Tuesday, December 8, 2009

From the Archives: John Lennon

29 years ago today, John Lennon was shot outside his hotel in New York City. In honor of the anniversary of his death, I'm pulling up a photo from our archives. But what does John Lennon have to do with Rutgers Newark?

(photo courtesy Special Collections & University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries)

A few years ago, I spent the better part of a day in the archives of the Alexander Library in New Brunswick, searching for photos from the Newark campus for our upcoming 100 year anniversary. One of the photos that immediately caught my eye, but that I was ultimately unable to use, was the one above, picturing, you guessed it, John Lennon (left, wearing his iconic glasses) with artist Al Hansen, who taught at Rutgers in Newark from 1967-74, according to the CV on www.alhansen.net.

As best I can figure it, John Lennon visited the campus sometime during that period (the photo, alas, was undated) - was he friends with Al Hansen? Did he perform here? Were any of you around during that time that can remember? I would love to hear from you!


  1. Interesting photo.

    I think John Lennon is providing a clue as to the time and purpose of his visit:

    What is the button pin he is wearing? It looks like a profile of some man. Is it a campaign button? something else?

  2. Very observant! I did notice the button, but even in the full size photo, I can only see that it's a profile of a man - my first impulse was to say JFK, but I can't say for sure. Or maybe it's Bobby Kennedy? There are no words on it that I could see.

  3. Do you know for sure it was taken at rutgers? On Hansen's web bio is thsi entry:

    "This Is Not Here Show" With Yoko Ono and John Lennon, Everson Museum, Syracuse, New York.

  4. Anon - I didn't notice that on his bio, thanks for pointing it out. I found the photo among the Rutgers Newark campus archives, so I am *assuming* it was taken on campus, but of course there is the possibility that it may have been taken somewhere else and then used for a story in a Rutgers publication - someone will have to research that!

  5. Any chance the picture on the button is of John Lindsay, NYC mayor in the late 60's and early 70's? Lindsay ran for President in 1972. Lindsay apparently stepped in to prevent Ono and Lennon from being deported.

  6. BTW - A Google image search of Lennon and Hansen turned up a very similar picture (same clothes, same curtain, same button) but with Andy Warhol in the picture as well. That photo was taken in 1972 by Valerie Herouvis.

  7. The picture in question was taken on June 12, 1971 during a party at the Riverdale, NY home of John and Yoko's manager Allen Klein. Andy Warhol was in attendance, as were numerous celebrities and entertainers, to celebrate the birthday of Klein's wife Betty.

    Chip Madinger