On the evening of April 5, Eleanor S. Collins, the first appointed curator of the Slide and Photograph Collection at the Department of the History of Art, died peacefully after a brief illness. She had recently celebrated her 92nd birthday with family and friends whom she cherished and whose lives she greatly enriched.
Eleanor was a pioneer in the organization of visual collections and was recognized for bringing the University of Michigans slide and photograph collection to a position of national prominence. Eleanor was instrumental in establishing the Visual Resources Association in 1969, a national organization that set professional standards for curators of image collections. The VRA honored her in 1994 with their Distinguished Service Award for her contributions toward the recognition of curators professional services to university and museum educators. In 1997, the Department of the History of Art designated the slide and photograph collection as the Eleanor S. Collins Visual Resources Collections in her honor.
More than for her curatorial skills and professional accomplishments, Eleanor is best remembered for her warmth and generosity to family, friends and colleagues. Despite the pressing demands of collection users, Eleanor always displayed a grace and civility that enriched the environs of the Department of History of Art at Tappan Hall. She befriended and nurtured generations of students, staff, and faculty. All who have known Eleanor will keep the memory of her kindness, compassion and good humor.
Cremation has taken place and the remains will be placed in Hope Cemetery, Rochester, N. Y., where her parents, Lawrence and Florence Collins, are buried. Respecting her wishes, no memorial service will be held. Instead Eleanor will be remembered with a smile and kind deeds or words to others, as she would have done.
Donations in her memory may be made to the University of Michigan, designated for the Eleanor S. Collins Visual Resources Collections Fund, c/o Department of History of Art, 519 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109.
Submitted by the Department of History of Art