Joyce Haguewood Lamont passed away on February 22, 2014. Widely recognized for her work in historical preservation and her expertise on the history of the American South, Lamont excelled in her ability to promote the significance of the profession of librarianship. She became a valuable resource to scholars, teachers, students, and community members throughout Alabama during her nearly forty years of service at the Capstone.
Lamont, a University of Alabama alumni from Bellamy, Alabama, began as a librarian in the Commerce Library in 1955. She then worked as a bibliographer in Acquisitions in the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library. In 1975, Lamont became the first curator of the W.S. Hoole Library, eventually accepting the role of Assistant Dean of Libraries for Special Collections and Preservation. During her time in Special Collections, Lamont also taught in the School of Library and Information Studies, where she helped to found the Records Management and Archival Program in SLIS. Lamont retired in 1994. In 2003, the University of Alabama Board of Trustees created the Joyce Haguewood and William Edward Lamont Endowed Library Fund out of donations given by the Lamonts’ friends, colleagues, and relatives.
Joyce Lamont was also a loving wife to her husband, William Edward Lamont, mother to daughter Laura Pennington “Penny” Lamont McAllister, and grandmother to Laura Katherine McAllister and Mary-Keeley McAllister. Both Lamont’s husband and daughter predeceased her.
Lamont’s former colleagues from the Division of Special Collections wish to honor her role as the founding mother of the W.S. Hoole Library. First, we will hear from her colleagues who have left Tuscaloosa, yet who still wish to remember her extraordinary legacy.
Timothy L. Pennycuff, Assistant Professor and University Archivist, The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Joyce was my first “boss” in the archives/library world and she was very, very instrumental in my obtaining a position at UAB. I owe the entire last 20+ years of my working life to “Miz Lamont.”
Jessica Lacher-Feldman, Head of Special Collections, Louisiana State University
I arrived in Tuscaloosa from New York in 2000, in a very new and different place from everything I have ever known. From the moment we met, I knew I had an ally and a desperately needed and appreciated source for the countless questions I had and the explanations I needed about our collections, and about Alabama life and culture. It sounds like a cliché, but Joyce truly took me under her wing and shared with me many secrets and thoughts that helped to make me successful and effective at Hoole.
One of my most treasured memories was working with Joyce, Alex Sartwell, and Clark Center to develop a day-long tour of the Black Belt for the SAA meeting in Birmingham. With our scouting trips to the Black Belt, my husband Tom driving, and Joyce’s minivan serving as a loud, raucous, and really funny time machine through places like Demopolis, Eutaw, and Greensboro, these days were some of the most fun I can remember. Between Alex and Joyce’s incredible knowledge and their insanely funny antics, we came up with a day-long adventure that over a decade later still gets accolades from archivists around the country who were lucky enough to participate in this trip.
I left Tuscaloosa in 2013 after 13 wonderful years at The University of Alabama. Now the Head of Special Collections at LSU, I know that I would not be where I am today without her tireless support, incredible honesty, and her willingness to share her knowledge and passion for archives and the history and culture of the great state of Alabama. I’m proud to see her spirit live on in her two wonderfully talented granddaughters, Katie and Mary Keeley, both of whom worked with me at Hoole, as students. I’m proud of them, and I know Joyce was too. I will always think of you and smile, Joyce. Thank you for everything.
Clark Center, former Curator of the W.S. Hoole Library
I was a graduate student when Joyce hired me to do some microfilming for Special Collections many years ago. It never crossed my mind that I’d be working for her for when she retired. Everything I achieved started with her. She was my teacher, my boss, and ultimately, my friend. She coached me, took me with her on donor visits and to pick up collections. I learned from her as we drove across West Alabama, and I’d watch and listen as she talked to donors. Others have spoken of her sense of dialect, and her ability to tell where someone might be from by listening to them. She also knew family relationships. I’ve seen her meet someone, find out who they were related to, and the next thing I knew, she’d established a kinship, however distant. It was a common joke that she could go anywhere in Alabama and meet someone to whom she was related. She had a delightful sense of humor, and the ability to talk to people of all walks of life. She was dedicated to the University of Alabama, the University Libraries, and the Hoole Special Collections. The latter she built from a small collection of Alabama and rare publications and a few manuscripts to a collection which attracted scholars from across the country.