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Robert Curvin Papers

Identifier: MG Nwk Curvin-(Main)

Scope and Contents

The Curvin Papers consist of biographical materials; correspondence; documents relating to Robert Curvin’s many political, professional, and civic involvements; teaching materials from his honors seminar at Rutgers University-Newark; family and Newark-related photographs; and research, editorial, and publicity files relating to his book, Inside Newark: Decline, Rebellion, and the Search for Transformation (Rutgers University Press, 2014). A few items from the collection, including a copy of Jackie Robinson’s 1958 letter to president Eisenhower and Newark CORE minutes from the early 1960s have been digitized by the Library and are available at


  • Majority of material found within 1954-2015, some copies of earlier material


Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical / Historical

Born February 23, 1934, Robert Curvin was an activist, author, professor, and longtime Newark resident. He received both a BA (1960) and an MSW (1967) from Rutgers University and a PhD in political science from Princeton University (1975). He saw military service in the U.S. Army, 101st Airborne Division. A civil rights activist and leader of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in the 1960s, he served as chairman of the Newark Chapter and as a member of the CORE's National Action Coalition. He helped found Newark’s New Community Corporation, an anti-poverty agency, and was a key figure in the struggle against discrimination in employment in the construction trades and in numerous other civic and political campaigns.

Curvin taught at Brooklyn College (1974 to1978), at Rutgers, and at the City University of New York. He was also Dean of the New School’s Graduate School of Management (1984-1988), and a Trustee of Princeton University (1977-1981). He was on the editorial board of the New York Times (1978-1983), was head of the Urban Poverty Program (1988-1996) and Vice President of Communications (1996-2000) at the Ford Foundation , a Trustee of the RAND Corporation (from 2001), and served or on the boards of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Broad National Bank, and the Newark History Society. Curvin was co-author of “Blackout Looting: New York City, July 13, 1977” (Gardner Press, 1979) and author of 'Black Ghetto Politics in Newark after World War II,' in Schwartz and Prosser eds., "Cities of the Garden State" (Kendall-Hunt Publ., 1977) and “Inside Newark: Decline, Rebellion, and the Search for Transformation” (Rutgers University Press, 2014).

Robert Curvin died at his home in the Vailsburg section of Newark in September 2015.


2.09 Linear Feet (5 Hollinger boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of papers of historian Robert Curvin.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Robert Curvin upon death, 2015

Related Materials

Books by Robert Curvin:

 Curvin, Robert Inside Newark (Main NJ Ref 320.974932 C948in)

 Curvin, Robert Blackout looting! : New York City, July 13, 1977 (Main Stacks 364.164 C948bL)

 Curvin, Robert The persistent minority: the black political experience in Newark.(Main NJ Ref 320.9749 C94)

Panels Robert Curvin spoke at (also available at

 Newark History Society. Newark in the 1960s : a decade of transformation ( Main NJ Ref. Audio 974.932 N42852

 Newark History Society. Newark will get there first : the legacy of Mayor Ken Gibson (Main NJ Ref DVD 974.932 N422wi)

 Newark History Society. A time of hope : Newark's blacks in the 1950s : a panel discussion. (Main NJ Ref DVD 974.93200496 T48 2010)

 Newark History Society. A Tribute to Stanley B. Winters. (Main NJ Ref DVD 907.202 W736 T73).

Separated Materials

Audiotaped interviews are catalogued separately and backed up on “Z” (digital) storage drive include:

Adubato, Stephen, Sr., March 23, 2009

Baraka Amiri (Leroi Jones), May 11, 2009

Berger, Joe Thomas (undated)

Block, Steve, August 18, 2008

Bolden, Marion, March 1, 2011

Booker, Cory, March 2011

Bridgeforth, Maime, January 29, 2010

Brinson, Carl, aka Tiny Prince (undated)

Buck, Gloria, May 30, 2008

Cammarieri, Richard, May 8, 2009

Carroll, Sally, November 11, 2009

Chambers, Walter, April 21, 2010

Doggett, Rebecca, October 17, 2008

Eldridge, Doug, April 12, 2008

Gallenter, Sanford, November 15, 2010

Gibson, Kenneth, March 5, 2009

Goldman, Larry, June 12, 2009

Grover, Warren (undated)

Hamm, Larry, April 12, 2012

Hampton, George (2 interviews, undated)

Heningburg, Gustav, March 12, 2008

Howard,William (undated)

Hutchins, Frank , May 5, 2009

Jackson, Kenneth , March 21, 2008

Jaffe, Sandford , December 10, 2008

James, Sharpe (undated)

Jenkins, Gayle Chaneyfield (undated)

Jones, Carol Shannon , April 19, 2010

Kerr, David (undated)

Levin, Marc, October 26, 2009

Linder, William, February 26, 2009

Marsac, Bruce, (undated)

Means, Fred (undated)

Muhammad, Rahaman , February 10, 2011

O'Flaherty, Dan (undated)

Payne, William , October 3, 2008

Pinckney, Theodore , July 13, 2010

Roper, Richard (undated)

Scalera, Nicholas (undated)

Wallace, Carolyn (undated)

Waring Fred and Joan , July 18, 2012

West, Calvin , October 23, 2009

Williams, Junius , May 21, 2008


 A Force of Nature: The Story of NDRC and the Fight to Save Our Planet (2010) Adams, John H.; Adams, Patricia; Black, George (with); Redford, Robert (forward)

 Seize the Opportunity: Quotations on Change (2001) Applewood Books

 Placemaking for Change: 2001 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban ExcellenceBruner Foundation

 Land Use Planning, Environmental Protection and Growth Management: The Florida Experience (1997) Catlin, Robert A.

 Racial Politics and Urban Planning: Gary, Indiana 1980-1989 (1993) Catlin, Robert A.

 Blackout Looting! (1979) Curvin, Robert; Porter, Bruce

 Big-City Police: An Urban Institute Study (1979) Fogelson, Robert M.

 The History of Development: from Western Origins to Global Faith (1999)George, Susan

 Report for Action (1968) Governer's Select Commision on Civil Disorder in the State of NJ

 Ill-Equipped: U.S. Prisons and Offenders with Mental Illness (2003) Human Rights Watch

 The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama (2009) Ifill, Gwen

 Cities of the Garden State: Essays in the Urban and Suburban History of New Jersey Joel Schwartz (ed.); Prosser, Daniel (ed.)

 Our Town: Race, Housing, and the Soul of Suburbia (1997) Karp, David L.; Dwyer, John P; Rosenthal, Larry A.

 Making Progress Towards Graduation: Evidence from the Talent Development High School Model (2005) Kemple, James J.; Gerlihy, Corinne M.; Smith, Thomas J.

 Chicago Divided: The Making of Black Mayor (1985) Kleppner, Paul

 63 Alfred street: Where Capitalism Failed (2010) Kossik, John

 Defying the Odds: Triumphant Black Women of Newark (2005) Kukla, Barbara

 Making Room: The Economics of Homelessness (1998) O'Flaherty, Brendan

 A Failure of Capitalism: the Crisis of '08 and the Descent into Depression (2009)` Posner, Richard A.

 Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics and Big Business Re-Create Race in the 21st Century (2011) Roberts, Dorothy

 America's Mayor: John V. Lindsay and the Reinvention of New York (2010) Roberts, Sam (ed.)

 Color-Blind: The rise of post-racial politics and the retreat from racial equity (2010) Wise, Tim

 A Summons to Life: Meditaing Structures and the Prevention of Youth Crime (1981) Woodsen, Robert L.

Gail Malmgreen
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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