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Local History, Genealogy,
& Special Collections

Our Local History Collection, one of the largest in Union County, is composed of books, documents, photographs, blueprints, maps, newspapers, personal papers, and local organizations' records of significance in Plainfield and the surrounding communities. In addition to County and State histories, we have publications on the American Revolution and the Civil War. Our unique collections include Local Authors and Diversity Studies. We are an Affilate Library of and of the Mayflower Society.

Local History open weekdays from 9am to 5 pm and Tusdays from 9am to 7pm. Appointments recommended


View Collections Index

archival collectionsOur historical collections include Plainfield history, fine art, genealogy, diversity studies, oral history, personal papers & manuscripts, records of local organizations, Jerseyana, and United States history, as well as the original Library collection from the 1800’s. There is also an additional set of books on subjects that support our collections such as photography, art, architecture, and historic preservation.

Be sure to check out the Genealogy page!

The Local History, Genealogy and Special Collections
are held in closed stacks. Collection items do not circulate and may only be viewed in the Plainfield Room


Digital Archive & Indexes
Search Digital Collections

digital archives

Our digital collections are constantly growing, and are composed of over 55,000 photographs, postcards, blueprints, documents, and more! All of these records are viewable online. In addition, researchers can access Plainfield's historical city directories, early newspapers, and Police Department Ledgers online for free.


Some publications may take a few seconds to download.

(Adobe PDF file - download Adobe for viewing)

department brochures and publications


Notable Women of Plainfield (printable)
Volunteering in Local History

A Kid's History of Early Plainfield (FREE, Second Edition)
Lost But Not Forgotten (Available for purchase)


Help Support Us

Your financial donation can provide:

$10 to $25 Archival Document Cases and Cartons (various sizes)

Photograph Digitization

$30 Archival Photograph sleeves
$40 Archival Folders or Custom Boxes
$50 Archival Frame Kit or Book Purchase
$150 Archival Poster Frame Kit
$200 Purchase of an Historical Publication
$500 (towards) Historical document or ledger repair and conservation
$1,000 + (towards) Historical map repair conservation


In Appreciation

The Local History Department received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. Additionally, the Department is supported, in part, by the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs; the Union County Board of Commissioners; the Plainfield Foundation; the Plainfield Cultural & Heritage Commission; the New Jersey Council for the Humanities; and the Friends of the Plainfield Public Library (FOPPL)



Call the Local History Department before you discard your old Plainfield memorabilia, such as photographs, newsletters, postcards, letters, scrapbooks, diaries, business cards, restaurant menus, event programs, school report cards, maps, club & organization flyers, and anything like these items that document the great history of the Queen City. The Local History Department preserves these records for future generations.




Author Talk and Book Signing with Bert Dunkerly

In the Spirit of Juneteenth: Aluta Continua
The Struggle Continues
Saturday, June 29 from 12 to 2PM
Anne Louise Davis Room
Learn More Here
Don't miss this panel discussion regarding issues past and present facing the Black family, as well as slavery in New Jersey, with Rutgers professor, Dr. Tawanda Hubbard from NJ Black Social Workers, Dr. Monique Swift from the NJ Association of Black Psychologists, author Bill Davis, and author & activist, Larry Hamm. Hamm will also be signing and selling his new book, "A Life in Struggle".

2024 Program Calendar

Recorded Past Programs

Memoir Writing Club


Reproduction Fees

B&W Photocopies 25 cents per page
Color Photocopies 50 cents per page
Digital Scans See Information Below*
Computer Printouts 25 cents per page
Microfilm Printouts 25 cents per page
Blueprints $5 per page (11" x 17")
Blueprints on USB $25 per USB

Certain items are too fragile or too large to be photocopied or scanned. In some cases, the items may be photographed by Library staff and the images printed or saved to a USB drive for patron use. Please see forms below for details about our specific policies regarding visual materials and documents.

Patrons unable to come into the Library may pay online via PayPal. We can no longer accept personal checks. Contact the Local History Department at 908-757-1111 x136 for more information.


For More Information


map of Plainfield dated 1894. links to large image
1894 Map of Plainfield by F. A. Dunham

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