New Brunswick Music Scene Archive One-Year Anniversary Symposium


The New Brunswick Music Scene Archive will mark its one-year anniversary with a panel discussion and exhibit from 6 to 8 p.m. on October 27, 2016 at Alexander Library.

Panelists include Brandon Stosuy, editor in chief of Kickstarter’s The Creative Independent and former editor at Pitchfork; Amy Saville, vocalist and

guitarist of New Brunswick-based Prosolar Mechanics and author of the Hub City Romance series; Kelli Kalikas, studio co-owner and show promoter at In the West recording studio in New Brunswick; and John Terry, former New Brunswick basement show promoter, record label owner, and musician. The event is free and open to the public.

Search all across the country and you are unlikely to find many research collections like the New Brunswick Music Scene Archive. In fact, only a handful of other academic institutions nationwide have begun to preserve in their archives the musical history of their local communities. But a collection such as this seems perfectly fitted to the Hub City, where acts such as Screaming Females and the Gaslight Anthem got their starts in underground venues before moving on to national and international stages.

Since its inaugural symposium last October, the archive has been enthusiastically received by those with connections to the New Brunswick music scene.

“There was a groundswell of interest,” said Christie Lutz, the archive’s co-founder and New Jersey regional studies librarian for Special Collections and University Archives. “We received many, many emails from people who wanted to donate material or share their stories from when they were involved with music in New Brunswick.”

Sometimes a flyer would arrive in the mail without warning or someone would drop by the library unannounced with a handful of records to donate. But many items—patches from the jacket of Ronen Kauffman, author of New Brunswick, New Jersey, Goodbye; or a series of elaborate zine mailers published by the Court Tavern in its heyday—came as a surprise for other reasons.

“These were unexpected because the nature of the materials makes them unlikely to be found in other archives or simply because we had no idea they even existed,” noted Frank Bridges, a doctoral student and part-time lecturer at Rutgers’ School of Communication and Information, who partnered with Lutz to establish the archive. “Ultimately, they help paint a fuller picture of a vibrant era in the city’s history.”

Lutz hopes that the anniversary symposium will build on the momentum the archive has enjoyed since its launch and deepen the conversation around both the collection and the scene.

“This year’s panelists represent very different perspectives than last year’s. Amy can speak to being a woman in a male-dominated scene in the 90s and to writing fiction about New Brunswick. Brandon has done a host of things from running a label to promoting bands, but his roots trace back to his days at Rutgers, DJing at WRSU and editing Inside Beat. And Kelli can speak about running a studio in the city—who comes in to record? How is she perceived as a woman doing this job?”

And while the process of formally accessioning, arranging, and describing the materials is a long one, Lutz already sees a number of opportunities for research and further programming.  She imagines a digital humanities project that maps points of interest across the city, examinations of women and people of color in the scene, or collaborations with other special collections in the state to tell the story of New Jersey music more broadly.

“I’m excited to see what the future has in store,” she said.




By Christie Lutz

Two-hundred and twelve years ago today, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr faced each other in a duel on the cliffs of Weehawken, New Jersey.

Among our Sinclair New Jersey Collection holdings, we have a handful of postcard views and other images depicting the Weehawken dueling grounds, which have seen some changes over the years. The 1810 image below depicts a bucolic scene, with boats gliding by on the Hudson River.

New Jersey Views Photograph Collection
New Jersey Views Photograph Collection

This postcard, mailed in 1919, features the boulder on which Alexander Hamilton purportedly rested his head after being mortally wounded by Burr.  The site depicted here is not the precise site of the duel, however. The boulder was moved from its original spot to make way for train tracks. And today, the bust of Hamilton sits upon a pedestal, with the boulder sitting behind it.

Sinclair New Jersey Postcard Collection

While Alexander Hamilton himself has been the focus of recent interest, Special Collections and University Archives also holds the X-Burr Collection, a collection of books on Aaron Burr that were donated to Rutgers by the Aaron Burr Society. Below is the title page from one of the books in the collection, authored shortly after the duel by Lysander, the pseudonym of federal judge Willam P. Van Ness. Van Ness was a friend of Burr’s who served as his second in the duel.

X-Burr Collection
X-Burr Collection

A New Jersey Recipe: Dey Mansion Orange Cake


By Tara Maharjan

I have always enjoyed cookbooks. I even wrote a whole blog post  about it back in November of 2015. I will post pictures of cookbooks to our Instagram page on occasion. But on one Wednesday morning in April I asked a simple question to our Instagram followers, “Is #WhatsCookinWednesday a thing?” The community of libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies quickly insisted we make this a challenge. (The #LibrariesOfInstagram community likes to challenge other repositories to post pictures of different things each month.) The month of May became a Library Feast (#LibraryFeast). To add to the challenge, it was suggested that people try to make a recipe from a cookbook in their collection.

Cover of the book "Salute to New Jersey:  A Collection of Original New Jersey Recipes and Historical Anecdotes."


I wandered the Special Collections and University Archives closed stacks to see what cookbook I could find. I stumbled upon Salute to New Jersey : a collection of original New Jersey recipes and historical anecdotes. Intrigued by the title, I flipped though the pamphlet to find a recipe entitled Dey Mansion Orange Cake. I enjoy baking and I thought that since Colonel Theunis Dey (the man whose family owned the Dey Mansion) was also a signer of the Queen’s College charter; this would be the perfect recipe to try with a nice hint of Rutgers history.

Recipe for Dey Mansion Orange Cake.


The recipe looked simple enough, though there was no size indicated for the pan, no baking temperature listed, and I was not sure I could buy mace for cooking. (To my surprise, mace is a common enough spice that it can be purchased at the local grocery store.) Three attempts later, I finally made a fully cooked Dey Mansion Orange Cake. I made a few changes to the recipe. Here is my version of Dey Mansion Orange Cake:


  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 medium orange
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (or mace)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup + 1 teaspoon orange juice
  • 1 cup craisins (or raisins)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Bake in a 9 x 13 greased pan at 350 for 30(-ish) minutes

1) Cream together 1 stick of butter and 1 cup of sugar

2) Add 2 eggs

3) Add 1 finely chopped, medium-sized orange (I added the juice that came out of the orange)

4) Alternate adding sifted flour mix (2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon nutmeg (original recipe calls for mace), 1/2 teaspoon salt) and milk (1 cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of orange juice)

5) Add 1 cup of craisins (or raisins)

When finished, remove from pan. While hot, spread glaze on top.

For glaze, 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/3 cup of orange juice whisked together


Summer on the Shore


By Catherine Babikian

The Jersey shore is known for beaches and boardwalks, but what’s for dinner?

Cover, Leland's Ocean Hotel menu, 1880s.
Cover, Leland’s Ocean Hotel menu, 1880s. Sinclair New Jersey Restaurant Menu Collection.

At the turn of the century, wealthy vacationers enjoyed elegant meals at oceanfront hotels. Guests at Lelands’ Ocean Hotel in Long Branch could choose from beef ribs, lobster, and halibut for dinner, and peach pie, chocolate eclairs, and tutti frutti ice cream for dessert.

Leland’s Ocean Hotel wine list. Sinclair New Jersey Restaurant Menu Collection.


In Atlantic City, guests at the famous Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel sat down for afternoon tea, then tucked into roast goose with apple sauce for dinner. Camembert cheese and pineapple pie finished off the meal.

Marlborough Blenheim Hotel, 1931. Sinclair New Jersey Restaurant Menu Collection.

But fancy hotels weren’t the only places to get a good dinner. In the 1960s, Taborn’s Restaurant in Asbury Park served up fried shrimp, scallops, clams, and oysters, along with a wide variety of ice cream sodas, milkshakes, and fresh parfaits for a sweet finish. The lunch menu included grilled frankfurters and blueberry griddle cakes.

Taborn's Restaurant, 1960s. Sinclair New Jersey Restaurant Collection.
Taborn’s Restaurant, 1960s. Sinclair New Jersey Restaurant Menu Collection.

Looking for more shore delicacies? The new Sinclair New Jersey Restaurant Menu collection contains these menus and many more– down the shore and around the state.

Hungry in the Hub City


By Catherine Babikian

When it comes to eating, Rutgers students have always had plenty of options, from pubs and taverns to diners and ice cream parlors. Today, we’ve dug into our archives to get a glimpse of what Rutgers students in the 1980s had to eat.

Shelly’s Ice Cream on Easton Avenue served sandwiches, subs, and most importantly, ice cream sundaes and milkshakes. Students really craving ice cream could order the “Heavy Chevy”: four scoops of ice cream, two sundae toppings, whipped cream, nuts, and sprinkles!

Shelley’s Ice Cream, 1980s. Sinclair NJ Restaurant Menu Collection.

And students looking for Sunday brunch only needed to look to Stuff Yer Face for egg, bacon, or mushroom stromboli–or perhaps a frittata?

Stuff Yer Face, 1980s. Sinclair NJ Restaurant Menu Collection.

The Rusty Screw Tavern offered standard pub fare along with live music and film screenings. In 1984, the restaurant welcomed the Rutgers class of 1988 to campus with a free concert, featuring the new wave band The Resistorz.

The Rusty Screw Tavern, 1984. Sinclair NJ Restaurant Menu Collection.

Later in the semester, students could stop by the Rusty Screw for a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show or The Big Chill.

New Brunswick Music Scene Archive Featured on NJTV


By Christie Lutz

We’re thrilled to have appeared on NJTV News on Friday, February 12th. View the segment or read the transcript here.

The piece features some recent additions to the New Brunswick Music Scene Archive (NBMSA) and a bit of documentary footage of the Court Tavern by friend of the NBMSA Fritch Clark.  The segment was filmed here in Special Collections and University Archives’ preservation lab and processing room–where the magic happens.

Snow in the City


By Christie Lutz

With the first snowstorm of the season approaching, we reflect on the Great Blizzard of 1888, also known as the Great White Hurricane. The storm buried the East coast from Maryland to Maine as well as the Eastern provinces of Canada.  The following images of New Brunswick during the storm are from our New Brunswick Views photograph collection.

George Street
George Street


George Street, looking north towards Albany Street.
George Street, looking north towards Albany Street.


Northwest corner of George and Bayard Streets, south of Church Street.
Northwest corner of George and Bayard Streets, south of Church Street.













Julia Child Sampled Our New Jersey Cookbooks. Why Don’t You?



Black cover of a cookbook that simply treads "Cook Book"

By Tara Maharjan

When I started my Library Science program at Simmons College in Boston, I came across an opportunity to become a Cookbook Librarian at America’s Test Kitchen. The collection is comprised of over 4,000 books ranging from local cookbooks to The Modernist Cuisine. I held the position as a very well fed volunteer for two years. I loved my position but graduate school ended, cookbook librarians are rare, and my passion is archiving. I moved back to my home state of New Jersey and strung together part-time, and sometimes full-time, temporary archiving work until I became  a full-time Processing Archivist in Special Collections and University Archives at Rutgers University.

The Sinclair Jerseyana Cookbook collection came to my attention: forty boxes of cookbooks that needed a finding aid. Finally my interest in cookbooks and my passion for archiving came together! The collection is made up of cookbooks from New Jersey towns,  local churches, schools, and organizations, and companies that operated in the great Garden State. Every book is unique. Some have homemade covers, others are professionally bound; some focus on ethnic cuisine, while a few focus specifically on and promote products to be used. Two of my favorite cookbooks with homemade covers are this wood burned cover from the 1976 cookbook by The Christian Community Shrine of St. Joseph, entitled Our Community Cookbook,


Wood burned cover of a cookbook with a tree and an church represented.

and this screen-printed 1973 cookbook entitled Look Who’s Cookin’, by the Somerville Neighborhood Troop 12 from Rolling Hills Girl Scout Council.


Screen printed cover of a 1973 Rolling Hills Girl Scout Council cookbook entitled "Look Who's Cooking"

Some cookbooks were for a cause.

Cover of a 1907 cookbook with a red cross on the front.

(Muhlenberg Hospital Auxiliary. Cook Book. Plainfield, NJ: The Auxiliary, 1907.)

Other cookbooks were produced to promote products, such as the 1962 Fun-To-Do Party Book, by the Ballantine Beer Company from Newark, or the Gem Chopper Cook Book (seen below) from Flemington, 1902.

1962 Fun-To-Do Party Book, by the Ballantine Beer Company from Newark

Cover to the Gem Chopper Cook Book.


This collection is filled with so many wonderful and unique cookbooks, with dates ranging from 1902-2006, that you just need to check out the collection yourself. Julia Child did in 1992 when she came and received an honorary degree at Rutgers. More information about the collection can be found here.