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Peter Shapiro collection

Identifier: MG Shapiro-(Offsite)
The collection consists largely of material documenting Peter Shapiro's political career and interests, both in Essex County and statewide. References to Newark or to political activity and issues affecting Newark, are scattered throughout the collection. Contents are as follows:

Box 1: photocopies of newspaper and magazine articles, mostly documenting Shapiro's campaigns and accomplishments in office, arranged chronologically,1975-1982

Box 2: photocopies of newspaper and magazine articles, mostly documenting Shapiro's campaigns and his accomplishments in office, arranged chronologically, 1983-1986

Box 3: photocopies and originals of gubernatorial campaign clippings (including background and the primary), 1984-1985

Box 4: photocopies and originals of gubernatorial campaign clippings, Aug-Sep 1985

Box 5: files of photocopies and originals of clippings, press releases, notices, etc. Mostly relating to Shapiro's work as Essex County Executive. Not in chronological order. (1979-1986)

Box 6: photographs, black and white and color, mostly of Shapiro's public appearances as County Executive

Box 7: Miscellaneous documents, including a report on Shapiro's accomplishments as County Executive, a c.v., a budget message, several files of campaign ads (clippings), a list of his Assembly votes, and several speeches.


  • 1975 - 1986

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.


2.92 Linear Feet (7 Hollinger boxes)

Biographical / Historical

Peter Shapiro (b. 1952), a native of Newark, graduated from Columbia High School in Maplewood, NJ and received his BA from Harvard University in 1974. After graduating from college, Shapiro interned at the Wall Street Journal and then joined the administration of Governor Brendan Byrne as an assistant to Alan Sagner, the State Commissioner of Transportation. In 1975 he was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly by a narrow margin. At 23 Shapiro was the youngest person ever elected to the New Jersey Legislature; he served two terms from 1976 to 1979. In 1978 he won the Democratic nomination for a newly created position, that of Essex County Executive. Running on a platform promising open and efficient government, he was elected County Executive with 62 percent of the vote. He easily won re-election with roughly 70% of the vote in 1982. The Washington Post called him the "Wunderkind of Essex County"; he was considered the second most powerful person in the state after the governor.

Shapiro was the Democratic candidate for New Jersey governor in 1985 after defeating four others, including Newark Mayor Kenneth Gibson, in a hard-fought primary contest. Shapiro, then only 33, presented himself as the candidate of "new ideas." In the general election he was defeated by popular incumbent governor Thomas Kean in a landslide. Shapiro's political career ended in 1986, when he lost his re-election bid for a third term as Essex County Executive to Nicholas R. Amato. Shapiro then entered the private sector, working first for Citibank (1987-1993), then for Euro Brokers (1993-1997), and finally founding and becoming Managing Director of the Swap Financial Group in 1998.
No finding aid, text from

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