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Noted NJ Historian Explores Newark Librarians’ Parallel Lives in "Charles F. Cummings and John Cotton Dana: Proud to Be Newarkers"
Press Release September 29, 2006
For information, please contact:
Heidi Cramer – (973) 733-7837

Two revered Newark citizens will be remembered by noted New Jersey historian John T. Cunningham, Wednesday, October 18 at The Newark Public Library in a lecture entitled: “Charles F. Cummings and John Cotton Dana: Proud to Be Newarkers.” Though they were born almost a century apart, both Dana and Cummings held a common love for the City of Newark and dedication to making its library the finest in the state and one of the most respected in America.

The 11th Annual John Cotton Dana Distinguished Lecture, presented by The Friends of the Newark Public Library, starts with a 6 p.m. reception at the main branch of the library, 5 Washington St. Tickets cost $25; senior citizens and students may attend for the special price of $5. Reservations are encouraged.

"The Newark Public Library has been blessed with trailblazing, unique and dedicated employees; from its turn-of-the-century second director John Cotton Dana to Newark City Historian and head of the Library’s New Jersey Division Charles F. Cummings, who died last year to our profound sorrow," noted Director Wilma E. Grey.

"We are pleased to recognize these men and to celebrate their lives through this annual lecture, delivered this year by another of the Library’s treasures, John Cunningham, the founding president of the Friends of the Newark Public Library," Grey said.

Cunningham, known as New Jersey’s "Popular Historian," has contributed extensively to the body of knowledge of New Jersey history, politics, culture and ecology with books, magazine articles, television specials and even short movies depicting all aspects of the Garden State. His first book, This is New Jersey, has never gone out of print and is currently in its fifth revision.

Cummings joined the library staff in 1963, working his way to the position of assistant director for special collections and statewide outreach. During his tenure, he became known as the expert source for "everything Newark," and wrote a weekly column for The Star-Ledger "Knowing Newark." He also served as Newark City Historian, having been appointed in 1988.

John Cotton Dana, the focus of this summer’s three-month exhibit at The Newark Public Library that celebrated the sesquicentennial of his birth, was an innovator and visionary far ahead of his time. He is credited as being one of a group of young librarians working at the turn of the 19th Century to open the stacks for public perusal and create a special children’s library. In Newark he founded the business library, purchased foreign language material for the institution, advertised the Library’s services and collections and was a founder of the Newark Museum.

The annual Dana Lecture recognizes Newarkers who have distinguished themselves in various fields, and in the past has featured such notable Newarkers as Dr. Stephen Adubato, Amiri Baraka, Dr. E. Alma Flagg, Barbara J. Kukla, Samuel C. Miller, Dr. Clement Alexander Price, U.S. Congressman Peter Rodino, Philip Roth, and Richard Wesley.

For more information or to reserve a ticket to the Dana lecture, please call 973-733-7793.


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