Introduction

Drew University is honored to have been named the official repository of Governor Thomas H. Kean’s personal documents, public speeches, and other materials from his years as Governor of New Jersey (1982–1990) and President of Drew University (1990–2005). In recognition of this extraordinary gift, the lobby of the original Rose Memorial Library has been transformed to create the Thomas H. Kean Reading Room & Gallery. This new room is a fitting tribute to a statesman and educator who rightfully belongs in the pantheon of great American leaders. The architecturally distinguished space provides an eminent setting in which scholars, students, and citizens alike may be inspired by the Governor’s illustrious life and career.

In the spirit of celebrated reading rooms such as in the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library, this state-of-the-art section of the library features networked study tables with task lamps; abundant seating, a dedicated computer station for searching and displaying digitized items from the Kean Archives; and custom cabinetry that display materials from the archive as well as artwork, gifts, and memorabilia of special value to Governor Kean. Additional cases will feature items from other special collections of the University, as well as traveling exhibits. We anticipate that the Reading Room will serve as the premier resource for those interested in analyzing and understanding Governor Kean’s inimitable style of leadership.

Photos from the Dedication of the Kean Room:

Press

Highlights

Highlights from the
Thomas H. Kean
Reading Room & Gallery

The Mural

A major work of art was commissioned for the Reading Room—a mural to evoke two major phases of the career of Governor Kean. The left side of the room-length panorama is the artist rendering of Mead Hall circa 1836, then known as the Gibbons Mansion. The right side portrays the New Jersey State House from the same period. The muralist is nationally recognized artist, Daniel Mulligan, whose studio is in Chester, New Jersey. His work has been featured on the covers of Traditional Home, House and Garden, and many other magazines.

The Portrait

As is the long-standing tradition at Drew, the trustees commissioned a portrait of Governor Kean to commemorate his presidency at Drew. They chose Everett Raymond Kinstler, an internationally known portrait artist, whose studios are in New York City and Connecticut. His work hangs in the New Jersey State House and the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. He completed the portrait in the spring of 2011.

The Chandelier and Rug

The chandelier and rug are antiques that were part of the Kean Family home in Livingston, New Jersey.  Both the rug and chandelier date to the early 1900s. The wrought-iron chandelier is in the French style and the rug comes from Iran and the design is Sultanabad (farahan).

The Tapestry

A village scene, a hand-woven tapestry from Swaziland, was presented to Governor Kean by Coretta Scott King. President Kean gifted it to Drew University on Martin Luther King Day, January 15, 1990.

The Chair

The pulpit chair was on the bema at Temple B’nai Abraham in Newark, New Jersey, led by Rabbi Dr. Joachim Prinz. He and his friend, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., both sat in it at different times in the 1960s. Together they participated in the March on Washington D.C. in 1963. The chair was donated in honor of Governor Kean by Bernard Kuttner, who marched with Dr. King in the Civil Rights March in Selma, Alabama.

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