Antje Bultmann Lemke
1918 – 2017
Professor Emerita Antje Bultmann Lemke passed away at the age of 98. She joined the faculty in 1952, received her master’s degree in library science from Syracuse, and served the University for 34 years.
Over 15,000 students had the opportunity to learn from Antje. Whether she was teaching courses like the History of the Book, Bibliography of the Humanities, or Reference; whether she was overseeing a lecture class of eighty students, or a graduate seminar of 6; whether she was tutoring or teaching at Syracuse University programs in Germany or Puerto Rico, or on campus, Antje held to the notion that teaching is sharing information, not imposing it. And generations of students gratefully shared with her, continuing on to rewarding and important careers.
Recollections of Antje
I clearly remember Antje from when I was a MLS student and how impressive she was in both her sharing of herself and her dedication to the singular significance of each and every person. I learned a lot about access to the literature of the Arts from her, but more importantly about how to attempt to live a good and generous-of-self life.
Liz Liddy • May 18, 2017
Antje Lemke was, indeed, a remarkable and heroic woman – brilliant and talented and an extremely kind and caring person. I greatly admired her when I was a master’s student in the 1970’s and my admiration only grew later when I became her colleague in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s.
I (and a few others on our past and current faculty) was SO fortunate to have had the opportunity to study under the three legends in the library and information world who, individually and collectively, put our School on the map —Antje Lemke, Marta Dosa and Bob Taylor. Working alongside that threesome was a major factor in my decision to join the faculty in 1989. We can all feel proud to have such strong and meaningful roots in the iSchool.
Antje will be greatly missed.
Ruth Small • May 19, 2017
As a new dean of the iSchool in 1987, I remember first meeting Anje Lemke and Marta Dosa and realizing these these two dignified, experienced and sensitive Europeans professional women were deeply committed to the School’s continued success. at a time when this was not a given within Syracuse University. Anje always spoke and acted with dignity and grace and was an anchor to the heritage and development of the library profession and program in the School among students and faculty. She enjoyed a long life of living her values, inspiring others and continuously learning – what a great legacy and memory she leaves.
Don Marchand • May 19, 2017
Antje Lemke was an extraordinary person with great significance for the iSchool. She created, with Martha Dosa and Bob Taylor, our intellectual foundation including interdisciplinarity, user centrality, globalism, and ethics in information science. Her breath and depth of interests and her gifts to the profession as well as to world remain unique in our history. She had her own library at home, housed in a separate building adjacent to her house. An important bridge to the SU library, she helped build some of its remarkable Special Collections that attract scholars from all over the world. Antje was embedded in the cultural life of the University and City, particularly in Music. I fondly remember singing German folk songs at gatherings in her beautiful garden with some of SU’s famous singers and musicians. I am pleased that she had such a long life during which she inspired so many of our students and faculty members. It was truly an honor and privilege to know her. She was a powerful role model with her resistance to Nazism and work for the equality of women. I also remember her driving around town in her convertible until late into her 80ties hoping I would have the same energy, fun, spirit and grace in my golden years.
With love and respect, Gisela
Gisela Von Dran • May 19, 2017
She was the reason I learned the word Emeritus. How wonderful for those of us that got to know her in the halls of CST. She will be greatly missed, what a wonderful person she was.
Kristin Culkowski Naiko • May 19, 2017
Antje was extraordinary and one of the most supportive professors I’ve ever had. The last class in my MLS program was Art & Museum Librarianship, May 1977, taught by Caroline Backlund, the librarian at the National Gallery of Art. Antje would sit in on the classes. I had done an in-depth bibliography for her on the Bloomsbury Group and knew them inside and out. When Caroline asked if anyone knew who published Roger Fry’s biography, my hand shot up and I was able to answer, Leonard and Virginia Woolf. I looked over at Antje and she was beaming at me. A wonderful moment this librarian will never forget.
Beverly Denninger • May 19, 2017
As a very young MLS student fresh from Iowa, I had the privilege of taking Reference with Antje in my first semester. Her generosity of spirit and deep love for all she was teaching inspired me. I am grateful for her foundational work building our iSchool and the marvelous assembly of minds and experiences that helped form my professional skills and world view. Just imagine the rich and wonderful conversations she is having in Heaven…..
Christine Larsen • May 21, 2017
I started here just a year after Antje retired, but she continued to guest lecture in my classes. I was awed and intimidated by her biography and reputation at first, but soon found out she had a wry sense of humor that softened the effect. For me she’s an example of the women of my mother’s generation who suffered through war and the cynical cruelty of fascism, and yet managed to carry on with positive lives that did not dwell in the past but built for the future. I’m very proud to be part of her legacy.
Barbara Kwasnik • May 22, 2017
What a privilege it was to study with Antje. She was a wonderful teacher who shared so much and at the same time encouraged and respected the work of her students.
Elizabeth DeMarco Loftus • May 24, 2017
I was so fortunate to be one of the more than 15,000 students who benefited from Antje’s vast knowledge, and her ability to share and inspire. I was an older student and single mother who had not been a student for many years. Antje had high expectations of her students tempered with great kindness, several times inviting me to her office to share a cup of tea and conversation. Invitations to her home were very special as well, as she hosted small groups of students informally, and promoted interesting conversations. She was an excellent role model in facilitating learning through inquiry and collaboration, and she helped me believe in my own strengths and abilities. Upon graduation, I became an assistant librarian in a community college, library director the following year, and at retirement, I had been Director of Information Services and Technology for eight years. I am thankful for having known Antje, whose inspiration and leadership guided so many of my professional decisions.
Susan Vaughan • August 25, 2017
I was one of the undergraduate students who benefitted from Dr. Lemke’s energy, insight, kindness, and deeply informed Christianity. She has inspired my entire career, beginning with master’s and doctoral degrees, happy practice, writing, and finally teaching. I know she is very happy in her permanent new garden and library!
Joanna Fountain • August 30, 2017
I would like to join the many voices in praise of Antje Lemke. She was a magnificent human being.
Barry Rosencrance G’75 • February 21, 2018
I was the graduate student at the library school in the school year 1963-64. I became Professor Lemke’s personal assistant when I served in that capacity, as she always had projects for me when the other professors did not. I did research for her and accompanied her to other schools when she gave lectures on a variety of subjects.
She was a brilliant teacher and a fascinating human being. Physically, she was tall and lanky, had a winning smile, and a charming slight German accent. (Her father was a quite famous German theologian, but I was not to find that out until much later.) Her class in the History of the Book was an eye opener and strengthened my lifelong love of books; her bibliography and reference courses made me determined to become a reference librarian. All the courses I took with her were pure gold and did a lot to form the librarian I was to become.
The bulk of my job experiences were in corporate and academic librarianship, with brief episodes in children’s work (at a primary school in north Syracuse), teaching reference (at Central Michigan University), and working in the ABC News Library. I became the head of the Research Library for Reader’s Digest General Books (not the magazine or condensed books, but the mail-order reference books we produced in fields as varied as gardening/DIY/health/cookery/ and American history); head of the reference unit at the Citibank Financial Library; and Reference Librarian / Assistant Professor at both the University of Miami and Barry University. I also held the position of Circulation Librarian at Saint Lawrence University early on in my career. Along the way, over the years, I took a number of consulting gigs for private individuals, one of which involved evaluating the worth of a long-lost Mary Cassatt painting and adding it to Cassatt’s catalogue raisonné.
But, more than that, I appreciated mightily that Professor Lemke was sensitive to the needs of my personal life, realizing that as a young wife and mother as well as a library school student, I had myriad responsibilities and issues with time management, and she went out of her way to accommodate them; she was extremely understanding and I will never forget her kindness. Bless her memory.
Jo Asaro Manning G’64 • February 22, 2018