University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

In Memoriam: Martin Jack Rosenblum (1946-2014)

Martin Jack RosenblumSenior Lecturer, Music History & Literature
Founder of Rock and Roll Certificate Program
PhD (English) UW-Milwaukee
MA (English) UW-Milwaukee
BS (English) UW-Madison

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Join us for a rememberance of Martin Jack Rosenblum

Thursday, January 16th
3pm at  Helen Bader Concert Hall, Helene Zelazo Center at UWM (PLEASE NOTE NEW LOCATION)
2419 E. Kenwood Blvd, Milwaukee, WI
Paid underground parking is available at the UWM Student Union at 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd. A limited amount of paid parking will also be available in the surface lot behind the Zelazo Center after 2:30pm.

Please consider making a gift to The Red Guitar Fund to support Martin Jack Rosenblum's Rock and Roll Certificate Program

With deep sadness, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts announces the sudden death of Dr. Martin Jack Rosenblum, Senior Lecturer, Music History & Literature and founder/creator of the Rock and Roll Certificate Program, the only one of its kind in the United States. He also served for 12 years as an Admissions Specialist/Academic advisor in the UWM Academic Opportunity Center. In his UWM career, Rosenblum taught poetry, creative writing, and music courses to thousands of students over the years. He was an outstanding and influential teacher, leader, mentor and friend to our students, alums, and faculty. With more than a dozen CDs of original songs and more than 20 books of poetry, Rosenblum is an established, internationally recognized singer/songwriter, poet and musician who touched the lives of so many and will be greatly missed.

"Martin Jack has been a great friend and colleague for many years. We enjoyed many hours together dreaming, laughing, and planning. Martin Jack always challenged and stimulated my thoughts about culture, spirituality, language, poetry, and vernacular music. He deeply enriched my life and touched the hearts of a huge number of students throughout the UWM community. I will miss the value he placed on formal communication, his sense of style, and his humble and gracious manner. My thanks to Marty for all he has given to me and our community," says Scott Emmons, Peck School of the Arts Dean and Professor of Music Education.

Rosenblum is survived by his wife of 44 years, Maureen, and their daughters, Sarah Terez Rosenblum and Molly Dvora Rosenblum.

About Dr. Rosenblum

Rosenblum, an Appleton, Wis. native, earned a BS in English from UW-Madison, and an MA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in literature from UWM. With a shared passion for writing and music, Rosenblum served at UWM for over thirty years in faculty and administrative roles. Fondly known as "Dr. Rock and Roll" and "The Holy Ranger," Rosenblum was a recording artist on the Rounder Records label, a Gibson performing artist, the historian emeritus for the Harley-Davidson Motor Company and the historian for Les Paul's House of Sound at Discovery World.

Among his enormous accomplishments, Rosenblum was the creator, founder and champion of the Peck School's Rock and Roll Certificate Program. Developed in response to strong interest from students and faculty, this unique program prepares students to use the tools of ethnomusicology, musicology, literature studies and cultural studies to examine American vernacular music in a way previously reserved for what is called "classical music." Launched in Fall 2010, certificate students gain a solid understanding of this musical genre while deepening their knowledge of the style from an array of courses across the arts and humanities. Dr. Rosenblum taught more than 300 students each semester in a variety of music history and literature courses, including "American Popular Music" and "Literary Aspects of Rock and Roll." He also served as a project advisor for students in UWM's Masters in Liberal Studies Program.

In the summer of 2012, Rosenblum donated to UWM Libraries correspondence between himself and poets and writers who were friends and colleagues between 1965-2002. With a focus on modern American poetry, including its ties to early rock and roll songwriting, the donated materials include his 1980 doctoral dissertation, "Carl Rakosi's Americana Poems: Objectivist Word Machines from an American Assembly Line," his final manuscript of an unpublished critical biography of Objectivist poet Carl Rakosi, and rare photographs of Rakosi at his home during the summer of 1974. More information can be found on UWM's Front Page.

Rosenblum was the recipient of two Wisconsin Area Music Industry awards for Alternative Artist and Rock Journalist, identifying him as both artist and scholar. He also won the Shepherd Express Reader's Choice for Best Poet of the Year and was featured in Peter Jennings' ABC series "The Century," discussing Rock and Roll history. In 2003, the 12th anniversary edition of his cult album (originally issued on Flying Fish Records) The Holy Ranger's Free Hand (done with members of the Violent Femmes) was released, as well as a retrospective CD box set anthology. He was also the author of Searching For Rock And Roll, editor of American Popular Music a vastly published music critic and contributor to the 2012 Grove Guide To Music.

Memorials for Dr. Martin Jack Rosenblum

Red Guitar Fund The Red Guitar Fund supports the Rock and Roll Certificate Program offered at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee founded by Dr. Martin Jack Rosenblum. Milwaukee's significant role in Rock and Roll's development makes this an especially important program for the university.

The Red Guitar Fund provides scholarships for students as well as funding for program support, including guest artists. Contributions will help students with tuition and other educational expenses. Contributions will also make it possible for the program to gain increased visibility and impact with the ability to introduce students and broader audiences to Rock and Roll's formative and leading artists.

Rosenblum created the idea of the Red Guitar Fund with his friend, the late Dan Sokolovic, as a legacy to one of Milwaukee's early alternative rock musicians, the late Terry Tanger. Martin Jack, Dan, Terry, and many others, were important to Milwaukee's Rock and Roll legacy and were dedicated to shaping its future. We honor Martin Jack, his work, and the many friends who shared his passion with this Fund.

How to make a gift

Donations may be made to:
The UWM Foundation
1440 East North Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Payable to UWM Foundation-Red Guitar Fundor

Or Online at:

For more information, please contact Diane Grace, Director of Development, at 414-229-3902 or at

Tributes to Dr. Martin Jack Rosenblum