Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center

About the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center

Preserving New Jersey's History

The Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center (New Jersey Room) is a research-level collection of materials relating to New Jersey, Essex County and Newark. It includes both historical and current information in these formats: books, newspapers, documents, pictures and archives.

Much New Jersey room material is searchable on the library catalog. See the Indexes and Archives sections below for further guides to NJ Room Material.


The Robert Treat Endowment

Your support of the Library’s Robert Treat Endowment Fund helps to ensure that the New Jersey Information Center collections are enhanced and preserved in perpetuity. To learn more about giving, click here.


Who Was Charles Cummings?

Mr. Cummings gave many tours of the neighborhoods of Newark and was a charter member of the  Preservation and Landmarks Committee. He dedicated his efforts to saving Newark’s historic buildings. Learn More.

 

The Collection

Books

Newspapers

Documents

Pictures

Indexes

Directories

Archives

Online Materials

The book collection (searched via the catalog) includes a variety of popular as well as scholarly items with theses and dissertations. A basic law collection contains the New Jersey Statutes Annotated and New Jersey Administrative Code, law reporters, clippings, monographs, hearings and reports. The backbone of the historical collection includes municipal, county, local and regional histories covering all parts of the state. Enriching the materials are bibliographies, an author and imprint collection, fiction set in New Jersey, technical reports, flood reports and cook books. There are 2500 maps historical and current, bound and on film (searchable in a card file in the room), and there is a large Sanborn map file along with miscellaneous fire insurance atlases for Newark and nearby communities.

The CFCNJIC also has a small collection of yearbooks: Inventory of Yearbooks owned by CFCNJIC

There is some newspaper coverage for New Jersey from 1791 to the present, with the bulk of the files found in the 20th century, see Inventory of New Jersey Newspapers on Microfilm, to see which newspapers the CFCNJIC has. The biggest Newark papers are the Daily Advertiser (19th century) the Newark Evening News (1883-1972) and the Star Ledger (became the largest paper after the News).

Find Subject Clippings:

The Newark Evening News morgue file was added to the Division in the early 1970s, and is on  microfilm with approximately 3 million clippings by subject (160,000+ subjects). Articles are arranged by subject [Sample Page].

Browse the Newark News Morgue by letter:
|A-C| |D-H| |I-New Jersey| |Newark| |Neway-S| |T-Z|
To search the Morgue click Edit, Find and Replace (on the Google Drive interface) and type in your search term. The first column states the reel number (available in CFCNJIC, write this down if you plan to come into the room and view articles), the second column states the date of the earliest article (articles continue until 1972), the third column is the subject, and the fourth column contains references. Press the back button to return to this page.

The Division’s own “Information Files” offer more than 4,000 folders from a variety of newspapers statewide on historical as well as current topics, see Index of Information (Clippings) Files. The file has been added to for more than 50 years and is updated daily by the Division’s staff.

Find Specific Articles:

For 1914-1972 (partial for 1972) the CFCNJIC has handwritten yearly indexes to the Newark Evening News (include articles by name and by subject, obituaries listed but not death notices). See Also: Newark Evening News Morgue (above).

For 1972-1982 the Cummings index to the Star Ledger 1971-1982 is searchable online (by subject, only includes large articles).

For 1983-1988 the Cummings index to the Star Ledger 1971-1982 is searchable by card file in room (by subject, only includes large articles).

For 1989-present the Star Ledger is searchable in the room (spotty for early years).

The New Jersey Periodical Index includes information appearing in regional and local new Jersey magazines from approximately 1950-2000.

The public is able to print and e-mail scans of microfilmed articles or pages at the library. If you are unable to come in to the library, please contact njreference@npl.org for information about getting copies via mail or e-mail. A fee will apply for out-of-state residents.

The Document collection is composed of several groups of materials mainly primary in nature, and including New Jersey State, Newark, Essex, and quasi-official reports (including many community groups). The New Jersey Information Center is part of the New Jersey document depository system and since 1968 automatically receives all available state publications. Newark and Essex reports are added as they are received and several hundred quasi-official agencies are in the collection. Reports come from all departments including housing, the Central Planning Board, the Mayor’s Office, the Board of Education etc. The United States Census from 1830 to 1920 as well as the New Jersey State Census from 1855 until 1915 are available on microfilm.

Documents are not searchable via our catalog and must be searched via a card file in the room.

Generally, CFCNJIC does not have vital records. These can be found at the New Jersey State Archives or via the Department of Health.

The onsite picture collection consists of approximately 35,000 black and white separate photographs or illustrations in books, indexed in the New Jersey Illustration Index which has been maintained from WPA days to the present. Included also are prints from the Fine Print Collection, 19th century illustrations from various editions of Harper’s, Godey’s Ladies Book and Frank Leslie’s Magazine, glossy photographs, post cards, etc. Entire groupings added to the picture collection include the John T. Cunningham photographs and the Jean-Rae Turner statewide and local photographs.

The onsite picture collection includes portraits and subject photo files on Newark and New Jersey. These onsite pictures only are searchable via the Illustration Index.

Offsite, the CFCNJIC owns a collection of photos acquired with the Newark News morgue – approximately 800,000 black and white images not only of New Jersey but also of worldwide interest (spanning from the early 20th century to 1972). It also contains a biographical file of photos of important people (mostly from New Jersey).

Also offsite are hundreds of thousands of photographs (mostly black and white, some color) given to the CFCNJIC by the Star Ledger, which cover the 1970s to the 1990s.

Both these collections are stored off site and are available by appointment. Searches of these photos can be requested by e-mail or phone.

Additionally, the library owns a photo collection of almost every Newark street during the 1960s. This collection index is here: Samuel Berg Photograph Index.

Items owned by the Library may be copied for publication subject to institutional copy fees. The Star Ledger must approve requests for use of Star Ledger photos.

Dissemination of local history is available through indexes compiled by library staff. Samples include the NJ Illustration Index (graphics), the NJ Periodical Index (magazines), the NJ Law Journal Index (biographical, 1971-1991), the NJ Folklore Index (key to the Henry Beck files), the NJ Lake Index (a WPA project), the NJ Author File (WPA era through 1970s), the Newark News Indexes (1916-1970), the Cummings index to the Star Ledger 1971-1982 (through 1989 in card file), and the current Star-Ledger Index all available for patrons engaged in research in the NJ Room.

Other available indexes and inventories include:

The Division is the state center for telephone directories (NJ Bell phonebooks) from the beginning of the 20th century as well as a rich 20th century depository of city directories for the entire state.

Index of city directories.

Please place requests for non-Newark directories at least one day before coming to the room, as these are kept in another area of the library. Requests can be made by e-mail or phone.

New Jersey ephemera is one of the Division’s most unusual and interesting areas. It includes traditional papers such as those of the Newark Eagles, library director John Cotton Dana, the Newark Public Librariana Collection and several hundred scrapbooks of agencies and/or individuals. Included for example are the volumes on Newark’s 250th anniversary celebration in 1916, the Flanagan Scrapbooks on theatre and notebooks of the Griffith Music Foundation. It also houses miscellaneous information concerning past officials as well as varied memorabilia of companies, invitations, business cards, bumper stickers, posters, restaurant place mats and menus, seals, and buttons.

Finding Aids

Note: These are only a small selection of finding aids. Please go to our catalog for a full listing of collections. Our archives (as well as many from other libraries and historical societies) can also be found via the Newark Archives Project.

Please place requests for viewing archival collections at least one day before coming to the room, as these are kept in another area of the library. Requests can be made by e-mail or phone.

Daniel Sutherland Anthony Papers
This collection consists of the administrative records and correspondence of Daniel S. Anthony pertaining to his work with the U.S. Department of War, the Muncie Community Discussion Council, and the Newark Human Rights Commission. 1942-1976

Banister Shoe Company Collection
This collection consists of records from the James A. Banister Shoe Company of Newark, NJ from 1890-1935, as well as research on the company from 2016.

Wilbur B. Driver Finding Aid
This collection comprises various internal documents and photographs relating to the Wilbur B. Driver Company (“WBD”), a manufacturer and developer of heat-resistant metal alloy wires, ribbons, and other materials. Circa 1900-1920 to 1985

Ernest Erber Papers
This collection consists of the personal records of Ernest Erber, which were formed while he served in the capacity as director and/or member of the executive board of several planning organizations located in Northern New Jersey. 1949-1982

Henry G. Francisco Papers
Collection of papers related to the World War I service of Newark resident Henry G. Francisco.

K.P. Galop Papers
Kathleen P. Galop was appointed by the County Executive Historic Preservation Officer and Acting Director of the Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs. Much of the collection pertains to Branch Brook Park, Newark, NJ, including materials related to The Newark Cherry Blossom Festival, Historic Register Nomination, Branch Brook Park Alliance, Essex County Parks Department, and research used in Galop’s co–authored book.

Pamela E. Goldstein Collection
This collection covers the first few terms of the Sharpe James mayoralty, 1986-2002. Materials were donated by Pamela E. Goldstein, the press spokeswoman for Mayor James.

Hellenic Heritage Collection
This collection consists of photographs, certificates, passports, clippings, and ephemera reflecting the Greek-American community of Newark, New Jersey during the 20th century. ca. 1906-2007

D.J. Henderson Collection
Dorland J. and Elizabeth (Betty) Henderson took an active interest in preservation, education, and the city of Newark. The collection reflects the breadth of the Hendersons’ interests with materials on engineering, the preservation of their house, and many organizations with which they were involved.

Charles W. Holton Family Scrapbooks
The Charles W. Holton Family Scrapbooks contain photographs, narratives, and maps documenting a 1936 trip to England and Sweden taken by the Holton family, of Essex Fells, New Jersey.

Kurt Landsberger Collection
The bulk of the collection relates to the Save the Mountain organization which Landsberger founded in 1981. Included in the collection are minutes, correspondence, notes, membership lists, clippings and press releases, flyers, and reports.

Barbara J. Kukla Papers
This collection consists of the papers and collected materials of Newark reporter and author Barbara J. Kukla. The bulk of the collection is from the 1970s-2000s and spans a variety of subjects including education, politics, religion, arts, culture, and history, with a focus on the African-American community.

Tiny Prince Collection
Carl Brinson (Tiny Prince) published magazines related to jazz, nightlife, and African-Americans in Newark from the 1950s-2000s. He also worked for the city of Newark for many years. The collection consists of photographs, papers, and periodicals.

Norman-Thomas-Riots Police Records
Newark Police Department records from the investigation surrounding a riot in Military Park at a speech of Socialist Norman Thompson against Jersey city mayor Frank Hague in 1938. Includes witness statements, transcripts, reports, and photographs.

Edward J. White Papers
Collection of financial records, photographs and personal correspondence of Edward J. White, an electrical contractor and his company, based in Newark, N.J. 1913-1958.

Librariana

Librariana
The records of the Newark Public Library, known as Librariana, include manuscript and printed materials, photographs and graphics, and other materials. The bulk of it covers the years from its founding in 1889 to the present. It is arranged alphabetically for the most part.

Librariana I: History 
This small collection on the History of the Newark Public Library consists mostly of secondary articles and essay written by various staff members.

Librariana II: Trustees
The papers of the Board of Trustees consist of by–laws, minutes (and other materials relating to its monthly meetings), correspondence, information on individual trustees, and other reports and documents.

Librariana III: Reports
This collection of records consists of the published annual reports, as well as the director’s reports, the assistant director’s reports, the deputy director’s reports, and the departmental reports.

Librariana IV: Financial Records
These financial records consist of auditor’s reports, budgets and budget reports, financial reports and statements, treasurer’s reports, contracts, and information on bequests.

Librariana V: Buildings
This collection of materials documents the activities that the Newark Public Library undertook to build, adapt, maintain, and otherwise take care of the physical places under its administration, including the Main Library on Washington Street and the various branches throughout the city.

Librariana VI: Administrative Papers of Directors

Frank P. Hill Papers
Frank Pierce Hill was the first Director of the Newark Public Library. The collection consists of 11 boxes of reports, correspondence, and contracts.

John Cotton Dana Papers
Dana was the Director of the Newark Public Library, a position he would hold until his death in 1929. The John Cotton Dana Papers consist of correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, printed material, etc…relating to the life and work of John Cotton Dana; to his interests in libraries, museums, fine printing, and education; and particularly to his work at the Newark Public Library and the Newark Museum.

Beatrice Winser Papers
Collection of correspondence of Beatrice Winser, Librarian of the Newark Public Library 1929-1942.

John Boynton Kaiser Papers
John Boynton Kaiser was the Director of the Newark Public Library from 1943 to 1958. The collection consists of biographical and bibliographical information, including the reproduction of some of his essays and articles, plus his monthly reports, mostly of a statistical nature.

James E. (“Ned”) Bryan Papers
James Edmund (“Ned”) Bryan was the Assistant Director of the Newark Public Library from 1943 to 1958, and the Director from 1958 to 1972. The collection documents Bryan’s work as Assistant Director and then Director of the Newark Public Library from 1943 until 1972, along with his various activities in professional library associations and community organizations.

Shein, Urban, and Alrutz Administrations (1972-1988)
These working papers cover relations with the American Library Association, the New Jersey Library Association, and other organizations; specialized library services and reports; public information; staff relations; and other topics relating to the operations of the Library.

Librariana VII: Departmental Records
Many of these records are reports, but include acquisitions lists, statistics, press releases, and other such information.

Librariana VIII: Staff
These materials relating to the staff are arranged in three series: 1) Staff Association; 2) Staff Notices; and 3) Staff Members.

Librariana IX: Publications
This collection is arranged in the following four series: monographs, books, serials, and miscellaneous publications.

Librariana X: Scrapbooks
Throughout its history, the staff of the Newark Public Library has put together scrapbooks documenting its activities. These scrapbooks contain program announcements, leaflets, brochures, booklists, newspaper clippings, etc.

Librariana XI: Photographs
The collection consists of photographs of the Newark Public Library, including its buildings, branches, departments, directors, staff members, trustees, patrons, programs, exhibits, etc…

Charles F. Cummings Papers
The Charles F. Cummings Papers consist of drafts, notes, research files, administrative material, correspondence, exhibit labels, photographs, etc. related to Cummings’ work in the New Jersey Information Center and other areas of the Newark Public Library; his writings, talks, tours, and exhibits related to Newark history; and his interest in, and advocacy for, the City of Newark.

Newark Library Association
Chartered in 1847, the Newark Library Association was a private organization, a subscription library, which required members to purchase shares of stock in order to utilize the collections. The collection includes a catalogue, register, and other items.

Newark Museum Association Papers
The Newark Museum Association was founded by John Cotton Dana and other civic leaders in 1909. It grew out of a series of exhibitions on the fine arts, decorative arts, and natural sciences that were held on the 4th floor of the Newark Public Library from 1902 onward. For the first 17 years of its existence, it operated out of the Library; then in 1926 it moved into its new building at 49 Washington Street. This collection of materials consists of scrapbooks and publications.

Frances E. W. Harper Literary Society
The Frances E. W. Harper Literary Society was founded in 1987 to provide intellectual stimulation to the citizens of Newark. This very small collection consists of general information, annual report, brochures, leaflets, programs, photocopies of photographs, and other miscellaneous items relating to the society and its activities.

Online Materials

Ankner, T. (2013). Libraries & Repositories: The Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center at the Newark Public Library. GSNJ Newsletter, 22(1) 6–7.

Guide to Genealogical Resources

Knowing Newark: Selected Star-Ledger Columns by Charles F. Cummings, features over 100 columns written about Newark by noted librarian, historian, and author Charles F. Cummings and eventually will contain all 500+ columns by Cummings.

Read about Newark’s Literary Lights (pdf of original 2002 publication)

Read about Newark’s Literary Lights (pdf of the 2016 publication, updated for the 350th Anniversary of the Founding of the City of Newark, NJ)

Full-text articles about the 1967 Newark Riots from the Newark Evening News, July 13 – 16, 1967

Further links of interest

Newark History and Genealogy

New Jersey History and Genealogy

For reference questions, research services, and to order copies, call the New Jersey Information Center at (973) 733-7775 or email njreference@npl.org.