In Memoriam: George Cassady, 89

George Edward Cassady II ’55, a USC alumnus and longtime supporter of the USC Libraries, died on December 3, 2023. He was 89.

Born August 9, 1934, in Los Angeles, Cassady attended USC before earning his doctor of medicine degree from Duke University Medical School in 1958. Although he matriculated as a medical student at Duke before completing his undergraduate studies, USC later retroactively awarded him an undergraduate diploma in recognition of his lifetime of work and accomplishments.

Cassady’s long and distinguished career in pediatric medicine brought him, successively, to the National Institutes of Health, Harvard University, the University of Alabama, the Children’s Hospital of San Francisco, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Boston, and Stanford University. As a specialist in neonatal care, he contributed to important advances in newborn care and his work led to the establishment of an internationally renowned neonatal unit.

In his free time, Cassady loved gardening and fly fishing. He was also an accomplished concert pianist who once performed at the Hollywood Bowl with conductor Leopold Stokowski.

An avid reader and collector of rare books and manuscripts, Cassady was particularly drawn to the works of the 19th-century English author and mathematician Charles Dodgson, better known under his pen name, Lewis Carroll, whose Alice books he read to his sons at bedtime, and whose quotes he sprinkled into his medical lectures. Cassady’s passion for all things Carrollian eventually drew him into close association with the USC Libraries.

In 2000, he donated his collection of more than 6,000 Carroll books and related ephemera, which he named in honor of his parents and has added to since. Today, the G. Edward Cassady, M.D. and Margaret Elizabeth Cassady, R.N. Lewis Carroll collection includes first editions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass, translations, illustrated editions, artist books, pop-up books, comic books, graphic novels, computer games, and even Victorian-era playing cards. It is also noted for having the most extensive Japanese-language holdings related to Carroll and his works outside of Japan.

The collection draws scholars from around the world to the USC Libraries and inspires the creativity of California students each year through the Wonderland Award, established in 2005 by George’s wife, Linda. With the Cassadys’ encouragement and support, the USC Libraries have also hosted several annual conferences of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America.

“George Cassady has had a profound, lasting impact on our libraries and our university,” said Dean Melissa Just. “For years to come, his influence will be evident for everyone to see in the highly imaginative entries—inspired by the rich variety of the Cassady Lewis Carroll Collection—that our USC students create each spring for the USC Libraries Wonderland Award.” 

Cassady was a longtime member of the USC Libraries Board of Councilors and also served as a research professor of bibliography and library management in USC’s Master of Management in Library and Information Science (MMLIS) program.

He is survived by his wife, Linda Parker Cassady, his brother, three sons, and eight grandchildren.