Philip Roth Personal Library - Newark Public Library

Philip Roth Personal Library

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“My decision to locate my personal library in Newark, and specifically in the Newark Public Library, was determined by a longstanding sense of gratitude to the city where I was born in 1933.” – Philip Roth

Portrait of Philip Roth by Nancy Crampton

Philip Roth, the Library, and Newark

Philip Roth, world-acclaimed novelist and literary icon, was born in Newark. He grew up in the city’s Weequahic section, going to the local branch of the Newark Public Library. When he attended Rutgers University in Newark, the Main library was his refuge and inspiration. Although he had homes in New York City and Connecticut, Roth returned to his roots, setting many of his novels in Newark. Among his numerous honors, Roth received the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral, and was twice the winner of the National Book Award.

Philip Roth’s Bequest

An Endowment
Roth’s generous endowments secure NPL’s position as a cornerstone of our community and will continue to keep the Roth story alive.

His Personal Collection
This gift of over 7,000 books is one of the largest personal collections to be donated to a public library.

A Legacy
Roth’s gifts ensure his collection will be cared for and accessible for future generations of scholars, artists and fans.

©Nancy Crampton, 1998.

“The stacks and the reference room and the reading rooms of the main library were where I camped out when I wanted a quiet place to be alone to read or to study or to look something up.” – Philip Roth

The Philip Roth Personal Library

A believer in the power of books, Roth envisioned inspiring a love for reading and writing in his hometown. His collection of books, photographs and personal items will be housed in a dedicated room in the Main library, inviting people from around the world to explore its many treasures.

A Forum
Cultivating creative expression and the discipline of writing through seminars, workshops, book talks and citywide literary festivals.

A Literary Destination
Engaging current and future enthusiasts of Roth’s novels with world-class exhibitions that allow visitors to explore the imagination and acumen of Philip Roth and the authors who inspired him.

An Educational Hub
Providing scholars and readers with the opportunity to examine Roth’s creative process and intellectual life, while adding to the Newark Public Library’s already established diverse research collection.

Rendering of the Philip Roth Personal Library

Join the Friends of the Philip Roth Personal Library

Click here to learn more about the Friends of the Philip Roth Personal Library.

Upcoming events for the Philip Roth Personal Library

Philip Roth Events at the Newark Public Library

2020 Philip Roth Lecture Featuring Tracy K. Smith2019 Philip Roth Lecture Featuring Sean Wilentz2018 Philip Roth Lecture Featuring Salman Rushdie2017 Philip Roth Lecture Featuring Robert Caro

A Reading & Conversation with Benjamin TaylorHBO’s The Plot Against America Virtual DiscussionPhilip Roth’s Nemesis and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Connect with us!

 @PhilipRothPersonalLibrary    @PhilipRothPersonalLibrary   @PhilipRoth_NPL

Questions? Reach out to us at Please allow 24-48 business hours for a response or call us at (973) 733-3614.

Learn More About Philip Roth & His Relationship with the Newark Public Library

The Essential Philip Roth Click here to read the full article.

Cynthia Ozick calls the New Philip Roth Biography a ‘Narrative Masterwork’. Click here to read the full article.

Philip Roth Was His Own Favorite Subject. What’s Left for a Biographer? Click here to read the full article.

15 Books to Watch for in April. Click here to read the full article.

Philip Roth Left $2 Million to Newark, New Jersey Public Library. Click here to read the full article.

Philip Roth devuelve sus libros. Click here to read the full article.

Newark library’s Philip Roth collection will give intimate glimpse into his research and writing process. Click here to read the full article.

Philip Roth Left More Than $2 Million to His Hometown Library in Newark, N.J.

Salman Rushdie: How Philip Roth Became A Political Prophet. Click here to read the full article.

Philip Roth Fans Can Finally Explore the Roth Room at Newark Public Library in 2021. Click here to read the full article. 

A Scene Right Out of Philip Roth: His Books Come Home to Newark’s Library

The Boston Globe:
Philip Roth leaves his library to his hometown and lists 15 books that had an impact on his life
Read like Philip Roth: Famed author’s books coming to Newark Library
Library looks to create fitting nook for literary giant’s books

The Jewish Daily Forward:
Why Zadie Smith Thinks Philip Roth, and Alexander Portnoy, Changed The World
At His Library in Newark, Philip Roth Names 15 of His Favorite Books
Zadie Smith’s Lecture, Nora Ephron’s Revolt and 4 Other Things To Watch, Read, And Do This Weekend

Jewish Link of NJ:
Novelist Philip Roth Bequeaths Entire Personal Library to Newark Public Library

The Paris Review:
Roth’s Reading Room

Philip Roth Is Donating 4,000 Of His Personal Books To The Newark Public Library

The Newark Times:
Philip Roth Entrusts His Entire Personal Library to Newark Public Library

La Repubblica:
Philip Roth dona 4mila libri alla sua città natale

Newark Library Forsakes the Dewey Decimal System in Honor of Philip Roth’s 4,000-Book Donation

To support Philip Roth’s “other Newark home,” please contact Kirsten Giardi, Assistant Director for Development at 973.424.1832 or send us an email

To view past events related to Philip Roth, please visit our virtual programs page.