Patti Smith Among 23 to be Inducted in the New Jersey Hall of Fame

Punk Rock icons Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye will be part of the 2021 class of inductees into the New Jersey Hall of Fame, the hall announced this morning.

Smith, who was born in West Deptford Township, is also set to perform as part of the Sea. Hear. Now. Festival in Asbury Park. Kaye, who hails from New Brunswick, is her longtime guitarist.  Known as the “punk poet laureate”, Smith fused rock and poetry in her work. Her most widely known– “Because The Night”–was co-written with Bruce Springsteen. It reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1978.

Other inductees–23 in total– include dynamic businesswoman Louise Scott, famed photographer Dorothea Lange, musicians Lesley Gore, George Benson, Sarah Dash and Mary Chapin Carpenter, Baseball Hall of Famer Monte Irvin, comedian Buddy Hackett and the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The 13th annual induction ceremony will once again be a virtual event as it was last year, in an abundance of caution amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.

It will be broadcast on My9NJ on Saturday, October 16, Sunday, October 17Saturday, October 23 and Sunday, October 24,  as well as on NJ PBS, radio and prominent social media platforms. The Class of 2021’s Unsung Hero will be announced in early October.

 “We asked New Jerseyans to help choose the next class of heroes and they delivered,” says Jon F. Hanson, chairman of the NJHOF. “We are honored to celebrate the lives and contributions of these notable New Jersey luminaries and greats.”

The New Jersey Hall of Fame Class of 2021 is:

Arts & Letters

Dorothea Lange*, Hoboken, documentary photographer 

Anne Morrow Lindbergh*, Englewood, author and aviator

John Forbes Nash Jr.*, Princeton, mathematician 

Gay Talese, Ocean City, writer and journalist 


Madeline McWhinney Dale*, Middletown, first female officer/vice-president of the Federal Reserve Bank 

Madam Louise Scott*, Newark, founder of Scott School of Beauty Culture & chain of beauty salons

Paul Volcker*,Teaneck, 12th Chair of the Federal Reserve 

Sara Spencer Washington*, Atlantic City, founder of Apex News and Hair Company 

Performing Arts

George Benson, Englewood, jazz guitarist, singer, and songwriter

Sarah Dash, Trenton, award-winning vocalist who co-founded Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles

Lesley Gore*, Tenafly, singer, songwriter, actress, and activist

Buddy Hackett*, Fort Lee, actor and comedian

Patti Smith, Pitman/Deptford Township, & Lenny Kaye, New Brunswick, Legendary singer-songwriter and her longtime guitarist who were part of the New York City punk rock movement in the 1970s

Mary Chapin Carpenter**, Princeton, country music singer

Public Service

Margaret Bancroft*, Haddonfield, founder of Bancroft, nonprofit serving individuals with disabilities

Alexander Hamilton*, Elizabeth, founding father and first secretary of the treasury

David Mixner, Elmer, political activist and author

William Paterson*, South Branch, signer of the U.S. Constitution, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and 2nd Governor of New Jersey

Gustave F. Perna, Rockaway, U.S. Army four-star general/COO of the federal COVID-19 response 

Antonin Scalia*, Trenton, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1986 until his death in 2016


Val Ackerman, Pennington, first president of the Women’s National Basketball Association

Monte Irvin*, Orange, left and right fielder in the Negro leagues and Major League Baseball who played with the Newark Eagles, New York Giants and Chicago Cubs

Ron Jaworski, Voorhees, former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and National Football League (NFL) analyst

*Being honored posthumously.

**Previous inductee, but being formally inducted this year.

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