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Tiny Prince Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MG Nwk Prince-(Main & Offsite)
This collection encompasses Brinson’s personal and professional life, both his life as city worker Carl J. Brinson, and promoter and publisher Tiny Prince. The paper material in the collection includes correspondence, financial papers, invoices and organizational papers regarding Brinson’s publishing, radio, and promotion career. It also includes important materials on Brinson’s city work – including election material, training materials and forms from the Newark Human Rights Commission. This collection also includes a number of nearly unique jazz and nightlife periodicals including runs of Tiny Prince’s published periodicals (Trend, After Hours, Black Mirror News), as well as single issues collected by Tiny Prince of rare jazz/nightlife periodicals published in Newark, New Jersey and New York City. Other materials include posters, a scrapbook, a large photograph collection, awards, buttons and clothing.

This collection contains important material for looking at African-American life in Newark in the 20th century, particularly the jazz/nightlife scene. It also has some important political elements – including material for New Jersey elections spanning over 50 years and material from the Newark Human Rights Commission, which played a vital role in Newark’s history.

The collection is arranged in six series

Dates

  • 1939 - 20111

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission

Extent

8 Linear Feet (9 Hollinger boxes, 13 half-Hollinger boxes, 2 oversized boxes, 1 Paige box)

Overview

This collection consists of the personal records of publisher, writer, promoter, talent scout and Newark city employee Carl Brinson, known as “Tiny Prince”.

Biographical / Historical

Carl Brinson (May 12, 1917 - Aug 22, 2015), known as “Tiny Prince”, was born to Carl Brinson and Mamie Gibson. His mother’s brother was Newark drummer Danny Gibson, and his maternal grandfather owned Newark nightclub Radio Inn and Dancing Academy on Halsey St.

Brinson attended Robert Treat Grammar School (Newark, now 13th Avenue), Hunterdon High School (Hunterdon), Arts High School (resume lists his high school as “Arts High School of Fine and Industrial Arts”) and the New York College of Journalism. He also attended the first class of the IUE Labor Academy.

Brinson was best known as the publisher, writer and editor of many Newark nightlife publications, which he published as “Tiny Prince”. From the 1940s-1960 Brinson wrote various social and nightlife columns in the Herald News. He also wrote for the Amsterdam News (1955-1956) and was assistant advertising manager for New York and New Jersey Age (1956-1958). In 1949, Brinson founded Trend Publishing Co. (later Trend Publishing Associates) which published Trend Magazine (Brinson served as editor), After Hours Magazine (Brinson served as editor), Gospel News, and Black Mirror News (Brinson served as a consultant).

Brinson was also involved in talent scouting and promoting. He served as publicity director for Club World Inc. a non-profit network of clubs and single members from about 1948 to 1952, and was the first black disc jockey to have a remote show on WNJR (1958-1959).

Outside his career as “Tiny Prince”, Brinson worked in Labor Relations at Nopco Chemical Corp (1946- 1960), before getting a job with the Newark city government, where he worked for the rest of his career. With the city, Brinson worked for the Neighborhood Youth Corps (1964-1966) and the Health and Welfare Department (1966-1968). Later he served various positions as part of the Newark Human Rights Commission, where he developed and implemented City of Newark’s Affirmative Action plans and the Tiny Prince Collection, Newark Public Library, Page 3 Minority Business Enterprise Ordinance. Brinson also developed the Newark Job Bank and Training Corp for Newark-based apprenticeships (1987 to at least 1993). Finally, he served multiple positions with the Newark Housing Authority, again focusing on minority groups (1989 to at least 1993). Brinson marshaled his role at the housing authority to ensure that African-Americans and other minority residents of Newark were hired for construction jobs.

Brinson was affiliated with the NAACP, Prince Hall Masons, Frontiers International, the NJ Black Journalists Association, Brain Trust Minority Contractors Association, and the Human and Civil Rights Association of NJ.

He was also active in state, local, and national political campaigns including work with the Irvine Turner Association, Larrie Stalks, Sharpe James, and the Kenneth Gibson Civic Association.

Brinson was the father of Carletta Brinson Mitchell, Marla Brinson, Carlton Keyes, Tawana Brinson, the late Alberta Brinson Wright (1940-1997), Carlos Hockaday and Joyce Brinson Sanchez and grandfather of eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren (as of his death). He was a member of St. Rose of Lima R.C. Church, Newark.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Tawana Brinson

Related Materials

Related items and collections at the Newark Public Library:

 The New Jersey Herald News (under various titles), on microfilm, from 1938-1946 and 1965-1966 (not complete, ask at the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center)

 Swing City by Barbara Kukla which talks about Tiny Prince and his relatives (call number 789.5009749 K958 2002, circulating copies are available)

 Several issues of “After Hours” are in the Al Henderson Collection (call number, MG Henderson Al, in additional box labelled “Box 1”, ask at the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center).

 DVD interview of Tiny Prince by Robert Curvin

Separated Materials

Personal and financial information was removed and returned to the donor. Several CDs, unrelated to Tiny Prince’s life or New Jersey, and a Spanish-English dictionary were also removed.

Removed to poster collection, election posters on: Larrie Stalks, Peter Shapiro, two Ken Gibson, and one Calvin West folder.

Processing Information

The original collection consisted of a binder containing Club World News correspondence (box 1, folders 1-6) all arrived in a binder, along with a few other pieces of correspondence (some of box 4, folder 22). There was also a scrapbook (box 18) and a personal notebook (box 4, 10-11). The rest of the collection arrived in boxes, bags, and manila envelopes with no discernible order. Material was sorted into series based on topic (Publishing and Radio Career, City Career, Biographical and Personal) or type (Publications, Memorabilia and Ephemera, Photographs). The material in the Personal & Biographical Series includes material that may be relevant to both Prince’s government and journalism careers. Publications in series 4a were kept within the collection, on the advice of archivist Elizabeth Parker, due to the rarity of the publications which, as far as we know, are not housed elsewhere. Publications in series 4b were kept in the collection because they were single issues, many were rare, and some were not Newark-related. Thus, they made more sense as part of Brinson’s collection.

Issues of Black Mirror News original to this collection are the issues in v. 10, v. 14, v.15, and v. 16. Issues from v. 1-7 and v. 11 were donated to the CFCNJIC by an unknown source. Issues from v. 9, 11, and 13 (as well as duplicates in v. 1) were removed from the Barbara Kukla Papers (2016). An additional donation from Barbara Kukla was received in 2018 after a scanning project.

The following issues were added to the collection and in the process of scanning: Club World Newsmagazine: Fall 1956, Late Winter 1958, Fall 1959, Winter 1959 and Late Winter 1959 (1959 issues have numbers “vol. 4 no. 5”, “vol. 4, no. 5” and “vol. 3 no. 6”). Only one other edition of Club World Newsmagazine is in the collection (1961) and was not digitized either. After Hours Nov 3, 1949 – Dec 22, 1949 (3 copies of Dec 8, two copies of Dec 1 and 15); Jan 18, 1950 -- – February 24, 1950, March 15, 1951 (title: “Hours After”). Black Mirror News: inaugural, 5 no. 5, 7 no. 9 no. 2 (2 different Feb 2003 and Jan/Feb 2004), 4-5, 8-10, Vol. 10 no. 6, Vol. 12 no. 3 and 9. Other issues were also added but were copies of those that already existed in the collection.

For the scrapbook, fasteners were removed and each page was interleaved with acid-free buffered papers to protect contents. It has been digitized to allow research. Some material was photocopied for preservation purposes, both the original and photocopies are kept in folder.
Author
Beth Zak-Cohen (series 1-4, 6), Tom Ankner (Series 5)
Date
Series 1-5 processed 2016 by Beth Zak-Cohen, Series 6 [photographs] processed 2016 by Tom Ankner. Additional donation by Barbara Kukla, processed 2018.

Repository Details

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

Contact:
3rd Floor
Newark Public Library
5 Washington St.
Newark NJ 07102 United States
973-733-7775