With students and educators returning to the classroom both remotely and in-person this semester, they face renewed pressure to create innovative lesson material and locate sources for projects. The North Jersey History & Genealogy Center has made a variety of sources available both online and in our distanced reading room.
Materials include content for projects on topics as varied as the history of scientific discovery and engineering, retail and economic development, war, and land use and development. The History Center’s collections are particularly strong in telling the stories of local families, churches, philanthropic organizations, and businesses. They also document the changing roles of racial, ethnic, & religious groups.
Our collections tell the nation’s story through photographs and postcards, family papers, maps, historic newspapers, artifacts, and various ephemera. Materials document the breadth of New Jersey’s history; some predate the founding of the United States back to the colonial era.
Among the more than 10,000 items available online, the Historic Photograph Collection and Curtiss Photo Collection are some of the most frequently referenced resources. It includes documentation of agricultural development, and suburban growth in Morris County; commerce, manufacturing, retail, and labor; as well as education and medicine.
Online collections also depict the range of Morristown and Morris Township housing, from Gilded Age estates to modest 19th century apartments and modern suburban homes; in addition to commemorative events and monuments; extreme weather events; agricultural life; and the construction of municipal services such as libraries, water treatment, fire, police, and sanitation.
A recently digitized collection of oral histories allows over forty longtime Irish and African American residents tell their own experiences of living and working in Morristown, Morris Township, and the surrounding communities.
Our Historic Postcard Collection depicts many of the county’s historic sites, local businesses such as hotels and taverns, hospitals and schools, transportation systems ranging from canals to trolley lines, and some of the amusement parks and recreational facilities that no longer exist.
The History & Genealogy Center Reading Room recently reopened to the public by appointment, and staff are available to assist visitors and supervise the handling of the collections. Appointments are limited to two parties at a time to encourage distancing and individuals are asked to limit their visit to two hours. Staff will retrieve all materials, which are placed in quarantine between use.
Onsite resources include over 60,000 published books and family histories, as well as state, county, and local histories. Archival materials consist of personal letters, diaries, scrapbooks; church and government documents, and records of local businesses and organizations. Visitors have access to historic newspapers from Morris County dating from 1798 to the present, as well as 10,000 maps depicting the County, New Jersey, and the United States.
Our selection of genealogy databases provide access to federal census records, immigration and naturalization information, military records, national historic newspapers, Revolutionary and Civil War era documents, city directories, agricultural and industrial schedules, Native American census rolls, and obituaries. Morristown and Township residents can access several databases from home with their Library Cards including HeritageQuest, MyHeritage, and ProQuest Historic Newspapers – U.S. Northeast Edition.
The reading room is accessible by appointment, and due to reduced capacity guidelines researchers are encouraged to schedule their time slot well in advance. We also offer remote research assistance for those unable to visit in person and have temporarily waived research fees throughout the pandemic; however due to the volume of requests please allow two to four weeks for a response.