Dale Roylance died Sunday morning, 19 May 2013, at University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, New Jersey. He was 89 years old and had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Born on 9 December 1924, in Salt Lake City, Utah, Dale Ronald Roylance was the youngest of Kenneth and Una Roylance’s three children. He was raised as a Mormon and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943. When he was released, Dale moved to San Francesco to study art history at the University of California, Berkeley.
In 1955, Dale came to Princeton University, where he was taken under the wing of Gillett G. Griffin, curator of graphic arts at Firestone Library. For several years, he served as Gillett’s assistant, working on a variety of exhibitions and research projects. Dale recalled, “In all that time, the influence of my first mentor, Gillett Good Griffin, was constant and inspirational. Few people in my experience can match his enthusiasm for the arts or his discernment for quality in the visual arts.”
From 1960 to 1979, Dale worked as curator of the arts of the book at Yale University’s Sterling Memorial Library but was persuaded to return to Princeton in 1979 to fill his mentor’s position as curator of graphic arts. Dale held this title until his retirement in 1995 and even then, continued to assist with exhibitions and projects until 2001. In the fall of 2004 Roylance joined Princeton Academy’s Manor House Library project where he helped to organize their book collection and mount small exhibits.
During his long and distinguished career, Roylance prepared over 100 exhibitions and worked on forty-four publications including European Graphic Arts: the Art of the Book from Gutenberg to Picasso (1986) and American Graphic Arts: a Chronology to 1900 in Books, Prints, and Drawings (1990).
Many of his friends will remember Dale’s a longstanding aversion to driving. He lived for many years on Scott Avenue in Princeton Junction specifically because of its proximity to the Dinky, which he rode to campus every day. As he told Town Topics in 1995, “I think having it go on such a pleasant route, sort of over the river and through the woods, is terrific. … it must be a very nice experience for someone coming from New York City who has never been here to get on the train and see the landscape change in front of his eyes.”
There will be a memorial service but a date has not yet been scheduled.