The Peter W. Rodino, Jr. Archives consist of documents and other materials following the forty-year political career of Congressman Rodino (1909-2005), as well as his tenure at Seton Hall School of Law. The Archives are comprised of legislative records, press and campaign materials, constituent correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks and audio-visual formats that span the life of Peter W. Rodino, Jr. with the bulk of the material reflecting his work in Congress from 1949 - 1989. The Archives allow researchers to study the American political process as it shaped, and was shaped by, one of the key figures of the 20th Century, Peter W. Rodino, Jr. For a more detailed description of the Rodino Archives, please refer to our Finding Aid.
Individual, on-site use of the Rodino Archives must be requested at least 72 hours in advance to schedule an appointment. To request on-site use, please contact Deborah Schander, Law Library Director, by e-mail: [email protected], or phone: 973-642-8773. For more information about the Rodino Archives on-site use, please refer to our Rodino Archives Access Policy.
Research inquiries can be made by completing and submitting the online Rodino Request Form.
Judiciary Committee Records
The Judiciary Committee records, including those relating to the Impeachment Inquiry, were acquired by Mr. Rodino in his capacity as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives. View Box Numbers, Accession Number, and Date Materials Open here.
About Peter Rodino (Biography)
PETER W. RODINO, JR. 1909-2005
Peter W. Rodino, Jr. was born on June 7, 1909, in Newark, NJ. His father, Pellegrino, immigrated from Italy to the U.S. in 1900 and married Guiseppina (Margaret) Girard, a Newark native, in 1905. Raised in Newark's First Ward, the heart of Little Italy, Peter Rodino never forgot his roots.
He was educated in Newark, a graduate of Barringer High School and Dana College (later part of Rutgers), and earned a law degree from the University of Newark Law School (later Rutgers Law School) in 1937. Rodino held numerous jobs while supporting himself to gain an education, and then established a law practice in Newark.
In 1941 Rodino enlisted in the army, served in North Africa and Italy, and was discharged as a highly decorated captain in 1946. After a second bid for a House seat, he was elected to Congress in 1948 from the 10th District, eventually serving under eight American presidents, from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan, before retiring in 1989.
Throughout his forty year tenure in the House, Rodino championed civil rights legislation, immigration reform, antitrust reform and equal rights for women. He authored Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was floor manager for the 1966 Civil Rights Act, and sponsored the Immigration Reform Act of 1965 that eliminated the national origins quota system that had been in existence since the 1920’s.
Rodino is perhaps best known for chairing the House Judiciary Committee during the inquiry into whether President Richard Nixon should be impeached, where he proved to be the right man in the right place at the right time for the country. His deliberateness and commitment to fairness steered the Committee through a difficult process that brought the country out of a grave political crisis. His example during those proceedings is one that is still seen as the correct one to follow in similar situations.
After his retirement from Congress in 1989, Rodino accepted a position teaching at Seton Hall Law School. Students were very eager to hear Rodino’s views on the law, and his seminars were always completely filled. To the very end carrying a tattered copy of the Constitution in his pocket, Rodino was seen as a living, breathing example of the Constitution in action.
His wife, Joy Rodino, has captured much of what made Peter Rodino such an extraordinary man and leader in her book, Fifty-two Words My Husband Taught Me, which looks at Congressman Rodino through his committment to the Preamble to the United States Constitution.