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Negatives, No. 243-300, circa 1980s-1990s
Collection Description & Creator Information
Consists of 90 photograph collage boards, 30,000 photographic negatives, 760 color slides, and several hundred loose photographic prints, comprising Romus Broadway's body of work documenting the history of the Black community in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood of Princeton, New Jersey, from the late 1950s through the early 2000s.
Broadway began practicing photography in the mid-1950s and collaging in the late 1970s. As a lifelong resident of Witherspoon-Jackson, he became the neighborhood's local photographic historian from his home on Birch Avenue. Broadway's images document the neighborhood's residents going about their daily lives and include candid and posed shots taken of community members at family gatherings, parties, social halls, churches, school dances, weddings, sports games, and other social events, as well as socializing on the neighborhood streets. As Broadway described the impetus behind his work in a 2016 article by Lea Kahn, "The reason I started doing it is because the only pictures that many children had was the school picture. I wanted to catch them in their setting, with their friends, so they could see themselves."
Broadway's collages often combine dozens of individual portraits, and many are arranged thematically or commemorate specific events. Some also combine his own photographs with historic photographs and clippings found in yearbooks and newspapers. Broadway displayed these collages widely throughout the neighborhood at various community programs, church services, schools, and family reunions. This collection includes Broadway's completed collages, as well as negatives, photographic prints, and slides he used as their source material.
Broadway's collection provides a social history of the neighborhood's working-class African American, Italian American, and Irish American communities whose labor built and sustained Princeton University and the surrounding town throughout the 20th century. Broadway also documented Black students and alumni at Princeton University, who are also represented in several of the collages.
For Broadway's own description of his collection, researchers may refer to the following video interviews: "Romus Broadway: In His Own Words" and "Romus Broadway at the Arts Council of Princeton".
- Archival Appraisal Information:
No materials were removed from the collection during 2022 processing beyond routine appraisal practices.
Processing of this collection was sponsored by the Delafield fund.
Access & Use
- Access Restrictions:
This collection is open for research.
- Conditions for Reproduction and Use:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The Trustees of Princeton University hold the copyright for materials in this collection that were created by Romus Broadway. When copyright is held by Princeton University, researchers will not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with non-commercial use of materials from Firestone Library.
- Special Requirements for Access:
Digital surrogates of the collages are available online. Due to the size and fragility of the collages, it is recommended that researchers first consult digital surrogates before requesting the originals.
- Credit this material:
Negatives, No. 243-300; Romus Broadway Photographs of the Witherspoon-Jackson Community of Princeton, New Jersey, C1689, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Firestone LibraryOne Washington RoadPrinceton, NJ 08544, USA(609) 258-3184
- Storage Note:
- ReCAP (rcpxm): Box 17
- Broadway family