Guide to the Joseph F. Mattice Papers, 1929-1985


The Joseph F. Mattice Papers include correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, photographs and ephemera pertaining to the life and professional career of Joseph F. Mattice. The bulk of the collection consists of material from his political career as mayor of Asbury Park, specifically concerning the Asbury Park riots of July 1970.

Collection Details

Collection Number
Joseph F. Mattice papers
Mattice, Joseph F.
1.5 Linear Feet
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Materials in English

Collection Overview

The Joseph F. Mattice Papers include correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and ephemera ranging from 1929-1985. The material is organized into six series: Asbury Park New Jersey Riots July 1970, Correspondence, Photographs, Ephemera, Newspaper Clippings, and Audiovisual materials. There is also one oversize folder consisting of a political flyer and two magazines. Mattice acquired the materials during his career as a student at Georgetown University, lawyer, city council member, district court judge, and Monmouth County board of elections member. Mattice was mayor of Asbury Park during the July 1970 riots. The riots lasted from July 4-10, 1970. They began in reaction to the African American community’s frustration with employment discrimination and the poor living conditions in the predominately African American West side neighborhood. The riots caused significant damage to the West Side, 167 people were arrested, and local and State police were summoned. In the end, city government and West Side residents worked together to come to a resolution. The Asbury Park July 1970 riots brought national attention to the town, which is documented via the received correspondence, clippings, and ephemera in the collection.

The later correspondence consists of personal letters and papers coupled with newspaper clippings pertaining to politics in Asbury Park and Monmouth County as a whole.

More Biographical / Historical Info


The collection is organized into six series: Asbury Park Riots, Correspondence, Ephemera, Photographs, Newspaper Clippings, and Audiovisual materials.

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], Joseph F. Mattice Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Asbury Park Riots July 1970

This series contains material related to the July 1970 riots. The riots were sparked by the lack of employment for African Americans due to discrimination and poor living conditions on the west side of Asbury Park, a predominately African American neighborhood. All correspondence in this series is incoming. Series contains letters from supporters of segregation and hate speech. Letters expressing criticism towards the Mattice administration are prevalent. Some of the letters advise Mattice to punish the rioters, while other letters accuse Mattice of not being supportive of the African American community. In contrast, there are letters from concerned citizens fearful of the riots, and letters calling for peace. This series includes clippings and other news coverage from the riots, as well as a small assortment of letters of advice to Mayor Mattice.

Separatist/ hate speech
Box 1
Critical letters
Box 1
Letters of support
Box 1
Concerned citizens
Box 1
Letters of advice
Box 1
News coverage
Box 1

2. Correspondence 1957-1985

This series contains cards and congratulatory letters regarding Mattice’s election as city council member and mayor, including a letter from then New Jersey governor Richard J. Hughes. Also includes incoming correspondence from town citizens, friends, and associates of Mattice. Most of this correspondence is incoming.

1957 City Council election
Box 1
1969 Mayoral election
Box 1
General correspondence 1960-1985
Box 1

3. Ephemera 1929-1987, undated

This series contains ephemera related to a 1934 Bermuda legal case, Mattice's political career, Asbury Park politics, and assorted personal items.

1934 Bermuda legal case
Box 1
Box 1
Box 1

4. Photographs 1959-1973, undated

This series consists of photographs from the Asbury Park Publicity department and unidentified sources. There is a set of photographs from the 1st annual New Jersey Mayor’s Golf Tournament which was held at the Asbury Park Golf and Country Club. Also included are headshots and professional photographs of Mattice from his educational and political career, and assorted photographs of Mattice and others at events.

1st Annual New Jersey Mayor's Golf Tournament
Box 2
Headshots and professional photographs
Box 2
Assorted photographs
Box 2

5. Newspaper Clippings 1939-1977, undated

This series consists of miscellaneous clippings from undated and unsourced newspapers. The bulk of the clippings are from or relating to Asbury Park, New Jersey and Monmouth County, New Jersey.

1930s-1950s, undated
Box 2
Oversize-folder 1
Box 2
Oversize-folder 1
Box 2

6. Audiovisual Materials, 1973

This series contains one audiocassette tape.

5-17-73 Veronica Smith 001-733 BET. 5-6:30pm
Box 2
Audio-cassette RL-11213-CS-0001

Historical Note

Joseph F. Mattice (January 17, 1902-July 13,1995) was the mayor of Asbury Park, New Jersey during the riots of July 1970. Mattice was a native of Asbury Park who returned after his education at Georgetown University. He became a lawyer, was elected to the Asbury Park city council, served as district court judge, and was a Monmouth County board of elections member.

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The Joseph F. Mattice Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2016.

Processing Information

Processed by Charmaine Bonner, June 2016.

Accessions described in this collection guide: 2016-0080.