The mission of the Cornell Hip Hop Collection (CHHC) is to collect and make accessible the historical artifacts of Hip Hop culture and to ensure their preservation for future generations. It is open to the public (please contact us for an appointment).
The Collection features: hundreds of party and event flyers ca. 1977-1985; thousands of early vinyl recordings, cassettes and CDs; film and video; record label press packets and publicity; black books, photographs, magazines, books, clothing, and more.
The original core of the Collection was established in 1999 by author and curator Johan Kugelberg. A former recording industry executive, Kugelberg sought to locate and preserve the earliest artifacts he could find concerning Hip Hop’s emergence in the South Bronx and its spread throughout the New York City area in the 1970s and early 1980s. He donated his collection to Cornell University Library in 2007 after the publication of Born in the Bronx: A Visual History of the Early Days of Hip Hop, the book he edited in association with Joe Conzo, Jr. Although the earliest era of Hip Hop culture was the starting place for Cornell’s Collection, our goal moving forward is to preserve the culture broadly, chronologically, geographically, in all its variations and sub-genres.
Since 2007 the CHHC has grown to include the archive of early Hip Hop photographer Joe Conzo, Jr.; the archive of Charlie Ahearn, director of Wild Style (1983), the first Hip Hop feature film; the archive of Ernie Paniccioli (Word Upmagazine’s photographer and author of Who Shot Ya: 3 Decades of Hip Hop Photography); the archive of Buddy “The Flyer King” Esquire; the archive of “Breakbeat Lenny” Roberts (co-founder of the Ultimate Breaks and Beats vinyl series); the archive of pioneering graffiti artist Richie “SEEN” Mirando; the archive of Jorge “Popmaster Fabel” Pabon (long time member of the Rock Steady Crew and co-founder of Tools of War), and the archive of the IGTimes (a.k.a. The International Graffiti Times, one of the earliest and most influential graffiti ‘zines). Additional details can be found on our collections page.