The University of Illinois Press is saddened to share the news that Roger Daniels passed away December 9, a few days after celebrating his 95th birthday. An expert on the Japanese American incarceration during World War II, Roger was recruited by former UI Press director Dick Wentworth to establish two series: The Asian American Experience, of which Roger was sole editor, and the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Centennial Series, which he coedited with Victor Greene and Jay P. Dolan (later editors were Jon Gjerde and Vicki L. Ruiz). The first titles in the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island series and the Asian American Experience series were published in 1987 and 1994, respectively. The Asian American Experience was one of the two first series established, in the early 1990s, on the topic of Asian American history (the other series was established at Temple University Press under the editorial direction of Roger’s colleague Sucheng Chan, who later published three books with Illinois).
Roger was a cherished colleague, mentor, and friend. I was privileged to work with him on the Asian American Experience series for about seven years, and to acquire his magisterial biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, which was published in two volumes in 2015 and 2016. He always made a point of making sure that we had time to sit down together at the Organization of American Historians conference and catch up about the series. He stepped down from the Asian American series after passing his 80th birthday. With his typical grace, upon retiring from the series he let go of it completely and cleared the way for a new editorial team to take the series in new directions.
Roger’s scholarship, and the mission behind it to expose and redress injustice through historical research, have guided me in my career as an acquisitions editor over the past 20 years. I am proud to have known him and honored to have worked closely with him.
Roger’s family suggests that anyone who wishes to make a donation in his honor make it to the University of Cincinnati Foundation to support the Roger Daniels Summer Fellowship, which provides a summer research scholarship to an excellent graduate student working in the field of US history.
–Laurie Matheson, director, University of Illinois Press