Robert Stacey was born on July 2, 1949, to Harold Stacey and Margaret Ellen West ("Peggy") Jefferys. He graduated from Northview Heights Secondary School in 1968, and went on to earn an Honours BA in English Literature at the University of Toronto in 1972. During the summers, he worked as a library assistant in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections of the University of Toronto Library. After his graduation, he worked for several rare book dealers, and spent six months in England in 1973 working for A. Zwemmer Ltd., a book publisher and dealer. After returning to Canada, in September 1973 Stacey became the manager of Pan Gallery, where he organized exhibitions on posters, private-press ephemera, and more. With the assistance of a grant from the Ontario Arts Council, Stacey began researching Canadian art and writing reviews for Artmagazine and other publications. In 1975, he began first as an apprentice, and eventually as an editor for Dundurn Press. Over the next thirty years he would continue his work as a freelance writer, editor, researcher, consultant, and exhibition curator, and published many essays, reviews, criticisms, and studies on Canadian /art. He is often recognized for his photography research, which allowed the inclusion of images in many important publications. Among his many other notable achievements, Stacy was appointed the first Canadian Research Fellow in the National Gallery of Canada's Research Fellowship Program in 1991. Stacey died of liver failure on November 4, 2007, in Toronto.