Have You Met Rutgers-Newark?

An expert on the media and on history who knows how to integrate both.

Dr. Robert W. Snyder has worked since the 1980s with journalists, museum curators, and documentarians to share history with a broad public. An historian and a professor in the Dept. of Arts, Culture and Media, he has written widely on New York City history and media issues. He was a Fulbright lecturer in American Studies in South Korea in 2016 and since 2019 has served as Manhattan Borough Historian.

Most recently, he is the co-author of All the Nations Under Heaven: Immigrants, Migrants and the Making of New York and the author Crossing Broadway: Washington Heights and the Promise of New York. He is also the author of The Voice of the City: Vaudeville and Popular Culture in New York; Transit Talk: New York’s Bus and Subway Workers Tell Their Stories; the co-author of Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and Their New York, which won the Barr Prize of the College Art Association; and the editor of nine volumes in media studies.

Snyder wrote, produced and directed the documentary short City Kids Meet Ashcan Art, which won a Gold Apple from the National Educational Media Network. He was a consultant and interview source for Tom Lennon’s documentary series The Irish in America: Long Journey Home. He directed the research for Ric Burns’ film New York and served as a consultant and interview source for National Public Radio’s Sonic Memorial project on September 11 and the World Trade Center, which won the Peabody Award.

Snyder has worked widely with museums. With Rebecca Zurier, he was co-curator of the exhibit Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and their New York at the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution. He served as a consultant to the Museum of the City of New York for exhibits on the Spanish Civil War and New York City, the mayoralty of John V. Lindsay, and the cartoons of Denys Wortman. With the Newark Museum, he has developed educational programs for teachers and the general public.

Formerly the editor of Media Studies Journal, he also worked at Newsday, the journalism review More, the Tarrytown Daily News and Channel 13/WNET, the public television station of New York City. At Newsday he was a member of a special projects team that explored immigration and ethnic and racial diversity in New York City.

His reviews and articles have been published in scholarly journals such as the Journal of Urban History, Journal of American History, Journalism and Reviews in American History and in general interest publications such as the New York Times, The Nation, the Columbia Journalism Review, the Jesuit magazine America, the Jewish Forward, and the Star-Ledger of New Jersey. He has been interviewed by the New York Times, National Public Radio, WNJN,the History Channel, and the BBC on history, urban affairs and media issues.

Snyder provided expert commentary about Depression-era New York City for the DVD version of Peter Jackson's film, King Kong.

Snyder is the founding editor of the Newark Metro, published online at metro, which won the 2008 Rutgers-Newark Chancellor’s Award for Community Engagement in Undergraduate Teaching and Learning.

Snyder earned his doctorate in American history at New York University. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children.