Category Archives: In Memoriam

In Memoriam: John J. Shea, Jr., 1924 – 2014

John J. Shea, Jr.

For more information on Dr. Shea:

The John J. Shea, Jr. MD Collection finding aid

Memphis Business Journal

Commercial Appeal (Subscribers Only)


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Filed under Collections, In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Roy Cajero

Roy Cajero and Libby Carroll at Arts in the Park in Audubon Park

I met his work before I met him, and I was drawn to his vision instantly. His photographs were unlike anything else in the Memphis Room. They display an intimacy all while maintaining a wider, more objective perspective. He captured the mundane, but managed to elevate it to the extraordinary.

When I encountered the first two notebooks of his photographs, I had no idea who Roy Cajero was — the name was completely unfamiliar to me. I was very surprised to learn that we had worked at the library at the same time and that although he had retired, he was still a frequent visitor. One day, someone who knew of my growing obsession with him told me that he was in the building. I stalked him like prey.

I was very nervous to introduce myself to him, but there was no need. To meet Roy Cajero was to meet humility and kindness embodied. He was a soft-spoken, thoughtful man who was somewhat bewildered by my interest in him. I wanted desperately to interview him and to get some background on the person behind the beautiful photographs; I wanted to add his story to the digital archive along with the images I loved. But he wanted nothing of the sort. An intensely private man, he preferred that I write nothing about him.

Despite his hesitancy to be in the spotlight, he willingly agreed to share his work with the Memphis Room, and he has spent the past few years preparing hundreds of photographs for addition to the digital archive. His gifts will be forever in the hands of the community, and I greatly appreciate his willingness to share himself in that way.

I am also thankful for the gift of knowing him. Just as his photographs led me to examine Memphis from a different point of view, he could always help me look at life with a slightly new perspective. With a sly joke or a twinkle of the eye, this quiet man exuded warmth and put the people around him at ease, all while challenging us to think and grow.

Thank you, Roy. For your many gifts to the library and the Memphis Room, but most importantly for the gifts to your loved ones, friends, and admirers — the latter of which I am a proud member.

Oh, and sorry for breaking our deal.  I know you never wanted attention, but you deserve it nonetheless.



Filed under Collections, In Memoriam, Libraries, Photographs, Portraits, Volunteers

Sid Selvidge, 1943 – 2013

Sid Selvidge


Obituary from the Commercial Appeal

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by | May 2, 2013 · 2:59 pm

Maxine Smith, 1929 – 2013

Maxine Smith

View other images, read about her portrait in the Memphis Room, or learn more about the Maxine A. Smith NAACP Collection.

Commercial Appeal article.

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Filed under Civil Rights, In Memoriam, Portraits

Lorraine Motel

The balcony at the National Civil Rights Museum.  A wreath marks where Martin Luther King, Jr. was standing when he was shot.  From the Arthur Webb Collection.

The balcony at the National Civil Rights Museum. A wreath marks where Martin Luther King, Jr. was standing when he was shot. From the Arthur Webb Collection.

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Filed under Civil Rights, Holidays, In Memoriam, Photographs

Marguerite Piazza, 1926-2012

A fond farewell to longtime Memphian Marguerite Piazza, a musical legend…

Dig Memphis:  Images of Marguerite Piazza

Commercial Appeal:  Obituary

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Filed under In Memoriam, Music, Photographs, Portraits

Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks, 1925-2010

To view other articles and photos, please click here.

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Filed under Civil Rights, Clippings, Digital Archive, In Memoriam, Photographs, Portraits