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Andrew Carnegie

Robert 'Roy' Ritchie helped revitalize the Huntington

Robert 'Roy' Ritchie helped revitalize the Huntington

He's an expert on pirates of the Caribbean, and we're not talking Johnny Depp.

He wrote his doctoral thesis on the social history of 17th century New York, a task that required him to learn Dutch. "Not the easiest thing I've ever done," said Robert "Roy" Ritchie, director of research at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens since 1992.

He's broadly knowledgeable about the Huntington's archives, a treasure trove of some 9 million objects, and deeply versed in such arcane topics as 19th century British beach culture.

But during an...