“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
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
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.
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.
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
Upcoming events for the Philip Roth Personal Library
Philip Roth Events at the Newark Public Library
2020 Philip Roth Lecture Featuring Tracy K. Smith • 2019 Philip Roth Lecture Featuring Sean Wilentz • 2018 Philip Roth Lecture Featuring Salman Rushdie • 2017 Philip Roth Lecture Featuring Robert Caro
Learn More About Philip Roth & His Relationship with the Newark Public Library
“New biography shines light on the life and legacy of author Philip Roth” Jeff Glor interviewed Blake Bailey, author of “Philip Roth: The Biography” on CBS This Morning: Saturday. Check out the full clip on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1mapBxAhJk
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. https://www.wsj.com/articles/philip-roth-left-more-than-2-million-to-his-hometown-library-in-newark-n-j-11572467686
Salman Rushdie: How Philip Roth Became A Political Prophet. Click here to read the full article.
Blake Bailey’s 880-page Philip Roth bio to arrive in April. 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.
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
The Paris Review:
Roth’s Reading Room
Philip Roth dona 4mila libri alla sua città natale
Completion is anticipated during 2021. Please note the room is currently not open to the public. Philip Roth’s books have been transferred to the Newark Public Library and are in the process of being catalogued. As a result, we cannot respond to inquiries about specific items in the collection. However, you are welcome to send an email to Nadine Sergejeff, our Special Collections Librarian, who is overseeing the processing of the collection.
While Philip Roth generously left a $2 million endowment to the Community Foundation of New Jersey for the benefit of the Newark Public Library, the interest generated from the endowment each year is restricted to the purchase of new books and other library materials. The funds may not be used for construction. The Library continues to raise funds toward the construction of the physical space which will house the Philip Roth Personal Library.
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.