Special Collections and Archives was saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. John N. Warfield, a long time professor here at George Mason University. His career spanned an impressive number of fields, from electrical engineering and computer design, to philosophy, to his culminating work in Systems Science. Professor Warfield donated his collection of professional papers to Special Collections and Archives in 2000. The collection is extensive – 100 archival boxes of material – and selected portions can be found online at The John N. Warfield Digital Collection. Work is ongoing to select other important and interesting portions of the collection for digitization and online presentation.
On a personal note, I am disappointed not to have had the chance to meet Professor Warfield. I started work on his collection just two short weeks ago, and have only begun to wrap my head around the fascinating range of subjects he studied over the course of his long career. We are fortunate to have a considerable number of multimedia recordings of Professor Warfield, including oral history interviews, videos of his class lectures, and filmed sessions of his Interactive Management process. But I know that as I continue to work with his collection, I’ll have my own questions, and I had been looking forward to opening up lines of communication with the man behind the ideas.
Going forward, we have some exciting plans for further development of the online exhibition of Professor Warfield’s collection. His theories on complexity and systems design formulated gradually over decades of work, and the collection reveals how his cutting edge ideas took shape. We intend to construct a visually dynamic online exhibition that will showcase both the development of his philosophies, as well as their ongoing relevance to those interested in complexity and systems design.
Our condolences go out to his wife Rose and the entire Warfield family.