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Remembering Governor Byrne

January 8, 2018
Ron Becker with Governor Brendan Byrne in 2005.

Ron Becker (l) visited Governor Brendan Byrne (r) to select items for the collection in 2005.

Rutgers University Libraries has a special connection to late Governor Brendan T. Byrne. We are home to a collection of his personal papers and mementos. The Newark Star-Ledger wrote about the collection over the weekend, noting,

The two-term governor--who had a hand in everything from creating the Meadowlands sports complex to instituting the state's first income tax -- had a sense that his boxes and boxes of papers and mementos might hold some value to future scholars.

In 2005, Byrne donated many of his personal papers to Rutgers University. Then, he and his wife Ruthi formed a foundation to raise money to preserve his papers and the personal files of other New Jersey governors. Archivists arrived at Byrne's Short Hills house to sort through decades of boxes in his basement and study. The former governor delighted in telling the Rutgers team stories about every item and tales from his days in Trenton.

"He loved it," [Ron] Becker said.

Ron Becker, professor emeritus and the former head of Special Collections and University Archives, notes that he and Tim Corlis, the head of preservation, traveled several times to the governor's home, spending time with Brendan and Ruthi Byrne as they selected items for the archive. The Libraries treasure our years of friendship with the Byrne family, and we are proud that Rutgers is home to this valuable piece of New Jersey history,

The Papers of Brendan T. Byrne collection is now available via Special Collections and University Archives in Alexander Library.