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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.

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Local History Info

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COLLECTIONS
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!

Contribute to the COVID-19 Archive.
ARCHIVO COVID-19:
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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

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Digital Archive & Indexes
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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.


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Publications
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

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


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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

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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)

 

WAIT! DON'T THROW IT OUT!

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.

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UPCOMING PROGRAMS

History Chat flyer showing American Revolutionary Molly Pitcher

Saturday Morning History Chat

Untold Stories of the American Revolution
Saturday, December 10, 2022
Presented by Richard Bell
10:30am via Zoom

REGISTER HERE

Most people know something about the American Revolution and about the Founding Fathers. But the full story of the Revolution requires us to look beyond their lives and expand its cast of characters. This talk examines four other revolutionary lives: an immigrant propagandist, a female solider, a fugitive from slavery, and the grieving widow who became the most important Native American leader during the war. 

There will be time at the end for Q&A.

Upcoming Programs

2022 Program Calendar

Genealogy & History Chat
Next Program on 1/7/2023

Memoir Writing Club
Next Meeting on 1/12/2023

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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.

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For More Information

 

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

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