Tributes to Dick Hacken

ESS Newsletter

2022, Vol 2

Dearest Dick,
I wish you a well-deserved retirement and I hope it is filled with laughter, wordplay, and travel adventures. When I was a brand new (W)ESSie at my first conference, you were a welcoming, warm presence at the social event. I always sought you out after that because you are just such a joy to hang out and chat with (I do love a pun so we’re a great match), and you made me feel like I belonged. You have offered ESS your big heart, linguistic talents, tech skills, and creativity, writing so many thoughtful and clever poems for retiring ESSies, building wikis we all use still, managing WESSweb for years, and keeping us entertained in newsletters! Most recently, our new fancy ESS website simply would not exist if not for your creativity and generosity. You and BYU migrated the 2,000 pages of content from wiki to WordPress, offered us a temporary space to build a new site, and your vision and training documents serve as the building blocks of our current work. The web migration team met weekly for over a year, during this sorrowful pandemic time. Seeing you every week on Zoom was a soothing balm for my soul. The team all supported each other with our work certainly, but also emotionally and our friendships grew stronger. Dick, my amazing friend, I so hope we stay in touch, because YOU are really one of the reasons I love being a part of ESS. Thank you for being so wonderfully you.

Deb Raftus

A tribute to Dr. Richard Hacken, by Ann Hagedorn
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s SuperHacken, flying in to grace all whom he encounters with his unique mix of scholarly expertise, dedicated friendship, familial devotion, limitless kindness, and high-level humor bursting with the punning qualities of Groucho-Marxian brilliance.  Ah, perhaps Dick met Groucho years ago and it was Dick who first said: “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend; inside a dog, it’s too dark to read.”  That makes total sense!   For now, I wish Dick the very best and I am immensely grateful to have known him for nearly 45 years.  I look forward to hearing about his projects and adventures for many years to come.  SuperHacken is, indeed, ageless and will continue to soar in the decades ahead.  Bravo!!!

I got to know Dick Hacken sixteen years ago on a fantastic WESS trip to eastern Germany: “Leipzig, Dresden, Weimar: Exploring a Library Landscape” (sponsored by the Goethe-Institut, the U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Germany, and Bibliothek & Information International). That tour was immortalized in a piece that I had the pleasure of co-authoring with Dick (all the clever lines are his) in the Fall 2006 WESS Newsletter (duly archived in BYU’s institutional repository: Over the years, we stayed in touch mainly through GNARP (the German-North American Resources Partnership), CRL’s Global Resources Program for the German-language sphere. A GNARP stalwart, Dick served four years as Collection Development Working Group Chair and from the very beginning, I think, as BYU’s representative. In that context, Dick spearheaded an informal initiative to inventory historical German-language newspaper holdings across North American libraries – the resulting, very useful resource lived on the old WESS Web and is now available here:

Through his gentlemanly manner, his scholarship, and his eternal good-humor, Dick has made the field of European Studies librarianship a better, more collegial space in which to work. I will miss his presence at our professional meetings and his companionship at the adjacent social gatherings, where Dick always seemed game for the local comfort meal, from Weimar to New Orleans. In particular, I’ll miss the masterfully understated puns and the occasional poetry (on the latter, I am pretty sure Goethe had Dick’s verse in mind when he called the Gelegenheitsgedicht “die erste und ächteste aller Dichtarten”).

Warmest congratulations to Dick on his retirement and best wishes for all future endeavors! 
– Kizer Walker, Cornell University Library

Dear WESS, SEES, ESS, and all other Friends,

The Great Seal of Utah includes the moniker The Beehive State to honor the people’s unceasing industriousness, as exemplified by the worker bee.  In the category – Busiest Bee in the Hive – the award [envelope please, Oscar] goes to

Dr. Richard Douglas Hacken, B.A., M.A, Ph.D., M.L.S.

I am exhausted trying to gather sufficient words and phrases to express my awe and admiration for our Roast of Honor, Dick Hacken.  But for now, may tremendous intellect, creativity, productivity, humor, and kindness suffice.

Let’s look at a few examples of Dick (“Richard”) Hacken’s contributions to our intellectual growth, emotional well-being, our desire for laughter, and our good fortune to know him.

  • Go to the BYU Library search box, and select advanced search.  Key in Richard Hacken as author, include “Resources to which the BYU library does not provide access”, and set the number of results to 100.

    The 256 citations include 166 articles, 42 reviews, 10 books, 12 e-books, five presentations, and an assortment of databases, theses, and videos.  A surprisingly small number of these citations are not by our hero, and most of those are medical research articles co-authored by one Nick H.T. ten Hacken.  (Dick, here’s yet another pseudo-pseudonym for you.)

    But don’t let the article ”Semantic ontologies for multimedia indexing (SOMI)” fool you – Our Man is the co-author.
  • Read Poor Richard’s Vita on his EuroDocs page.  His lengthy resumé reflects his extensive travels and his love of Switzerland
  • Look up Richard Hacken in the BYU Library’s staff directory.  The page lists 16 library guides to a potpourri of subjects.  That photo of a distinguished, handsome, bemused, and detached Richard is misleading — this wise guy is a comedian.  To wit., Dick signs each e-mail to me with a different signature, including

    Monsieur l’Haquin — Rashad Hakkim – Håkan — Håkohama — H. Richards — Dickacken — Rikardniak — Dick und dünn Hackensack-Hackenbush– Roughshod Hagglin
    Nephiovich Rikardo-Nekstu-Nitschevo Hackenianskiy 
  • Go to the website Hacken & Galka Families.  Dick’s biobibliography contains more than you might ever want to know about him, including when he wore sideburns.  Click on and select Poetry and Song and/or World History.  I won’t try to count the number of poems and poetic essays Dick has written. Suffice it to say that a random selection shows that Dick is a serious thinker and has a special gift for metaphor and expression.
  • Become a FaceBook friend to Richard Hacken.  Every day you will receive a handful of photos: landscapes, portraits, travel memories, flora and fauna – plus poetry, commentary, and humor in generous proportions  Dick has a sensitive eye not only for natural beauty, but also a special knack framing that beauty into art.  He’s a whiz at manipulating photographs into semi-abstract works of art.  Why subscribe to a travel or art magazine when you can have the World of Hacken delivered to your in-box every day of the week?
  • And yes, he even sings.  Watch Dick’s 2018 rap-tribute to me at the 2018 WESSSEES Cruise in New Orleans.  

Hackrich Arden, you have given it all you’ve got.  YO! 

Once upon a time, Dick described in song his rise to library prominence, set to the musical number “I am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General” from Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.,  Click the link and sing along – if you can!

I am the very model of a Bibli-Specialographer, 
I liaise if you pliaise with the poly- or monographer, 
Assisting students fidgety who seek their knowledge digitty, 
As well as those who look in books both softly spined and rigidy; 

I’m very well acquainted too with persons professorial, 
I get them what they want, a task at times phantasmagorial; 
In narrow disciplines I point to articles and bulletins, 
Instructing while deducting all misleading or subjective spins …   

You get the idea

With this in mind, I am inspired to steal draw upon another Gilbert & Sullivan operetta ballad – “When I was a lad …” from HMS Pinafore – to expand on his carrière extraordinaire. If I can figure out how to record it, I’ll ask Megan or Masha to post a link later.

In closing my fan letter, here is the final verse:

Now Librarians all, wherever you may be – Please join me in this merriment and gaiety 
Yo! the time is short, and you better get crackin’ – Cause we we’ll miss the very likes of Dr. Richard Hacken [pause, then crescendo]
We’ll miss the Jolly Mormon and his cheerfulness – With which we have for decades been so richly blessed!! [repeat last line]

Sanus manere, Vecchio Bambino!

Göran Andersson (aka Gordon)

April 2022

In his own words: DC Retirement Poem

Dear colleagues, cohorts, cronies and chums; 
comrades, coworkers, compatriots and friends; 
vendors and befrienders; 
believers and achievers at Amalivre; 
helpers for the biblio-needy, Casalini; 
those who choose enthusiasmus at Erasmus 
or play sostenuto at Bludeau;
those who amass the info-glitz, Harrassowitz;
those spilling thrills at Puvill and Brill; 
the gourmet souls at Brepols,
those who go to be amused by GOBI and Muse;
those who reconnoiter de Gruyter or give a rendition of Open Edition;
those who garner Garnier or care for Cairn; all o’ya at Digitalia;
those with dinero upon ‘ya at Iberoamericana;
those who feast on a Slavic East View or who get a grip with MIPP;
who peek the medium of Numérique Premium
or give some past view at Adam Matthew;
web-lurkers and web-workers,
ESS peeps from WESS, ESS peeps from SEES, and other temporarily but happily institutionalized persons present at the Goethe Institute,

Dear All of You that I just named, plus those the list may have missed,
but when Pushkin comes to Shovkin, you do exist,

E-S-S are the first three letters of the word “essential.”
E-S-S are also the first three letters of the word “essay.”
I could write an essay about how essential you ESSies have been to my career, even if disguised as WESSies and SEESters in earlier years.
It has been a joy and a grounding in the discipline I could have gotten in no other way.

As I head off to an ad hoc, ex officio future in jubilo, in extremis, in excelsis, surrounded by family, friends, books in foreign languages, an M2 Neural Engine, aged cheese and dark chocolate, with the satisfaction that can only come with further study of the world and its mysteries, I will occasionally deliver over telepathic or social media channels to you the ongoing feelings, glowing feelings, ever-flowing feelings that mark the semi-sincerity, gratitude, fratitude, and gentleness of old friends.

Thank You!
Richard Hacken