Following service with a tank battalion in the Alaskan and European theaters, David Kaser earned degrees from Houghton (AB, 1949), Notre Dame (MA, 1950), and Michigan (PhD, 1956). He then served as Director of Libraries at Vanderbilt University for eight years and at Cornell University for five , and he began teaching at Vanderbilt and at Syracuse University. He joined the IU faculty in 1973, where all of his teaching was at the graduate level in the School of Library and Information Science.
Professor Kaser wrote, edited, or co-authored fifteen books and some 200 papers, edited two national journals, refereed numerous manuscripts, and participated in many colloquia. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1967 and received other funding for his work from such sources as the National Historical Publications Commission, the Pacific Cultural Foundation, and the American Philosophical Society. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa, he also served as international president of Beta Phi Mu, the honor society in his field.
Professor Kaser long maintained an active presence in many parts of the world. He crossed the Pacific Ocean twenty-four times and the Atlantic Ocean thirty-six times researching, lecturing, and consulting for such diverse agencies as the Asian Development Bank and the Agency for International Development. Despite frequent absences from campus, he never cut a class.
At IU he taught regularly in Bloomington and at IUPUI, and he offered frequent lecture courses across the State through the IHETS television facility. He directed fifty doctoral dissertations here and served on many advisory and dissertation committees. The University presented him a Distinguished Teaching Award in 1981 and the rank of Distinguished Professor in 1986. In the latter year former students and colleagues published a Festschrift in his honor; and upon his retirement from active teaching they endowed a University lectureship in his name.