On January 18, 2006, The Newark Public Library’s New Jersey Information Center was renamed the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center.
Mr. Cummings, Assistant Director of Special Collections and Statewide Outreach, passed away on December 21, 2005 after a brief illness. He was a valued employee since joining The Newark Public Library on July 15, 1963, and was recognized as the Newark City Historian.
In addition to being the expert source for “everything Newark” as head of the Library’s New Jersey Information Center, Mr. Cummings curated many exhibitions. Two examples are Photo by Dorer: American Photographer and New Jersey Chronicler exhibition and Newarks of the World.
His “Knowing Newark” feature articles appeared regularly in the Star-Ledger’s “Newark This Week” section and many have recently been digitized. He authored/coauthored several books, including Remembering Essex: A Pictorial History of Essex County, New Jersey; Newark, The Golden Age; Newark, An American City; and History of Newark, New Jersey, 1666-2002. Additionally, he provided valuable assistance to countless other authors published works.
Mr. Cummings gave many tours of the neighborhoods of Newark and was a charter member of the Newark Preservation and Landmarks Committee. He dedicated his efforts to saving Newark’s historic buildings.
During his years at the Library, he received numerous awards and honors. He was given the key to the city from former Mayor Sharpe James. He was the co-recipient of the 2005 Public Humanities Award from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities for his exemplary work in the public humanities. The American Library Association’s History Section of the Reference and User Services Association’s presented him with the “Genealogical Publishing Company/History Section Award.” Also acknowledged were Mr. Cummings forty years of public service at the Library, his twenty years as an academic instructor, his twenty-plus years of service to the American Library Association’s history section, and his authorship of countless professional-journal articles and newspaper columns.
Mr. Cummings was an Adjunct Professor at Rutgers University and a much sought-after speaker on topics relating to Newark.
Memorial donations may be made in Mr. Cummings’ name to:
The Robert Treat Endowment
c/o The Development Department
The Newark Public Library
PO Box 630
Newark, NJ 07101
(Please make checks payable to
The Newark Public Library – Robert Treat Endowment)
Charles F. Cummings created The Robert Treat Endowment in 2005 to ensure that the New Jersey Information Center collections are enhanced and preserved in perpetuity.
Image captions: Top, portrait of Cummings. Right: Cummings works with the collection c. 1970.