Rutgers professor to become Manhattan Borough Historian

<p>Robert W. Snyder, a professor of American studies and journalism at Rutgers University—Newark, said he consulted with a previous Manhattan historian to prepare for the position.</p>

Robert W. Snyder, a professor of American studies and journalism at Rutgers University—Newark, said he consulted with a previous Manhattan historian to prepare for the position.


Robert W. Snyder, a professor of American studies and journalism at Rutgers University—Newark, has been appointed as the next Manhattan Borough Historian, a position that documents and educates the public on the history of New York, according to an article on the School of Arts and Sciences—Newark website. 

The position will give Snyder the opportunity to continue his work in museums, libraries and news organizations, he said, according to the article. 

“As Manhattan Borough Historian, I think of myself primarily as an educator. I want to make historical perspectives more prominent in public debates, encourage the writing of local history and bring scholars and community historians into a more fruitful dialogue,” Snyder said. 

After having several casual interactions with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, she offered Snyder the job, according to the article. 

“His knowledge is just unmatched,” Brewer said. “He’s written widely on New York City history and issues, as his many books show. He’ll be a tremendous resource in this role.”  

To prepare for the position, he consulted with one of his predecessors, Michael Miscione, and other New York history organizations, Snyder said, according to the article. He has also been going to Brewer's office once a week, and he plans on going in more once he officially retires from Rutgers University—Newark on July 1, 2020. 

“History is humbling: as much as you know, you always have more to learn. I look forward to learning more about Manhattan, helping others to learn more about the island and sharing our knowledge with the rest of the world. Manhattan is ever-changing, but the past is always present if you know where to look for it,” Snyder said, according to the article. 

He added: “For me, history isn’t about looking backward, but about attaining a heightened awareness of the past and present.” 


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