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August 31, 2006

Obituary: Eduardo F. Lozano

Eduardo Lozano, well known developer of Pitt’s collection of Latin American books, died Aug. 25 following a lengthy illness. He was 81.

A librarian, painter and poet, Lozano, of Point Breeze, is remembered by colleagues as a renaissance man dedicated to his books and his art.

A native of Argentina, Lozano came to Pitt in 1967 as its Latin American bibliographer with the goal of establishing a library collection to support the University’s fledgling Latin American studies program. He had been director of the libraries at the National University of Cuyo and the State University of San Juan, both in Argentina.

Although he originally intended to remain at Pitt only a year, his stay stretched into 39 years illness forced his retirement earlier this year.

The library that is his legacy — named the Eduardo Lozano Latin American Collection in his honor in 1996 — is credited with drawing top faculty as well as visitors to the University to do research, said interim director of the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) James A. Craft.

In nearly four decades at Pitt, Lozano built the library into a world-renowned collection of more than a half-million books, periodicals and other reference materials.

“Eduardo’s work over the years has indeed enhanced our prospects of maintaining a top faculty,” Craft said. “It is instrumental in the Center for Latin American Studies’ reputation as one of the top centers in the world. … He provided a key for success.”

University Library System director and Hillman University Librarian Rush G. Miller said, “Eduardo Lozano gave us a lasting legacy in the Lozano collection. He was a remarkable renaissance man who was unassuming despite his many accomplishments as a librarian, as a scholar, as an artist, essayist and poet. He was a humble and gentle man who influenced a generation of librarians and scholars and had a lasting impact on his profession.

“Most of all, he was a friend to those of us who were privileged to know and work with him. Even at 81, he was not ready to retire and leave the collection he had so meticulously built from nothing to 500,000 books, many of them unique among American libraries, but illness intervened,” said Miller.

CLAS director Kathleen DeWalt credited Lozano’s unorthodox method of collecting books as key to the Latin American collection’s breadth and strength. “He was always taking into consideration the needs of the school when building the collection,” she said, noting that, in his early days of collecting, Lozano would strap on a money belt filled with cash and travel to Latin America to personally seek out new books for the collection rather than buy them from a distance.

His willingness to travel to obscure institutes and research centers to purchase books not typically available elsewhere has resulted in a collection filled with rare and unique materials, Miller said.

Shirley Kregar, CLAS associate director, remembers Lozano’s love for the arts as well as his dedication to the library. The two arrived at Pitt within months of one another; their shared affinity cemented a decades-long friendship.

“He had knowledge of the arts across the board: music, literature, painting. He appreciated it so much that he made others appreciative of it,” she said.

“He always made time for painting,” Kregar said, recalling how Lozano would leave the library each afternoon to go home to paint. “He would lose himself in his painting.”

His art has been displayed in shows in Argentina as well as in the United States, most recently in a 2005 show at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

He published two books of poetry and in 1965 was awarded a poetry prize by the National Arts Fund in Buenos Aires.

Several Lozano paintings hang in Hillman Library’s Latin American reading room, which was dedicated to him in 2002. His art and poetry also are the focus of a book, “Lozano,” published this year in his native Argentina.

A slight man with streaming white hair and strikingly luminous eyes, Lozano is remembered by colleagues as a quiet person who shied away from the limelight but had a passion for his work.

“He was a little bit of a quiet rebel,” said DeWalt. Part of that was manifest in his devotion to the collection. “He had a hard time giving up things he liked to do,” she said, noting he had steadfastly refused to groom a successor.

He is survived by his wife Lillian “Billie” Seddon Lozano, sisters Teresa Uthurralt and Marta Lozano, as well as nieces and nephews. A third sister, Maria Elena Lozano de Helbig, preceded him in death.

Miller said, “Eduardo was a devoted husband to Billie and a trusted and beloved colleague within the University Library System and the University. In every way but stature, he was a giant of a man who loved three things passionately: his family, his art and his books.”

A memorial service is being planned.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 39 Issue 1

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