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Nat G. Bodian Collection

Identifier: MG Bodian -(Main)

Scope and Contents

This collection is divided into two series, 7 boxes of background files (or "work files") relating to the online essays and 21 binders (numbered SB 1-21) containing copies of the essays and comments from readers. The background material includes printouts of reference materials, notes, drafts of essays, clippings, printouts of lists of article references found in the New York Times online, correspondence connected to Bodian's research on a particular topic, and e-mails received from readers of the essays.

The work files are arranged roughly in chronological order, but do not precisely reflect the chronology of the essays' appearance online. The topical files have been numbered, by Bodian, to link to the numbered sections in the series of binders. The contents of the boxes are as follows:

BOX 1: Files on -- Montgomery Street, Weequahic Park Sports, Abe "Longy" Zwillman, Prince St., High Street YM-YWHA, Housecraft, Theaters: Neighborhood, Newark Radio, Street Vendors in the 1920s, Penny Candy, Third Ward Business, Mosque Theatre, Newsreel Theater, Monmouth Chatter, Hebrew Orphanage, Big Department Stores, Four Corners Traffic Tower, Laurel Garden, Nat Bodian: Teenage Reporter, Odd World War II Newspaper ("The Bodian Bugle"), Election 1940, Weequahic Diner, Burlesque, Third Ward Authors, Sunday Call, Beth Israel Hospital, Justice William J. Brennan, Cushing VFW Post, VA/GI Bill, Bergen Street Bookshop/Bro-Delle, and Third Ward Historic Synagogues.

BOX 2: Howard Garis / Uncle Wiggily, Newark News, Monmouth St. School, Third Ward Movie Houses, Lincoln Park Parades, Schary Manor, Circus, Name-Changes, Tavern Coconut Cream Pie, Newark Jockey (Victor J. "Buddy" Brown), Bullfights in Newark, George Bush (Newark newspaper publisher), Dreamland Arena, New Dreamland Arena, Jewish Presidential Ties, Tavern Restaurant, Businessman's Life in the Third Ward, Morning Star, Essex Junior College, Watson Bagel, Untold Story of New Dreamland Skates, Riviera Hotel, St. Barnabas Hospital, Zwillman Funeral, Call Supplement, Prohibition, 1920s Fads, A Recollection of Newark of 1939 & after the Riots, and a general file of clippings on Bodian and material on U.S. presidents.

BOX 3: Nazis in Newark, The Shvitz, The Shvitz: Sources, Newark the Beautiful, Untermann, Newark "Y" Movement, Presidents in Newark, Wartime Newark, 1880's Newark Boxing, Newark Trolleys, Newark Scenic Postcards, Louis Bamberger, Branch Brook Cherry Blossoms, Newark's Tallest Building, Globetrotters, Armistice Day Remembrance, JFK Assassination Recollections, Newark: Cradle of Cycling.

BOX 4: Newark's Jewish Mayor - Meyer Ellenstein (4 files), Paul Stellhorn Report on Ellenstein (with publicity material, text of Stellhorn's 1997 presentation, and Stellhorn obituary), Newark of 1835-36, Rise and Fall of Puddy Hinkes, Syd's Hot Dogs: A History, Reporting from the Field, Life inside the Newark Evening News, Weequahic Park Boat Races, Ruppert Stadium, Old Newark Memories vs. History, Ideal Vegetarian Restaurant, Third Ward Gods, Landsmanshaftn of Newark (2 files), Tavern Coconut Cream Pie Recipe Revealed, Newark's Telephone Newspaper, Kessler Grocery.

BOX 5: Newark Newsman's Scariest Story (Bill Gordon's coverage of the Southern civil rights movement), Earlier Newark Sunday News, Newark Drive-In, Jerry Nusbaum, Newark to Amazon, Bolem: World Scoop, Newark Jewish Boxers, Ernie Pyle's Newark Connection, Newark's Own Ernie, Newark's Oldest Standing Synagogue Building (Congregation Oheb Shalom), Third Ward Depression Hang-Out, Jewish Names/Nicknames, Charles Norton, Bergen Street Notes, Bergen Correspondence, Park Theater, Moe Berg 1934 Daring-D, Bergen Final, Jews in Weequahic, Flagpole / Newark's Tallest Building, Weinstein's.

BOX 6: Newark Bears Knot Hole Gang, Newark City Commission Election, Down Newark on V-E Day, New Jersey Jewish Funeral Homes, Sky Book Store, A Newark Anomaly (IDT Company), World War II Correspondence, Newark Newspapermen during World War II, Snapshots of War Memories, Newark Star-Eagle, Elving's, Millman's (3 files), Old Newark Business Slogans, Newark's Role in Rock & Roll, Ted Fiorito.

BOX 7: Material for Bodian's 2004 talks on the Old Third Ward, with various maps of the Third Ward, and files on the Weequahic Diner, Public Baths of Newark, South Side, Newark Mountain, and Newark history (general).

The binders series (SB 1 - SB 21) includes copies of online essays and e-mailed comments, as well as materials on particular areas of Newark history gathered by Bodian in the course of his research The first eight binders (labeled "Recollections," contain copies of the 128 essays as they appeared online, followed by readers' comments on each, and in some case related background materials (probably not duplicated in the boxes described above). The numbers assigned to each essay in the binders matches the numbering of the work files in the boxes described above. The contents of these binders are as follows: SB 1: Recollections (Essays) #1-10. SB 2: #11-30. SB 3: #31-44. SB 4: #45-60, SB 5: #61-80. SB 6: #81-97, SB 7: #98-115. SB 8: #115-128.

The remaining binders contain research materials and a schedule of Bodian's historical lectures. The contents of these binders are as follows: SB 9: Airport Histories. SB 10: Newark History: 1939 WPA Guide. SB 1:1 History of Newark, Vol. 2, Index and copy of Devine's Newark City Street Guide (1895). SB 12: Newark's Last Fifteen Years, 1904-1919: The Story in Outline. SB 13: Newark School History. SB14: Newark: Wikipedia and Schools Timeline. SB 15: Newark: Charles F. Cummings "Knowing Newark columns. SB 16: Star-Ledger 40th Anniversary Riot Wrap-Up. SB 17: Nat G. Bodian, 2005-2007 Publicity. SB 18: Newark Draft Vision Plan (2006). SB 19: Miscellaneous Newark Information. SB 20: BodianTalk Schedule (1996-2009).

SB 21: (Newark History) Dates: 1666-1913 contains a copy of a very detailed timeline of early Newark History originally compiled by the City Clerk's office and "expanded by Frank J. Urquhart"; a list of census figures for Newark, 1826-1910; and lists of Newark mayors and chiefs of police, 1836-1913.


  • c. 1920-2009


Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff. Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.

Biographical / Historical

Nat Bodian (1921-2010) was born and raised in Newark, and later lived in Hillside for 29 years. In 1937 he became a sports writer for the Newark Ledger, as a correspondent for Central High School. He picked up whatever assignments he could get after his graduation from Central in 1939, and by 1940 he had his first by-line article in the Sports Section. From 1942 he served in the Army Air Force in the South Atlantic, and during that time edited several base newspapers. From Ascension Island he issued one such paper, "The Bodian Bugle," especially for Newark servicemen (some photocopies of it are in the collection). After World War II he worked in public relations and as a marketing manager for various publishers, and wrote and published a number of books on marketing and publishing. His keen interest in history led him to develop popular lectures on a wide range of historical topics, especially in Jewish history. He retired in 1988 as marketing manager for John Wiley and Sons. In 2001 Bodian, by then living in Cranford, NJ, began writing personal recollections and essays on Newark history for the web site first known as and later as The site was managed by Glenn Geisheimer, a truck driver for the Star-Ledger. Bodian's contributions can be found in the "Your Newark Memories" section of the site. His work was devoted, as he put it, "to the ongoing reconstruction of Jewish life as it existed" in Newark." In all, Bodian wrote 128 "Newark Memories" essays for the site, tracking the history of Jews in Newark from the early days of immigrant settlement in the Third Ward to the heyday of the Weequahic Section. As he posted his work Bodian received a wealth of comments and additions (including photographs) from readers. He often posted revised/expanded versions of the essays, and he also broadened his scope to include topics of general interest on Newark history. In addition to composing his essays Bodian became a major contributor to the "Newark Trivia" section of the Old Newark site. In 2006, at the age of 85, he was honored for posting his 5,000th trivia contribution.


4.66 Linear Feet (7 boxes and 21 scrapbooks)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Ruth Bodian and The Jewish Historical Society of MetroWest September 2011 NjN

No finding aid, text from (Newark Archives Project)
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center, Newark Public Library Repository

3rd Floor
Newark Public Library
5 Washington St.
Newark NJ 07102 United States