Bruce Springsteen and American Music

By | November 17, 2022

Bruce Springsteen Archives and Heart for American Music (Picture by Tim Van Schmidt)

Tim Van Schmidt | New SCENE

Tucked away in a shady nook of a bustling New Jersey faculty campus sits a small white home, seemingly quiet from the skin. However inside it is stuffed with rock and roll.

To be extra particular, the historical past of rock and roll. And to be much more particular, the rock and roll story of Bruce Springsteen.

Bathtub storage (Picture by Tim Van Schmidt)

That is the Bruce Springsteen American Music Heart and Archive on the campus of Monmouth College in West Lengthy Department, New Jersey. And it’s a undertaking that’s underway.

It’s actually “in movement”. Once I visited the archives not too long ago, I used to be capable of converse with director Eileen Chapman and assistant curator Connor Rupp in between journeys to Los Angeles the place they have been opening a brand new Springsteen exhibit on the Grammy Museum.

Archival storage (Picture by Tim Van Schmidt)

Try the museum’s homepage at and this exhibit is among the latest – “Bruce Springsteen Reside!”

However “on the transfer” additionally describes the bold trajectory of this effort to immortalize the profession of one among rock’s biggest stars.

Element of the Springsteen Household Bible (Picture by Tim Van Schmidt)

It began with a group of fan memorabilia that was ultimately donated to the Asbury Park Public Library. When it outgrew the library, it was transferred to Monmouth College to turn out to be its personal entity.

Chapman was a key participant in organizing this archive and the work has paid off. Monmouth now has a functioning Respiratory Heart that caters to the analysis wants of rock and roll followers all over the place – and so they higher dangle on to it as a result of it is not solely cool however academically necessary.

Born within the USA Hat (Picture by Tim Van Schmidt)

I understand how nice the archive is as a result of I’ve used it. The Bruce Springsteen Archive has some 35,000 items and I used to be capable of browse the holdings on-line – at – after which see the actual stuff once I arrived in October.

Amongst different historic chestnuts, I discovered two critiques of the very first Springsteen live performance I attended – in November 1975 on the Grady Gammage Auditorium on the Arizona State campus.

Mom’s Album (Picture by Tim Van Schmidt)

I additionally acquired to see issues I did not know I may just like the crimson hat that seems prominently on the duvet of the “Born within the USA” album, the crumbling Springsteen household bible {that a} donor recovered at an property sale for $5, the handwritten lyrics of an unrecorded track and the private albums that Springsteen’s mom created over the course of her son’s profession.

As a researcher, the Bruce Springsteen Archive was a pleasant alternative.

$1 Exhibits – Hand-Coloured First Band Poster (Picture by Tim Van Schmidt)

The little white home was chock full of material – there have been even packing containers of stuff saved within the rest room tub. And wherever there have been no packing containers of stuff, there have been pupil staff and volunteers squatting in each nook, indexing the contents.

It is apparent – this snowball effort wants extra space.

Springsteen Archive Director Eileen Chapman, standing tall and devoted volunteer (photograph by Tim Van Schmidt)

But additionally be careful for that second slug within the institution’s identify – “Heart for American Music.” As nice as Springsteen is for his followers, increasing the archive’s imaginative and prescient to embody a lot extra offers them a far-reaching mission of prospects to assist maintain American music historical past alive.

Now there appear to be larger tasks happening for the archive – like maybe their very own constructing, expanded providers and an even bigger imaginative and prescient. So I can solely advise music followers to maintain a watch out for New Jersey – it is the place Springsteen’s legacy lives on and the place the way forward for American music historical past could quickly have its dwelling.

Try “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt” on YouTube.

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