

A leader in the archival field, Dr. Gracy was one of the earliest full-time faculty members in the United States concentrating in archival education and the earliest occupying an endowed chair. Despite never receiving formal archival training himself, Dr. Gracy’s twenty-five years of experience as a practicing archivist and archival administrator as well as his passionate, visionary advocacy helped shape the landscape of archival education. He was a beloved and dedicated faculty member at the School of Information (formerly the Graduate School of Library and Information Science) for thirty-one years, during which time Dr. Gracy pioneered efforts to establish a cohesive archival and records enterprise curriculum at the school and later develop a preservation and conservation studies program. He recieved the Texas Excellence in Teaching Award  in 1987. 

Dr. Gracy was actively involved in national efforts to standardize archival teaching, professional practice, and certification, notably through his extensive participation with the Society of American Archivists (SAA) and as a founding member of the Academy of Certified Archivists (ACA). He was a lifelong advocate of the essential value of archives in society and the importance of the archival profession. As an engaging speaker and charismatic storyteller, Dr. Gracy’s impassioned presentations inspired many future archivists to the profession with the belief that the foundation of civilization, which is built on the experience of human beings, is recorded more fully in the archives than anywhere else.

Dr. Gracy’s career as an archivist began during his undergraduate studies in history at The University of Texas at Austin when he worked as an archival assistant at the Texas State Archives and the University of Texas Archives. After completing his bachelor’s and master’s degree in history from UT, he pursued a doctoral degree in history at Texas Tech University, where he was the archivist for the Southwest Collection. Dr. Gracy became the archivist for Georgia State University’s Southern Labor Archives, and then later worked as the director of the Texas State Archives. He is a former president of both the SAA and the ACA, and received the Distinguished Service Award from the ACA in 2011. A founding member of the Society of Southwest Archivists (SSA), he was awarded the SSA Distinguished Service Award in 1978.

Dr. Gracy was especially proud of his work as the founding editor of Georgia Archive (now Provenance), which was the first professional archival journal published by a state or regional organization. He received an SAA Award of Merit in 1975. He also served on the editorial board for SAA’s American Archivist and as the editor of The University of Texas at Austin’s Libraries & the Cultural Record (now Information & Culture). Dr. Gracy authored several books: Archives and Manuscripts: Arrangement and Description; Littlefield Lands: Colonization on the Texas Plains, 1912-1920; Moses Austin: His Life; and A Man Absolutely Sure of Himself: Texan George Washington Littlefield.

A beloved mentor and tireless advocate for the archival profession, Dr. Gracy will be remembered by former students, alumni, and colleagues for his kindness, generosity, and incredible passion for the field. He was an inspiring and influential leader, educator, and friend who enriched the lives of many people. He will be dearly missed.

Gifts to the Dr. David B. Gracy II Endowed Excellence Fund in Archival Enterprise at the School of Information are warmly welcomed. To contribute, please visit the iSchool giving page or contact Shannon Hickson, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, at Shannon.hickson@ischool.utexas.edu.

Dr. Gracy's archived faculty webpage is available here.

Sept. 30, 2020