Oct 21, 2009 1:40 PM | 8
The blog has fallen silent for a few days. Last Friday afternoon our colleague and friend, Collier Duncan left the library wishing us all a good weekend. Collier was not supposed to work on Fridays, but even so, he could usually be found at his desk down among the Brooklyn Daily Eagle files on a Friday afternoon. "I was coming to the library anyway, so I thought I'd swing by," he would say. It had been a week like any other. Our research assistant for the last five years, Collier had been busy, with an ever increasing load of requests for searches of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper "morgue" files, requests for microfilm searches, and a never-ending refoldering project. And then, there was the important job of keeping half of the library staff entertained.
On Saturday, we heard that Collier had suffered a heart attack and died.
Collier L. Duncan had a successful career with the City Planning Commission and in the beverage industry before coming to the Library in his retirement to help out in the Brooklyn Collection. A man of immense personal charm and warmth, Collier was the opposite of the stereotypical history buff. Although he loved digging around in old stuff, finding treasures among the photographs and making discoveries on behalf of our patrons, he was also outgoing, personable and funny. In any line of work there are people who work tirelessly behind the scenes, often without much recognition. That was Mr. Duncan here in the Brooklyn Collection. As "Captain" of the Eagle morgue, through dogged perseverance he was often able to put together the missing pieces of a family's history. He loved to help others explore their background, and was a moving force behind a planned Genealogy Group that will start meeting in the Brooklyn Collection as of February 2010.
Collier had a great way with children and relished opportunities to join our Librarians on school visits. When he did, if another trip was planned, the children's major question would always be "Is Mr. Duncan coming back?" Collier always had a story, and he always had a smile. And now he won't be coming back.
We'll miss you Collier.