NJSAA members are encouraged to share their accomplishments. Let us know if you or your organization has created or published something promoting New Jersey history or if you have been honored for activities relating to teaching or advocating the study of our state. You may also tell us if you have changed jobs or employers or if you've retired.
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The 2015 winner of the Roger McDonough Librarianship Award is Ronald L. Becker. Since 1991, Professor Becker has been Head of Special Collections and University Archives at the Archibald S. Alexander Library, Rutgers University, New Brunswick. A career archivist, he joined Special Collections in 1974 after serving as cataloger and bibliographer for the New Jersey Historical Society. During the past four decades, Becker has had an incredibly productive career and is widely respected and admired in the archives and library communities. To organize and preserve Rutgers’ outstanding manuscript collections, he has obtained more than $4 million in awards from foundations as well as federal and state agencies. He has served on more than a dozen editorial and advisory boards and commissions including the New Jersey State Historical Records Advisory Board and the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission, which he currently chairs. Becker has played a leadership role in many professional associations, including a term as President of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference and as a founding member of the New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance. A past editor of the Mid-Atlantic Archivist from 1983 to 1992, he has published numerous scholarly papers, including his award-winning article, “Ethics in Providing Access,” in the journal Provenance. As a model archivist, dedicated to public service, Ronald L. Becker is entirely deserving of the Roger McDonough Librarianship Award.
The award is named for the renowned Roger H. McDonough (1910-2002), New Jersey State Librarian at a time when the New Jersey State Archives was a department in the State Library. While State Librarian from 1947 to 1975, the archival collections at the State Library vastly expanded. Among many other accomplishments, McDonough planned and supervised the construction of the current New Jersey State Library building. Prior to his long service as State Librarian, McDonough was a reference librarian at Rutgers and the City Librarian of New Brunswick. After his retirement, he became the chief lobbyist for the New Jersey Library Association and obtained legislative support for funding New Jersey’s libraries, including county libraries.
Beginning in 2002 the New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance, along with the New Jersey Historical Commission, New Jersey Caucus of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, and the History & Preservation Section of the New Jersey Library Association, has given this award to a librarian, archivist or manuscript curator for excellence in service to the New Jersey history research community and/or the general public. Previous awardees include Robert Lupp, Elsalyn Palmisano, Charles Cummings, Joseph Felcone, Karl Niederer, Lois Densky Wolff, Joe Klett, David Mitros, Susan Gulick, Bonita Craft Grant, Joseph DaRold, and Janet T. Riemer.
NJSAA member Tim Corlis, Head of Preservation at Rutgers University Libraries Special Collections and University Archives, has receive the 2014 New Jersey Library Association's Susan Swartzburg Award. It will be presented at their annual meeting on June 3, 2014 in Atlantic City. The award is given to in recognition of his statewide leadership and dedication to the preservation or interpretation of archival, library, or historical materials.
Prohibition Gangsters: The Rise and Fall of a Bad Generation: June 13, New Brunswick
The Eagleton Institute of Politics and Rutgers University Press, Rutgers–New Brunswick, host a book talk by Marc Mappen on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. at Woodlawn Mansion on the Douglass Campus, Rutgers–New Brunswick. Mappen is a lecturer in the Department of History at the School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers–New Brunswick, and the former director of the New Jersey Historical Commission. This event is free but RSVP is required. Learn more here.
From Ron Becker, Head of Special Collections, Rutgers University:
I am happy to announce that Bonita Craft Grant has been chosen to receive the 2013 Rutgers University Class of 1962 Presidential Service Award at a ceremony to take place on May 8th. This award honors a member of the faculty, student body, or staff for outstanding volunteer service to government, community, professional and scholarly organizations.
For well over 40 years, Bonita has been the embodiment of public service to the university, to her profession, and to the community in which she lives and serves. As a librarian, she has built a collection documenting New Jersey history that is second to none. It is now ranked among the top regional history collections in the nation. What is even more impressive is her ongoing effort in getting people of all ages, backgrounds, and academic standings to come to the university and the library to conduct research (from high school papers to the highest level professional research), trace family history, work on city planning projects, or simply read novels set in the state of New Jersey.
Bonita has transformed the Special Collections and University Archives reading room into a welcoming environment where everyone is served and made to feel appreciated. In order to accomplish this, she has immersed herself into the New Jersey community. She conducts workshops for teachers on how to teach with primary sources and invites students and teachers alike to visit for orientations and to use the collections. She assists with National History Day and has served as an adviser and a judge at the competitions for years. She also provides welcoming orientations for groups doing genealogy and has been known to spend hours assisting individuals and groups in tracing their New Jersey roots. She has taken a leadership role in Rutgers Day activities and provides the programming for Special Collections and University Archives participation. As a result, dozens of potential Rutgers students and their parents have received insights to some of the library’s most important potential services for them.
Perhaps her most important contributions are to the New Jersey history, arts, and cultural communities which have been endangered in recent year through severe budget cutting measures. She is a lifelong tireless advocate for funding for this community as well as that for the university. As a founding member and officer of the Advocates for New Jersey History, she has been instrumental in establishing and maintaining the annual New Jersey History Issues Convention which is a major statewide advocacy event which teaches the public the importance of history and culture to every citizen’s life. Support is sought for all historical organizations large and small. Awards are given to legislators who support historical organizations and endeavors and to citizens who dedicate themselves to this important cause.
Last year, Bonita was awarded the Maureen Ogden Award, the highest form of recognition given annually to a citizen whose contributions make a profound impact on the support for the history community. She was recognized for her tireless efforts in lobbying for history and culture ultimately resulting in the Hotel/Motel occupancy fee passed by the State Legislature in 2003. This legislation provided for funds dedicated to the history, cultural, and art organizations throughout the state through competitive funding through the New Jersey Historical Commission and the New Jersey State Arts Council for hundreds of the state’s repositories and arts organizations. Rutgers Library Special Collections and University Archives receives over $100,000 in general operating support and special projects grants through this funding as does the Thomas Edison Papers Project at the history department. This policy change has made a profound impact on the State and its benefits to citizens through stable funding of libraries, museums, and arts organizations were immediate. Bonita’s testimony at public legislative hearings and individual visits to key members of the Assembly and Senate were critical to the passing of the legislature and to the community’s continuing efforts to this day to keep the tax as a stable source of funding.Bonita’s service to the citizens of our state does not end with lobbying efforts to the community. As noted earlier, she is known for her work with teachers and students of all ages. She is also a grant reviewer for the State Historical Commission and at least three County Cultural and Heritage Commissions, and is active as an officer of the New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance. She was appointed by the Freeholders to the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission and numerous local and regional advisory boards. When one thinks of champions for the cause of New Jersey history, her name is often at the top of the list.
Bonita is a kind, generous and incredibly modest person who has mentored and inspired several generations of Rutgers students, has assisted with visits to disabled senior citizens, and most recently founded the Rutgers Scarlet Paws and serves as its treasurer. This animal welfare network is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of the humane treatment of both domestic animals and wildlife found living on the New Brunswick Campuses as a result of abandonment, having become lost, or by birth to the aforementioned, and--in the case of wildlife--having become sick, injured, or displaced from their natural habitat. The Scarlet Paws Animal Welfare Network is a collaboration of Rutgers staff, faculty, students, and community volunteers. Scarlet Paws has made a long-term commitment to the welfare and well-being of these animals. It endeavors to promote community awareness of their condition, and to promote, educate, and encourage responsible and timely action by the Rutgers community and appropriate personnel, toward their care, rescue, and placement into a safe and appropriate environment.
As she is in the final month of a Rutgers career already spanning more than four decades, Bonita displays the same enthusiasm for the university, her profession, the community she serves, and the people of the State that she did when she first moved here many years ago. Her legacy will live on far beyond her years on the job. Please join me in congratulating her for a job very well done!
NJSAA member Timothy Hack, a professor of social science at Salem Community College, recently won SCC's Academic Excellence Award for being an instructor that goes above and beyond both in and outside of the classroom. Congratulations to Timothy!
Marc Mappen (NJSAA secretary) has authored a new, fun book, There's More to New Jersey than the Sopranos, published by Rutgers University Press. Below is a clipping from the Star-Ledger review of Sunday, September 19, 2010.
Star-Ledger, Sunday, September 19, 2010
There’s More to New Jersey Than the Sopranos
Rivergate Books, 224 pp., $22.95 paperback
Marc Mappen is the co-editor of the award-winning “Encyclopedia of New Jersey” and author of “Jerseyana: The Underside of New Jersey History,” (both Rutgers University Press). An engaging speaker, he has written for national periodicals and has appeared on the History Channel and National Public Radio.
You can sense the twinkle in his eyes as he tells tales — real, wise and tall — packed with zest, humor, scandal and occasionally tragedy. Annie Oakley, Ulysses S. Grant, Ezra Pound, Shoeless Joe Jackson and others share a common bond with the state that witnessed prehistoric elephants, the explosion of the USS Princeton, a Martian invasion, and such firsts as the phonograph, electric light and movies.
Who needs Tony Soprano, when the Garden State can boast of mobster Al Capone strolling the Atlantic City Boardwalk, or Charles Fort, who collected tales of the weird and whose follower Loren Coleman reported a penguin was teleported to Monmouth Beach?