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Art McClure saved stuff. The basement of his home was a well-catalogued archive of pop culture. The late UCM professor emeritus of history had a similar passion for preserving the institution's history, a commitment that helped to develop the university's archives and museum.
McClure's family, friends and colleagues remembered his wit and wisdom when they gathered recently to dedicate the Arthur F. McClure II Archives and Museum in the James C. Kirkpatrick Library.
McClure joined the UCM faculty in 1965. He became chair of the Department of History in 1971, a post he held until his death in 1998. His belief that historical materials should be accessible led him to revive UCM's archival holdings.
Named UCM's first archivist in 1985, McClure began the process to save that legacy one letter, document, picture and object at a time. He was assisted by then graduate student and now archivist, Vivian Richardson.
McClure was a renowned author. His dissertation became his first book, The Truman Administration and the Problems of Postwar Labor, 1945-1948, published in 1969. His research and writing about American film and popular culture became two books, The Movies: An American Idiom and Memories of Splendor: The Midwestern Works of William Inge.
William Foley, professor emeritus of history and longtime colleague, remembered that McClure's personal collection rivaled that of any museum.
"We kidded Art about all that stuff, but he understood the value of preserving personal history and popular culture," Foley said. He added that many items from McClure's personal collection now rest in many museums and archives throughout the U.S.