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The Newark Experience: The Arts

The Institute of Jazz Studies

IJS Home

The Institute of Jazz Studies, located on the 4th floor of the Dana Library, is the largest and most comprehensive library and archive of jazz and jazz-related materials in the world. The collection includes material relating to the history of jazz in Newark. Newark Jazz Materials [From the Newark Archives Project]

"A Photo Gallery: The Institute of Jazz Studies Celebrates Its First Fifty Years," Annual Review of Jazz Studies 12, 2002, pp.117-134. Available?

World's Largest Jazz Archive Housed at Rutgers. Short video.

WBGO: Jazz Radio

Newark's jazz radio station. Listen Now

"WBGO Hits 25 Years On Air" Jennifer Odell. Downbeat 71(5), May 2004, p. 16. Available?

New Jersey Center for the Performing Arts

Newark Symphony Hall

Symphony Hall Home

Built in 1925, Newark's Symphony Hall is "New Jersey’s oldest and largest showcase for the arts, education and entertainment programming."

Symphony Hall Memories Project. Compilation of personal experiences that current and former Newarkers and New Jerseyans have had at Newark Symphony Hall.

The Arts

The State of the Arts in Newark.
Jack Tamburri. September 2001.
Literary Arts
Music and Nightlife
Theater and Film

Literary Arts

"The Carteret Book Club of Newark: An Historical Sketch and Bibliography,"
Richard Rabicoff. New Jersey History 92(2), Summer 1974, 93-102. Available?
Records of the Carteret Book Club of Newark, New Jersey
Description and finding aid to the collection at the Grolier Club Library in New York City.

Music and Nightlife

Grand Amateur Concert! At the First Baptist Church, Newark N.J. on Wednesday Evening, May 21st, 1862
Broadside with program.
Swing City : Newark Nightlife, 1925-50.
Barbara J. Kukla. Philadelphia : Temple University Press, 1991.
Discusses Newark as a center for African American music and entertainment in the the first half of the 20th century. Based on interviews with musicians, singers, dancers, comedians, bartenders, waitresses and nightclub owners and their families. Available? 2002 Available?
America's Music: Jazz in Newark
Barbara J. Kukla. West Orange, NJ, Swing City Press, 2014
Jazz in Newark from the 1920s to the present. Includes the stories of locally know artists as well as nationally celebrated Newark musicians. Available?
Rejoice: Newark's Gospel Greats
Barbara J. Kukla. Newark, NJ, 2011.
Calendar featuring Newark gospel musicians. Available?
My Fifty-Two Years in the Music Business in Newark, N.J., 1902-1954
Henry F. Mutschler. Illustrated manuscript in the Cummings New Jersey Information Center collection at the Newark Public Library.
"This typescript filled with detailed accounts of the music teachers of Newark and surrounding towns, of music festivals, music clubs and societies, virtuoso performances, music promoters like Joseph Fuerstman, music in the schools, Works Progress Administration (WPA) music programs, theaters and vaudeville houses, and of the craze for movie theaters...." More... [From the Newark Archives Project]
Newark Music Festival, 1916.
Festival program. More... [from the Newark Archives Project] Available?
Radio Program for WAAM, Newark
Recorded April 12, 1928
Newark's Lost Jazz Shrines [Videorecording]
"Short biographical documentary on ragtime/stride/early jazz pianist and composer Willie 'The Lion' Smith, with special focus on the Newark, New Jersey music scene in the early part of the century." Available?
Sounds of Music: The Dolores Collins Benjamin Story.
Barbara J. Kukla. West Orange, N.J., Swing City Press, 2007.
Dolores Collins Benjamin was the founder (1939) and first director of Newark's North Jersey Philharmonic Glee Club. Available?
[The Early Years of Savoy Records]. [Videorecording] 1998
The early history of Newark-based Savoy Records, one of the most important record labels in the history of jazz and gospel. Available?
The LIve Wire, Woody Guthrie in Performance 1949 Transcript
Transcript of Woody Guthrie's show at the Newark YM-YWHA in 1949.
The Live Wire, Woody Guthrie: In Performance, 1949.
New York, N.Y., Woody Guthrie Foundation, 2007.
Text, lyrics, photos and technical notes on wire recordings, as well as CD of the Newark 1949 recording.
"Newark & Music in the 1950s: Oral History,"
Blue Newark Culture 1990, 46-73.
Special section consists of: Heard, Nathan C. "Remembrances of Little Jimmy Scott in Newark in the 1950s," pp.46-55. Mendelsohn, Fred. "Maybelle, Freddie, & Herman," pp.56-65. ["Big Maybelle", Fred Mendelsohn, and Herman Lubinsky] Candena, Ozzie. "Jimmy, Ozzie, & Herman," pp.66-73. [Ozzie Candena, Jimmy Scott, and Herman Lubinsky] Available?
"Spirit and Redemption: The Soul of Jimmy Scott,"
Gary Jardim. Blue Newark Culture 1990, 74-93. Available?
Faith in Time: The Life of Jimmy Scott.
David Ritz. Cambridge, MA, Da Capo Press, 2002. Available?
"Blue Coda: The Triumph of Jimmy Scott, "
Gary Jardim. Blue Newark Culture 1993, 156-160. Available?
Footprints: The Life and Work of Wayne Shorter
Michelle Mercer. New York, J.P.Tarcher/Penguin, 2007.
Biography of the Newark saxophonist. Available?
Shorter Stories: The Music and LIfe of Wayne Shorter.
Jason Andrew Mitchell. Thesis (M.A.), Rutgers University, Newark, 2014.
JJ's Theme: Newark Jazz Clubs of the 1960s and 70s.
Leo Johnson. Thesis (M.A.), Rutgers University, 2005. Available?
Newark Songbirds: Jazz Through the Years
Newark, N.J., 2010
Calendar featuring women jazz singers from Newark. Available?
"As Baltimore Goes, So Goes the Nation,"
Dan Kochakian. Blues & Rhythm, the Gospel Truth 207, March 2006, pp.8-10.
"Offers a look on the life of songwriter and producer Robert Banks in Newark, New Jersey." Available?
"Conversation with Hal Mitchell: Jazz Patriarch of Newark," Rutgers-restricted access
Gary Carner. Black Perspective in Music 17(1/2), 1989, 109-134. Available?
"The Soul of Trombone--Grachan Moncur III,"
Sean Singer. Cerise Press: A Journal of Literature, Arts & Culture 4(10), Summer 2012.
Oral history interview conducted with Newark trombonist Grachan Moncur III on October 19, 2011.
The Brick: Newark's Artistic Inquiry Into Urban Crisis
Sean Daniel Singer. Thesis (Ph.D.). Rutgers University, 2013.
Focuses on five Newark-born artists to show how close attentive readings of their work can reveal fresh thinking about urban problems. Looks at poet Amiri Baraka and novelist Philip Roth; jazz trombonist Grachan Moncur III; poet Lynda Hull; and photographer Helen Stummer. Available?
[Club Music in Newark],
Blue Newark Culture 1993, 93-155.
  • Jardim, Gary. "Preface," pp.93-95.
  • "Club Music as a form is rooted in disco, but it came into its own in the '80s as underground black dance music after disco's commercial was by far the most popular art form in Newark during the 1980s."
  • Hedge, Kevin. "Growing Up with Club Music in Newark," pp.96-111.
  • Mungin, Ace, Kelton Cooper, and Dave Slade. "The Roots of Club Music in Newark," pp. 112-125.
  • Hayes, Shelton. "The Club," pp. 126-134. [LeJoc and Club Zanzibar]
  • Albert Murphy, Newark's Poet of Style," pp.135-141. [Photoessay]
  • Jardim, Gary. "Al Murphy and the Club Music Aesthetic," pp. 143-155. Available?
A Journey Through the House: Photo Memoirs of Club Zanzibar
Vincent Bryant. Createspace, 2014.
Newark's legendary dance club of the 1970s and 80s. Available?
Sanctuary: A History of Queer Club Spaces in Newark
"Sanctuary is a collaboration between the Queer Newark Oral History Project of Rutgers University-Newark, Yendor Productions, and the LGBT community of Newark to explore, document, and exhibit the city’s club scene."
Out in Newark: Queer Club Spaces as Sanctuary
Historical panel discussion, October 15, 2014.

Choral Societies

Souvenir. M.G.V. Aurora Fest-Konzert zur Feier des Golden Jubilaeums, Freitag, 11. April 1902, Krueger Auditorium, Newark, New Jersey.
Newark, Heinz Printing Co, 1902.
The Maenner-Gesang-Verein Aurora choral society. Available?
Fest-Schrift zum Goldenen Jubilaeum des Maennergesang-Vereins Arion in Newark, N.J.
Newark, N.J., Arion Singing Society, 1909. Available?

Music and Politics

Live, From Newark: The National Hip Hop Political Convention
Niamo Mu'id. Socialism and Democracy 18 (2), July 2004, pp. 221-229.
The the first National Hip Hop Political Convention was held in Newark from Wednesday June 16 through Saturday June 19, 2004. The meeting included delegates from 20 states that put forth a five point national agenda that listed the issues and political demands of the Hip Hop Generation. Rutgers-restricted Access

Theater and Film

Outside Broadway: A History of the Professional Theater in Newark, New Jersey, From the Beginning to 1867.
Lester L. Moore. Metuchen, N.J., Scarecrow Press, 1970. Available?
Movie Houses of Greater Newark.
Philip M. Read. Arcadia Publishing, 2013. Available?
Old Newark Theater Photograph, c.1920
Old Time Newark and Newark Theaters, C.E. Blair Scrapbooks
Two illustrated scrapbooks in the Cummings New Jersey Information Center in the Newark Public Library (974.932 H624). More from the Newark Archives Project.
A Tribute to Newark's Movie Houses
Barbara L. Rothschild. From the Newark Memories site.
Newark's Downtown Theatres
Ron Pasquale. From the Newark Memories site. has brief histories and photos of the following Newark theaters:
After the Final Curtain
Matt Lambros' photographic essays on abandoned theaters includes three Newark theaters: The Paramount Theater; Proctors Palace; and Proctors Palace Roof Theater.
"Perseverance and Perspiration" Spell A.A. Adams and Success
February 23, 1946 newspaper article about A.A. [Adam Adam] Adams, owner of the Adams Theatre (Closed; 28 Branford Place) and the Newark Paramount (Closed; 195 Market Street).
Adams Newark Theater Co. v. City of Newark.
Nov. 5, 1956 Supreme Court ruling. Transcript of record with supporting pleadings. Available?
New Stage for a City: Designing the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
Michael Webb. Mulgrave, Vic., Images Publishing, 1998. Available?

Other Music Collections

Newark Music Collection, 1850-2000.
Newark Public Library collection (Main N.J. Ref. MG NWK Music). Primarily concert programs plus sheet music, organization minutes, receipts, etc.
Musicians Guild of Essex County Records, 1901-ca. 1983.
"Office files of the Musicians Guild of Essex County...Membership included musicians playing with bands and groups, individual performers, members of classical orchestras, and others. Several boxes consist of routine material such as copies of recording contracts, insurance policies, utility bills, mailings from the national union (based in New York City), benefit fund records, ledgers, etc. Other portions of the collection are rich in details of union history (including intra-union conflicts) and the lives and careers of individual musicians." More from the Newark Archives Projects

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