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Guy Sterling Papers

Identifier: MG Nwk Sterling

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of four series.

Series 1 contains theater programs ranging from the 1920s to 2019, the bulk from the 1990s and 2000s.

Series 1a contains programs from Newark theater, largely NJPAC from opening (1997) until today. There is also material from Symphony Hall, and miscellaneous other theaters, histroical and current (music and film was grouped with theater, as they largely overlap).

Series 1b contains programs from theaters around New Jersey from the 1940s to 2019. Theaters include Count Basie Center for the Arts, Garden State Arts Center, the George Street Playhouse, John Harms Center for the Arts, Kean Stafe, Mayor Center for the Performing Arts, McCarter Theater, Papermill, SOPAC, the State Theater of New Jersey and miscellaneous others.

Series 2 contaions personal papers of Guy Sterling.

Series 2a contains Newark-related materials including papers, publications and photographs. Of note, is material on Newark funerals/memorials, Newark elections, Newark events, Newark musician and various projects planned for Newark.

Series 2a also contains 2 volumes. Volume 1 consists of papers, research fliers etc., for Sterling's Newark Lifetimes series in 2016 where he interviewed prominent Newark residents. Vol. 2 consists of material from the William Brennan statue dedication (2010).

Lastly, this sub-series contains bark from the Washington Tree in Military Park, which is kept offsite.

Series 2b contains materual on Vincent Farrell, a Newark native and charter member of the Newark Athletic Hall of Fame, who was one of the nation's top basektball officials for many years. Material includes three scrapbooks and several folders.

Series 2c consists of one non-Newark item, an issue of Sing Out: The Folk Song Review from 1965.

Series 3 contains research files from Sterling's articles over the years. The bulk of topics related to music, musicians, and those in the music business and their time in Newark, with some other figures. Two key Newark figures, on whom Sterling has collected much material are Lena (Mrs. Parker O) Griffith and Jerome Kern.

The final subseries contains Sterling's research files for his show show "Guy Sterling's Newark" which aired on WBGO 2011-2012. Topics for the show were ecletic and included public figures in Newark - LBJ, JFK and Amelia Earhart, as well as sports figures, Queen of Angels Church, and Newark's relation to the Titanic disaster.

Files in series 3 contain notes by Sterling, printed material, and photocopies of older material including newspaper articles and photographs.

Series 4 contains subject files of material collected by Sterling on the World Cup 1994 and on the Newark Jazz Festival.


  • c. 1924 -2020


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.

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

Biographical / Historical

Guy Sterling

Guy Sterling is an American journalist, author and historian. He spent most of his 35-year newspaper career as a reporter with The Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey. Sterling has published "The Famous, the Familiar and the Forgotten: 350 Notable Newarkers", as well as many articles and programs on Newark history. He has moderated or been a panelist at programs of the Newark History Society, and Newark Library, among many others. In 2016 he hosted a series of programs called Newark Lifetimes with prominent Newark residents and former Newark residents, in honor of the city's 350th anniversary. Sterling also led a series Newark history-related radio segments on WBGO/Jazz Radio 88 entitled “Guy Sterling’s Newark” in 2011 and 2012.

Sterling was born on Sept 23, 1948 to Florence (nee O'Mara, 1918-2004) and Robert (Bob, 1918-2019) Sterling. Robert was born in the Ironbound section of Newark and had a significant career in NJ athletics. He was a graduate of West Side High School, class of 1936. Florence was born in Millburn and also was very athletic, she studied physical education and worked in the field.

Florence and Bob met at Panzer College of Physical Education in East Orange (now part of Montclair State). They married in 1943. Guy has an older brother Robert (1946-) and also had a twin Sally (1948-2017).

Guy graduated from Dunellen High School and University of Virginia. He has an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University. Guy worked for the Courier-News (Plainfield, NJ) from 1970-1971, the Roanoke Times (Virginia) from 1975-1978 and The Star-Ledger from 1980-2009.

Vincent Farrell

Vincent (Vinny, Vincent DePaul) Farrell (1908-1989) and his wife Dorothy (nee Grey, 1912-2008) were best friends of Robert and Florence Sterling.

Vincent and Dorothy were both born and raised in Newark. Dorothy taught at Barringer High school. Vincent was a prominent referee and charter member of the Newark Athletic Hall of Fame.

Vincent was born Jan 3, 1908 in Newark, NJ to James and Theresa Farrell. As a child he lived on Madison St and Hawthorne Ave. He had two sisters, Mary and Teresa, and one brother James Jr. He was a standout athlete at St. Benedict's Prep and Panzer College.

He was the physical education director for the Newark Board of Education. He was an official for basketball, as well as track and field. He officiated at the old Madison Square Garden, as well as the Olympic Games in Finland and Rome, and the Pan-American Games in Chicago and Mexico City.He also officiated for Central American Games and the Harlem Globetrotters. Overall, he officiated at more than 2200 sports events over his career. Farrell also served as recreation director at West Side High School for many years.

Washington Tree in Military Park

The "Washington sycamore or plane" tree is believed to have been in Newark from the time George Washington and his troops camped in the park during the American Revolution until it was cut down due to condition problems in 2009.


3.5 Linear Feet (17 archival boxes. 5 volumes & a large package of bark )

Language of Materials



This is a collection of papers, theater programs, and epherema donated by Guy Sterling.


Series 1-2: Folders are organized in 2 series and then alphbetically by first name / topic.

Series 3: Research files are alphabetical as received by Sterling.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donation of Guy Sterling, Vincent Farrell scrapbooks given to Sterling by Dorothy Farrell

Separated Materials

Removed to the book collection: - Lost Jazz Shrines (includes essay by Amiri Baraka on Newark) - James Street Historic District Master Pla - The Newark Museum Signature Campaign publication (c. 2000s) - Rutgers 1 Washington Park Roof Signage Application for Project authorization Dec 31 2010 - West Side yearbook 1936

Removed to the postcard collection, postcards of: - City hall - Washington monument - Wars of America (2) - Broad St Station

Removed to Special Collections (Art): - New Jersey Tercentery Prints

Removed to poster collection: - "Let’s Celebrate Newark" poster, 1999 - BB King 1987 performance at Symphony Hall poster

Removed to picture collection - Photos of Mrs. Parker O Griffith (Lena) and Griffith delivery van/truck from research files

Beth Zak-Cohen
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