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David Lister Tribute Page


Gilad Aharoni - I have had many interesting and pleasant conversations with David over the years, both in person and in email. I will miss his endless knowledge and his willingness to share this knowledge with the rest of us.
Ulrike - I am sorry to read that David passed away. I met him several times and could listen to his marvellous history stories. Thank you David
Joan Sallas - Dear David,

until today, when I thought about you, I always remembered Voltaire, the French encyclopaedic expert of the 18th century, because you were really the last and the first encyclopaedic researcher about the history of paper folding.

Today, I can only say "thank you" without end. Thanks to show us all that paper folding is more than folded paper, more than a handicraft work, but an human activity, and that a folded object can be taught and learned, but isn't completely understandable without to be understood his cultural and historical background. You said always that the folding research is not to know the curiosities of the past, but to understand the present.

Thanks to have the feeling and to make the effort to collect documents for the next generations, to analyze and compare them and to build and write hypothesis to be discussed through folders over the world, as well as to incentivise new research ways and to collaborate and give your enthusiastic support to many research initiatives and projects. From your work, I learned how to research in a serious form the history of paper folding to be shared later, and I'm sure that many researchers learned it too. David remains as the universal reference in this domain.

Thanks too, to use your capacity to write your academic articles in a structured form understandable for all, not just for other researchers, in a good and easy English, sometimes with a point of humour, sometimes with an intentioned provocation or educated criticisms, but never n a negative way. You were always a gentleman and apologized your detractors. You were not only a universal reference as academic, but too as human person.

Together with Nick Robinson and Wayne Brown, we visited David and his wife in his home quite recently. He repeated again his decision to give his extensive Folding Library and Folding Archive to the BOS. I have no doubt that besides of the logistical problems of place and arrangement, the BOS will make an effort to give David's heritage a dignified place, and will preserve it to be consulted by future generations. If it is needed, the BOS have all my support, work and time.

Today we can't ask David more questions about the History of Folding Art, but we have luck and thanks Nick Robinson's work in the Web of the BOS, many generations will consult his articles in the future, and hopefully his complete articles will be printed some time, a permanently frustrated desire of David. If the origami associations in the world will have honoured the memory of David, perhaps they can dignify their own association libraries and archives, looking for, collecting and conserving old documents, promoting studies, analyses and researches about the inventoried documents of the past, and not only to have them conceived as a folding instruction material to be loaned and in the best case returned. The actual situation of the libraries and archives in the origami associations claim in general a renovation and probably coordinated though them. I'm sure that something will change in this point, and David will be a little bit more happy in the origami paradise.

David, I will fold today your model "four birds drinking in a bowl" that you taught me some time ago in Germany, a beautiful symbol of a folder that meet coming from the four cardinal folding points of the world.

See you, friend!

Laura Rozenberg - This is so sad. In his last email he said he was recovered from a leg infection that had been bothering him for long time. He was in good spirits, but that must have been maybe a couple of months ago. We used to communicate quite often, most of the times the emails being initated by me with questions regarding a fact, a doubt, a puzzle, about the history of origami in the 20th century (or before). We shared many documents, I passed him some interesting news clips and letters, and he also sent me what he had about Spanish and South American paperfolders. We discussed time and again all sorts of facts about the life and work of Unamuno, Ligia Montoya, Solorzano Sagredo, Lillian Oppenheimer, Gershon Legman... What I will always recall is the way he used to write emails. Long emails. He knew how to please his interlocutor. I felt important, that my questions were listened and had value. He engaged in minuscule discussions about a topic that nobody else would care, but for us was extremely important to have it right. He was always respectful and ready to hear new and interesting angles, even when he thought the argument was over. I still have a list of questions to ask David, I only wish I had sent him earlier. I am going to miss him greatly. I know he won't reply to me tonight.
Boaz Shuval - I was very sorry to hear that David had passed away. Unfortunately, I had never had the chance to meet him in person, but I very much enjoyed corresponding with him, and reading his many writings on origami history. This is a sad day for the origami world.
Marcia Mau - Help, Nick! I'd like to submit a photo of David & me which was taken at the first PCOC in San Francisco in 1997. We were so proud that we successfully completed the steps in a string folding exercise. David had so many interests beside origami, including collecting playing cards. He was always helpful when I had a question about origami books, especially out-of-print editions. I mentioned to Joanne Ortman a few weeks ago that I hadn't heard from David in ages.
Dennis Walker - A sad, sad loss. David's knowledge of the history of Origami and enthusiasm for the subject was second to none. I will miss him terribly.
origami Venezuela - Desde Origami Venezuela lamentamos esta pérdida irreparable y nos unimos al tributo de David conjuntamente con BOS.
Arnold Tubis - David and I were contributors to a very idiosyncratic circulating magazine called "Fold" in the 1980s. (Other members of "Fold" included James Sakoda, ,Florence Temko, Alex Barber, Mark Kennedy, Michael LaFosse, V'Ann Cornelius, and Nick Robinson.) I fondly remember the many very lengthy origami historical gems that David submitted issue after issue. I finally met him at a NYC Convention in the 1990s, and over the years he was very helpful in digging up hard-to-find information on various facets of the remarkable history of contemporary origami. He was a perfect gentleman of the "old school" and will be sorely missed. Arnold Tubis, Carlsbad, California, USA
Leyla Torres - I looked forward to opening the messages from the o-list and finding a message from David Lister. It was always like a treat of well researched origami history. I remember one time when he made a comment on the list regarding his considering not to continue participating. Many of us wrote back to persuade him not to follow through with such an idea. I met David in the spring of 2008 at the 41st BOS convention in Nottingham. For the photo taken to the group of attendees, I made sure to sit on the ground, very close to the chair where he was sitting. This is a very sad loss for the origami community. My heart cries today! Thank you David for sharing with all of us your great knowledge.
jassu - Thank you for all you have done. We talked about some issue at 2007, and you left me a homework. I'll do that for you and the origami history. Rest in peace.
Clare - David, I will sorely miss those wonderful historic tomes. I have always shared that passion for the historical background of origami and all things paper. Thank you for leaving such a great, scholarly legacy.
Andy Wilson - When I first discovered the BOS I devoured nearly everything David had written. As much fun as I was having folding things, the history of origami was still mostly opaque to me: his articles were a treasure trove.

Years later I was able to attend one of the conventions (Spring 2003, Nottingham). I was hanging around the bar one evening listening to Nick Robinson explain that poppadom was in fact an acronym when a voice from a table in the corner caught my attention. David's accent and choice of vocabulary reminded me so strongly of his style of writing that I knew who it was at once. To this particular Yank it felt like a brush with fame.

I will miss him. We will all miss him. We are the better for having known him and diminished by his departure. On the other hand, perhaps now we can look forward to his reports on the traditions of origami as practiced in heaven!
Ilan Garibi - 4 years ago I published my ABC models, made from the Folds of Beauty base. I was amazed, and tremendously happy when a letter from David Lister to the Olist praised my work, with some historical data regarding Froebel, ABCs in general and many anecdotes regarding origami. That was my first encounter with this great man and his vast knowledge, and his encouragement was one of the biggest reasons for me to believe I can be who I am today.
Thank you and may you rest in peace!
Louise Yale - After exchanging some informative emails with David, I was thrilled to meet him in person at a BOS convention in Cambridge in the fall of 2002. He was charming, delightful, witty, funny and always had new information. He will be missed. Louise Yale, Redwood Valley, Mendocino County, California
Sanja Srbljinovic Cucek - Deepest condolances to the family and friends. We have lost the first origami historian. Sanja Srbljinovic Cucek
Emma Tysoe - So sad you always think everyone in origami lives forever as they've shared so much. I knew David and remember his little snooze at the meetings :) I'm sure he's hanging out with all the other origami greats wherever he is
Françoise Halvorsen - I am so sad. I wish to have met David personally to thank him for all the wonderful essays he wrote. It was thanks to his "list" that I got so interested in the History and culture of Art Folding. My deepest condolences to his family. May his tribute and memory be always a source of inspiration....
evi binzinger - so sad! the origami world lost a very competent and friendly folder.
Chila Caldera - Dear David Lister. I never met him in person, but I’ve read many of his fascinating “white papers” on the BOS site, I communicated with him via email. He helped me assemble my short history of origami for my exhibit in Tehachapi CA last spring. He collaborated on some designs that friends of mine worked on. He contributed those wonderfully illuminating posts to the O-List ever since I first joined in 2001. For the first few years, David Lister *was* the O-List, for me. He was erudite, generous, kind, yes. I frequently day-dreamed about collaborating with him to write a definitive, all-encompassing history of paper-folding. I hope someone can use his archives to do that someday. I will miss him, mucho! :-( RIP David Lister. May your memory and contributions be with us, always.
chtikechtakelaguelak - Th Origami world lost his major historian and an exceptionnal human being. Deepest condoleances to his family and close friends from France.
Joel Stern - When I discovered the world of origami back in the early 1970s, there were many names of folders I knew from books. I also knew Lillian Oppenheimer through my frequent visits to the Origami Center. What I didn't know was how all these people were interrelated, and what specifically did Lillian do to foster this movement that has encompassed the world. Thanks to David Lister, we all now have the answers to these questions. As the origami world's prolific and eloquent historian, he was committed to seeking out and sharing the truth, articulately and with great humor. David did not only share facts—he shared wisdom; and that’s what makes his contribution to the origami world so extremely valuable. He created a body of work that will serve as a primary source for researchers into our wonderful art for many generations.
Eric Madrigal - I don't have enough words in english to express my feeling so, excuse me for my words in spanish: En el 2010 dediqué las Justas con el tema del Antiguo Egipto a David Lister por su magnífica contribución al recuento histórico del origami en el mundo. Hoy lamento profundamente su fallecimiento y espero poder recopilar información para incluir en nuestra próxima revista y que todos aquellos que no conocían su labor puedan percatarce de la magnitud de su obra y se conduelan con tan lamentable pérdida. David: todo lo que se sabe de la historia del origami tú lo revisaste y lo hiciste creible con una gran y minuciosa percepción cientìfica, pero también abriste increíbles debates que lograron hacer comprender mejor los acontecimientos y algunos más que aun están irresueltos esperando que otros puedan continuar tu obra histórica. Sin duda tu legado vivirá por siempre en esta comunidad origamista que tanto te admiró.
Fernando Nascimento - Saudades David. In one of his texts about egyptian maps which I translated into portuguese David wrote "...comes to us as a unique blend of art, history, science, mathematics and not least, paperfolding." All his texts had this unique characteristic, this exquisite blend of kindness and knowledge. miss you.
Andrew Hans - The world has lost one of the Origami greats. I looked forward to anything David had written on the history of Origami, and would have loved to see it all compiled in a book. We had some private emails about eyes, and eyeglasses, and I shared some advice with him on the types of glasses available. I never had the chance to meet him in person, and I am sad about that. His Origami spirit and knowledge is not lost, however, and will be talked about for years and passed down to future folders. May his memory be a blessing to all who knew him.
Saadya Sternberg - The thing is I have so much to say to him and only him. “We’ve found the exact dates of the 1955 Yoshizawa Stedelijt exhibition!” (Actually it was Laura Rozenberg who found it.). “We know the moment and the reason why Amsterdam rather than Paris was chosen for where origami would first be shown in a museum!” --No one else cares about such arcane details. No one else could have made so many of us care. —Saadya
YAMAGUCHI Makoto - David Lister was a remarkable historian and an extraordinary person. I was fortunate enough to have met with Lister during last year's BOS convention in Birmingham. At the time, I was filming short videos of origami luminaries for historical documentation. We were so lucky to be able to record Lister while he was still alive. His passing is a regrettable loss to me and to the entire origami community.
JOAS - The Japanese Origami Academic Society extends its deepest condolences in remembrance of David Lister. The world will continue to learn from the extensive knowledge of origami history chronicled in his writings, and through them his voice will live forever.
Dave and Assia Brill - Fond memories of a great man
Jeff Beynon - My sympathy & condolence to David's family & many friends. He was a man truly devoted to the world of origami.
janneke & pieter wielinga - At unexpected moments, it happens that great pillars suddenly fall down. The passing away of David Lister is such a moment we think. We have good memories of a common breakfast, somewhere in Germany, and more of these little chit-chat's. The origami world has lost a remarkable man. A nice man.
Joanne Ortman - I will never forget how kind David and Margaret were opening their home to me and taking me to nearby sights when I attended the BOS convention in 1996. I had the privilege of seeing the Lister library which I imagine has grown since. As a member of FOLD I turned first to his articles and thought I was privileged to receive personal correspondence on a number of topics. I have since learned that many others were so privileged. He was a man who gave of himself.
Asociación Ecuatoriana de Origami - Es una pena irreparable para el Origami, si en el cielo existe papel seguro que Dios estará plegando con él It´s a terrible loss to the origami community, if there´s paper in the sky; God should be folding with David by his side.
Alex Malekshahian - I was very sorry to hear the tragic news. I have never talked to David in person but his invaluable research proved useful to me numerous times. We have lost a man of great value, kindness, and limitless knowledge. He will be forever missed. David, may you rest in peace up there. You will never be forgotten. You remain in our hearts, and as long as origami will exist you will exist! Farewell.
Asociación Educativa Origami Perú - Si algo se conoce de la historia del origami es gracias a nuestro querido David Lister... que nos dejó un ejemplo de esfuerzo, dedicación, pasión por la investigación, pasión por el origami... Desde aquí nuestras condolencias a la familia y a nuestros hermanos y hermanas del origami... DESCANSA EN PAZ... DAVID.
David Medina y Annabel Palacios - "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years"... Origami life.... Thank you David Lister

Edwin Corrie - I was away for a few days and just found out the news when I got back. David's passing is a great loss to us all; he made an enormous contribution to origami and will never be forgotten. I have only recently begun to fully appreciate the depth and extent of his historical research work.
Koya Ohashi ( NOA Chairman ) - I am truly sorry for loss of David Lister. I like to send my deepest sympathy and condolences. He had been a great contributor/researcher to history and articles in the origami world. I remembered that he helped Nippon Origami Association members when they visited origami convention hosted by BOS in UK. It is a great loss to the origami world. He will be greatly missed.
Patsy Wang-Iverson - Origami's Mensch!
Insatiably curious,
That's David Lister.

For David Lister
We celebrate your greatness
Through tears and smiles.
Jorge Pardo (Origami Zaragoza) - Condolences to the family, friends and the world of origami
Jose Tomas Buitrago - For the ones who like folding history, his notes about this topic were a big reference. And better when we asked him about something, two or three days later he wrote a paper about our query.
GabiOrso - Condolences to the family, friends and the world of origami from Chubut-Patagonia Argentina.
Thank you David for sharing with all of us your great knowledge!
Himanshu Agrawal - David Lister was rightfully the greatest Origami historian. I would follow his posts on the O-list and on the BOS website with great enthusiasm. His writings made me realize the extent and importance of Origami History and the correct order of events. Fascinating! His knowledge can never be replaced. It's unfortunate that I could never meet him. It feels like the Origami family has lost a Founding Father. RIP David Lister.
Viviane Berty (Mouvement Français des P - Ce que l’homme a de plus cher est sa mémoire. L’origami doit beaucoup à ses créateurs et autant à ses historiens. David Lister fut l’un d’eux, et de plus, une personne aimable. Nous partageons la douleur de sa famille et de ses amis.
What man holds dearest is his memory. Origami owes a lot to its creators and as much to its many historians. David Lister was one of them, and furthermore, a amiable person. We share the grief of his family and friends.
Richard Lister - Thank you everyone for all the wonderful messages, which have been a great comfort to us in the days since my father died. I don't think we fully realised quite how appreciated and admired he was across the globe! It seems apt to share something that David wrote in 1989 - I included it im my tribute to him at the funeral:

“One of the delights of taking part in the origami movement, in attending conventions, writing to people and sharing the riches of our pastime is the great variety of people we meet and the friends we make. Philosophers and engineers, mathematicians and mystics, artists and illusionists, creators and performers: there’s a place for them all in the World of Paper Folding. It is a rich world filled with wide vistas and hidden byways, great wonders and tiny jewels. And all of it is found within the four sides of a simple square of paper.”
Dave Brill - Tribute written for Tanteidan/JOAS magazine March 2013

When I first attended a British Origami Society convention in London, April 1975, David Lister was one of the first people I met. Throughout my 40-odd year involvement with the Society, I got to know him very well, as a fellow council member and official, but also as a wise friend whose advice I frequently sought and followed.

David had a vast knowledge on all things to do with origami: its history, its styles, its techniques and personalities… He wrote many essays about origami related topics: these have been collected by the BOS for all to share.

Over the years, he gathered an immense origami library of books and had a lively correspondence with origami friends worldwide. He was a BOS founder member, and David held various official positions over the years: Chairman, Legal advisor, and Council member. As a lawyer he was ideally placed to establish and perfect the rules and constitution of the society, and most importantly he oversaw the BOS’s successful application to be a UK Charity in 1985. This had substantial benefits for the BOS, and underlined its commitment to educate and inform the public about origami.

David Lister had strong links with Japan which he visited twice: we travelled together to the Second International Meeting of Origami Art and Science in Otsu in November 1994 where he lectured on origami history.
Well known and respected by Akira Yoshizawa, David attended his beiju celebrations in Kyoto in 2000.

He gave a lecture describing the life of Yoshizawa when the master visited the UK as one of the guest of the BOS for its 30 anniversary celebrations in York, 1997.

David was an enthusiastic visitor to origami meetings in other countries, including Italy, Germany, Spain, USA, and he was always present at BOS conventions, until health problems prevented him travelling a couple of years ago. However we were pleased to see him in Birmingham April 2012, along with the other BOS founder members who were specially celebrated at this convention.

One of the pillars of the origami establishment has fallen. David Lister will be much missed by his many friends and correspondents, who can take some small consolation that his work and knowledge lives on.
Joan Michaels Paque - What a great loss David Lister is to the origami community. His historical contributions to the greater community are even more greatly appreciated. His brilliance and commitment to help left a legacy for all those that follow in the future. I am personally indebted to him for all the assistance he gave me in researching Fujimoto and other luminaries.
Condolences to his family and friends. May he rest in peace
Tony O'Hare - I've just gone onto the BOS website and seen the photo of David and all the tributes. Oh No! I said to myself. What a great loss to the world of origami. He was a wealth of knowledge, and you could count on David to research as much as it was possible to do so! Such enthusiasm too for an art he loved. My sympathies to his family.
Kathy Knapp - When I first hear of David Lister’s death, I wanted to write, but I first needed to compose myself. Then time has passed, and I need to delete his e-mail address from my inbox and write a few word here. For the most part I just need to say “Ditto”. Now, I am not sure if that is a word commonly used in England or not, and if it isn’t, David and I would have a friendly conversation about it. The Internet has made correspondence ‘across the pond’ so easy. Sadly, I never met him face to face, but feel that I have met him. He was able to help me determine information about an obscure origami book I had obtained, even asking his daughter-in-law, for help in translating. Transoms, string figures, what makes a city a city in England, (it has a cathedral), sharing an obscure article that my nephew was able to track down while he worked in the U of I library - oh so many occurrences are coming back, as it seems we all can related to. He was a giant in the paper folding world, and now a giant sized hole is left. He is missed by me. I feel blessed to have had a tiny part of his time.
George Ho (Australia) - Dear David,
Thank you for your generosity in sharing your rich knowledge in History of Origami. The book has long been published in our hearts.
RIP
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