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Champion of Books and Art

A portrait of esteemed librarian John Cotton Dana hangs in the library at Rutgers–Newark.

Portrait of esteemed librarian John Cotton Dana
Photography courtesy John Cotton Dana Library

If John Cotton Dana were alive today, he’d be pleased to find that his portrait hangs in a library that bears his name—and on the campus that is annually ranked as the most diverse in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Dana, who served as Newark Public Library director from 1902 to 1929 and founded the Newark Museum in 1909, was committed to diversity and the idea that libraries and museums should be accessible to all neighborhoods and economic classes. Dana was also active in Newark, serving on numerous educational and cultural committees as well as boards of trustees. The portrait—on permanent loan from the Newark Museum and on display in the Dana Room on the fourth floor of the John Cotton Dana Library—was completed in 1923 by Douglas Volk.