Beyond the Hill : Long walk home: Monmouth University to receive extensive Springsteen collection
The special collection of rock legend Bruce Springsteen will now be housed at Monmouth University — in his hometown.
Beginning Nov. 1, the university is scheduled to receive the most extensive collection of Springsteen memorabilia, which includes concert programs, books, newspaper and magazine articles, and other materials dedicated to Springsteen and the members of his band, according to a Monmouth news release.
The collection, which consists of nearly 14,900 documents from 44 countries, reflects a clear international interest in Springsteen’s career. The collection would be used by academics from all over the world. Students, faculty and the Monmouth community will also have access to the ephemera, said Petra Ludwig, director of public affairs at Monmouth.
The memorabilia was originally located at Asbury Park Public Library in New Jersey, but it was moved because of the increasing size of the collection, Ludwig said. The relocation of the collection to the university concludes a four-year search for a new site.
‘We wanted a site in New Jersey that combined the right of public access with proper environmental controls, security and an opportunity to expand the collection,’ she said.
The president of the Springsteen collection, Christopher Phillips, is also editor and publisher of Backstreets, a Springsteen fan magazine published quarterly that covers his music and the music of other Jersey Shore sound artists. The magazine has collected Springsteen memorabilia for the 30 years it has been in existence, Phillips said.
Phillips decided to start the special collection 10 years ago, when he began to receive calls from authors and researchers all over the nation requesting to see his resources. While he was in California, he got a second call from someone who wanted to fly from the East Coast. It was then that he thought it was time to put the collection in a library.
Phillips chose to house the materials at Monmouth, where the very first Springsteen symposium — a conference where fans and academics came to present talks and papers — was held a few years ago. He also chose Monmouth due to the location’s connection with Springsteen.
‘It’s a part of New Jersey where there’s history, based on the number of times Springsteen’s played there,’ Phillips said. ‘So when we were looking to move the collection, Monmouth seemed like a perfect fit.’
The collection at Monmouth will be set up in a format similar to a rare book room, Phillips said. Material cannot be checked out, but anyone interested in looking at it can make an appointment for a viewing.
‘I mean the collection is typically aimed at academics, but anyone is welcome to view since we’re a fan organization,’ Phillips said. ‘Much of the collection is what it is because of the generosity of the fans. Hopefully it will be for both researchers and fans, that’s the reason we started it in the first place.’
Petra said that Monmouth is excited for the opportunity to host such a collection.
‘We are thrilled to have this collection on campus,’ she said. ‘We have already received a wonderful response from around the world.’
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