In Memoriam Warren Lee


23 December 2017

Last night we received the sad news that Warren Lee has died. Until his retirement in 2015, Warren was the driving force behind the Nijhof & Lee bookshop at Special Collections.

There were many things that made Warren Lee special. His phenomenal knowledge of graphic design and book publishing, an impressive international network, and a keen sense of commerce – he was a bookseller pur sang. His gentle character and charm won him many friends, at Special Collections as elsewhere. With his sense of humour and twinkling eyes, his beautiful American accent in an ever-impeccable Dutch and his ability to make everyone feel at home in his shop, he was a special colleague indeed.

Together with his partner – in life and in business – Frank Nijhof, who died at the age of sixty in 2008, Warren for several decades ran the internationally renowned bookshop Nijhof & Lee, specialising in typography and graphic design. Its moving to Special Collections in 2011 enabled the name of Nijhof & Lee to remain and Warren to become our colleague, bringing with him his network which helped make it possible for us to organise numerous events on books, publishing and graphic design at the Museum Café.

In 2014 Warren celebrated forty years in the book business at the Aula of the UvA, receiving the Gold Pin of the Koninklijke Vereniging van het Boekenvak (Royal Dutch Book Trade Association) for his achievements. A year later Warren’s multi-faceted activities as a bookseller were the subject of Ben Bos’s Warren Lee, published by [Z]OO Producties in its Roots series. Last summer Warren received an honorary fellowship from the International Society of Typographic Designers.

Warren stayed involved with ‘his’ shop until his death. The Special Collections management and staff are deeply grateful for his ceaseless engagement and his friendship. We will miss him, and our thoughts are with his loved ones.

Published by  Special Collections UvA