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The Activist Collector
Lida Clanton Broner’s 1938 Journey from Newark to South Africa
Christa Clarke
Rutgers University Press, 2023

Published by the Newark Museum. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.

“After twenty-eight years of desire and determination, I have visited Africa, the land of my forefathers.” So wrote Lida Clanton Broner (1895–1982), an African American housekeeper and hairstylist from Newark, New Jersey, upon her return from an extraordinary nine-month journey to South Africa in 1938. This epic trip was motivated not only by Broner’s sense of ancestral heritage, but also a grassroots resolve to connect the socio-political concerns of African Americans with those of black South Africans under the segregationist policies of the time. During her travels, this woman of modest means circulated among South Africa’s Black intellectual elite, including many leaders of South Africa’s freedom struggle. Her lectures at Black schools on “race consciousness and race pride” had a decidedly political bent, even as she was presented as an “American beauty specialist.” 

How did Broner—a working class mother—come to be a globally connected activist? What were her experiences as an African American woman in segregated South Africa and how did she further her work after her return? Broner’s remarkable story is the subject of this book, which draws upon a deep visual and documentary record now held in the collection of the Newark Museum of Art. This extraordinary archive includes more than one hundred and fifty objects, ranging from beadwork and pottery to mission school crafts, acquired by Broner in South Africa, along with her diary, correspondence, scrapbooks, and hundreds of photographs with handwritten notations.
 

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African American Women Writers in New Jersey, 1836-2000
A Biographical Dictionary and Bibliographic Guide
Moses, Sibyl E
Rutgers University Press, 2006

Selected as a "New Jersey Notable Book for 1995-2005" by the New Jersey Center for the Book
Awarded the 2004 Certificate of Commendation by the American Association for State and Local History​


African American Women Writers in New Jersey, 1836-2000 is the first and only reference book to identify and document the lives, intellectual contributions, and publications of over one hundred African American women writers in the Garden State from 1836 through 2000. Many, such as Jessie Redmon Fauset, Alice Perry Johnson, Sharon Bell Mathis, Ntozake Shange, Claudia C. Tate, Ruby Ora Williams, and Marion Thompson Wright, were born in the state. Others, like Amina Baraka, E. Alma Flagg, Helen Jackson Lee, Gertrude Williams Pitts, and Dorothy Porter Wesley, although not born there, were residents of New Jersey for more than fifteen years, and made significant contributions during that time.

This volume contains biographical and bibliographical information for each author. There are photographs of the writers as well as citations for their published pamphlets, books, reports, and articles. Sibyl E. Moses has enhanced the text with characteristic excerpts from the poetry and prose of selected writers. The two appendixes highlight the distribution of African American women writers in New Jersey both by city or town, and by genre.

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America, the Dream of My Life
Selections from the Federal Writers' Project's New Jersey Ethnic Survey
Cohen, David Steven
Rutgers University Press, 1990
This selection is the first statewide collection of life histories from the Social-Ethnic Studies program of the Federal Writers's Project. They represent for ethnic history what the more famous Federal Writers' Project's Slave Narratives have meant for African-American history.
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American Anti-Pastoral
Brookside, New Jersey and the Garden State of Philip Roth
Thomas Gustafson
Rutgers University Press, 2024
One of the best-known novels taking place in New Jersey, Philip Roth’s 1997 American Pastoral uses the fictional hamlet of Old Rimrock, NJ as a microcosm for a nation in crisis during the cultural upheavals of the 1960s-70s. Critics have called Old Rimrock mythic, but it is based on a very real place: the small Morris county town of Brookside, New Jersey.

American Anti-Pastoral reads the events in Roth’s novel in relation to the history of Brookside and its region. While Roth’s protagonist Seymour “Swede” Levov initially views Old Rimrock as an idyllic paradise within the Garden State, its real-world counterpart has a more complex past in its origins as a small industrial village, as well as a site for the politics of exclusionary zoning and a 1960s anti-war protest at its celebrated 4th of July parade. Literary historian and Brookside native Thomas Gustafson casts Roth’s canonical novel in a fresh light as he studies both Old Rimrock in comparison to Brookside and the novel in relationship to NJ literature, making a case for it as the Great New Jersey novel.  For Roth fans and history buffs alike, American Anti-Pastoral peels back the myths about the bucolic Garden State countryside to reveal deep fissures along the fault-lines of race and religion in American democracy.
 
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American Dictators
Frank Hague, Nucky Johnson, and the Perfection of the Urban Political Machine
Hart, Steven
Rutgers University Press, 2013

One man was tongue-tied and awkward around women, in many ways a mama's boy at heart, although his reputation for thuggery was well earned. The other was a playboy, full of easy charm and ready jokes, his appetite for high living a matter of public record. One man tolerated gangsters and bootleggers as long as they paid their dues to his organization. The other was effectively a gangster himself, so crooked that he hosted a national gathering of America's most ruthless killers. One man never drank alcohol. The other, from all evidence, seldom drank anything else.

American Dictators is the dual biography of two of America’s greatest political bosses: Frank Hagueand Enoch “Nucky” Johnson. Packed with compelling information and written in an informal, sometimes humorous style, the book shows Hague and Johnson at the peak of their power and the strength of their political machines during the years of Prohibition and the Great Depression. Steven Hart compares how both men used their influence to benefit and punish the local citizenry, amass huge personal fortunes, and sometimes collaborate to trounce their enemies.

Similar in their ruthlessness, both men were very different in appearance and temperament. Hague, the mayor of Jersey City, intimidated presidents and wielded unchallenged power for three decades. He never drank and was happily married to his wife for decades. He also allowed gangsters to run bootlegging and illegal gambling operations as long as they paid protection money. Johnson, the political boss of Atlantic City, and the inspiration for the hit HBO series Boardwalk Empire, presided over corruption as well, but for a shorter period of time. He was notorious for his decadent lifestyle. Essentially a gangster himself, Johnson hosted the infamous Atlantic City conference that fostered the growth of organized crime.

Both Hague and Johnson shrewdly integrated otherwise disenfranchised groups into their machines and gave them a stake in political power. Yet each failed to adapt to changing demographics and circumstances. In American Dictators, Hart paints a balanced portrait of their accomplishments and their failures.

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The American Revolution in New Jersey
Where the Battlefront Meets the Home Front
James J. Gigantino II
Rutgers University Press, 2015
Winner of the 2016 New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance Authors Award for the Edited Works Category

Battles were fought in many colonies during the American Revolution, but New Jersey was home to more sustained and intense fighting over a longer period of time. The nine essays in The American Revolution in New Jersey, depict the many challenges New Jersey residents faced at the intersection of the front lines and the home front. 
Unlike other colonies, New Jersey had significant economic power in part because of its location between the major ports of New York and Philadelphia. New people and new ideas arriving in the colony fostered tensions between Loyalists and Patriots that were at the core of the Revolution. Enlightenment thinking shaped the minds of New Jersey’s settlers as they began to question the meaning of freedom in the colony. Yeoman farmers demanded ownership of the land they worked on and members of the growing Quaker denomination decried the evils of slavery and spearheaded the abolitionist movement in the state. When larger portions of New Jersey were occupied by British forces early in the war, the unity of the state was crippled, pitting neighbor against neighbor for seven years. 
 
The essays in this collection identify and explore the interconnections between the events on the battlefield and the daily lives of ordinary colonists during the Revolution. Using a wide historical lens, the contributors to The American Revolution in New Jersey capture the decades before and after the conflict as they interpret the causes of the war and the consequences of New Jersey’s reaction to the Revolution.
 
 
 
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America's Working Man
Work, Home, and Politics Among Blue Collar Property Owners
David Halle
University of Chicago Press, 1984
Over a period of six years, at factory and warehouse, at the tavern across the road, in their homes and union meetings, on fishing trips and social outings, David Halle talked and listened to workers of an automated chemical plant in New Jersey's industrial heartland. He has emerged with an unusually comprehensive and convincingly realistic picture of blue-collar life in America. Throughout the book, Halle illustrates his analysis with excerpts of workers' views on everything from strikes, class consciousness, politics, job security, and toxic chemicals to marriage, betting on horses, God, home-ownership, drinking, adultery, the Super Bowl, and life after death. Halle challenges the stereotypes of the blue-collar mentality and argues that to understand American class consciousness we must shift our focus from the "working class" to be the "working man."
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The Architecture of Bergen County, New Jersey
The Colonial Period to the Twentieth Century
Brown, T. Robins
Rutgers University Press, 2000

Winner of the 2001 New Jersey Historic Preservation Award | Commendation Award from the Bergen County Historic Preservation Advisory Board

Walk or drive through any of Bergen County's seventy communities and you will find telling reminders of a wonderfully rich and diverse architectural history--the legacy of three hundred years of settlement, growth, and change.

The Architecture of Bergen County, New Jersey presents an accessible overview of the county's architectural heritage and its historic structures. The volume explores the styles, trends, and events that influenced the design and setting of the region's buildings. More than 150 photos document Bergen County's architectural treasures, generating awareness and appreciation for these structures and their history.

The book is arranged chronologically, beginning with the arrival of European settlers in the seventeenth century and ending in the late twentieth century. Each chapter opens with a brief historical background and follows with a description and analysis of building types common to Bergen County for the period. Some structures, such as the Hermitage in Ho-Ho-Kus, the Vreeland House in Leonia, and the Bergen County Courthouse in Hackensack, are of regional, even national, significance.

The book also highlights delightful surprises. Examples include a large number of picturesque houses that were built from the designs published in mid-nineteenth century architectural pattern books, the home of an early African American newspaper publisher, and two homes in Paramus and Washington Township whose exterior walls are made of mud.

The Architecture of Bergen County, New Jersey demonstrates the close association between architectural development at the national and local levels, and shows how social, technological, and political changes occurring within the county have been reflected in the building types and styles of the area.

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An Athletic Director’s Story and the Future of College Sports in America
Robert E. Mulcahy
Rutgers University Press, 2020
Robert Mulcahy’s chronicle of his decade leading Rutgers University athletics is an intriguing story about fulfilling a vision.  The goal was to expand pride in intercollegiate athletics.  Redirecting a program with clearer direction and strategic purpose brought encouraging results.  Advocating for finer coaching and improved facilities, he and Rutgers achieved national honors in Division I sports.  Unprecedented alumni interest and support for athletics swelled across the Rutgers community.
His words and actions were prominent during a nationally-reported incident involving student athletes.  When the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team players were slandered by racist remarks from a popular radio talk show host, Mulcahy met it head on.  With the coach and players, he set an inspiring example for defending character and values.
Though Mr. Mulcahy left Rutgers in 2009, his memoir reflects continued devotion to intercollegiate athletics and student athletes.  His insights for addressing several leading issues confronting Division I sports today offer guidelines for present and future athletic directors to follow.
 
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