Improved Access to the Gerald J. Steinberg Personal Papers

This post was written by Gaia Cloutier, Archives Textual Processing Intern and Simmons College graduate student in Library and Information Science and History.

We are pleased to announce the processing of the Gerald J. Steinberg Personal Papers. Although the collection has been considered open for quite some time, research use of this material was hindered by the lack of a detailed collection guide. The Steinberg Papers have now been arranged for improved access and preserved for long-term storage.

Dr. Gerald J. Steinberg was a collector of Kennedy family memorabilia and was particularly interested in memorials honoring John F. Kennedy. His papers contain his personal collection of printed materials and over 2,200 photographs related to John F. Kennedy memorials. The geographic scope and number of memorials in the collection uniquely illustrates the extent and variety of worldwide responses to the death of President Kennedy.

Steinberg, a dentist from Silver Spring, Maryland, was an avid stamp and memorabilia collector.  In response to the death of President Kennedy, he began to collect Kennedy family memorabilia, or “Kennedyiana” as he called it, exclusively. Steinberg collected Kennedy family memorabilia from 1964 to 1977 and was said to have amassed the largest private collection of Kennedyiana in the world.

Steinberg was especially interested in Kennedy memorials. In 1966, he began collecting photographs and other materials related to John F. Kennedy memorials by writing to the representatives of organizations, towns, states, and countries around the world. Over the following five years he received responses from every U.S. state and approximately 66 countries, making his collection one of the most comprehensive sources of information about JFK memorials in existence. Many of the memorials documented in his collection have since been removed, renamed, or discontinued.

Steinberg’s collection features a wide range of memorials from around the world. The majority of the memorials documented in the collection are monuments, plaques, parks, streets, schools, and other buildings commemorating President Kennedy. The collection also features a number of more unusual memorials, such as the John F. Kennedy rose, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Regatta at the United States Naval Academy, a Dutch marching band named for “John F. Kennedy,” as well as an extensive assortment of JFK memorial stamps. In addition to more than 2,200 photographs of memorials, the collection includes printed materials such as correspondence, programs, brochures, news clippings, notes, and handwritten memorial indexes. Steinberg’s collection provides a glimpse of the many ways that people around the world chose to remember John F. Kennedy and his legacy.

A detailed guide to the Gerald J. Steinberg Personal Papers is available on our website.

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