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Local Clubs and Organizations Collection

The Plainfield Public Library’s collection of local organizations is housed in our Local History Department. It is composed of a variety of materials including annual reports, board meeting minutes, correspondence, financial documents, photographs, scrapbooks, ephemera, and more. The following list details the collection giving the year the organization was founded and the scope of the records we have in our collection. Larger holdings have a link to their finding aids while smaller holdings do not have finding aids. The Department also holds a large quantity of vertical files that document the long history of organizations, businesses, schools, and churches in Plainfield. Some of the items have not been processed, so it is always best to contact the Local History Department to get more detailed information on gaining access to them.

<A-G> <H-M> <N-S> <T-Z>

If you are having trouble finding an organization on this page, press the <Ctrl> and <F> keys on your keyboard
at the same time to search this page for a specific organization.

The Local History Department is actively seeking donations of records from Plainfield area clubs and organizations.
If you would like to make a donation, please email the local history department or call us at 908-757-1111 ext. 136.

CONTENTS
CLUB OR ORGANIZATION NAME
FOUNDED
SCOPE
A

Allied Patriotic Societies of the Plainfields

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Union County Chapter

American Legion Frank I. Donnelly Post No. 9

Arbor Vitae Court Order of the Amaranth

Association For Childhood Education

B

Boy Scouts of America

Boys and Girls Clubs of Union County, Plainfield Branch

Business and Professional Women's Club

C

Catherine Webster Home

Catholic Women’s Club of the Plainfields

Central Jersey Chamber of Commerce

Charity Organization Society

Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle

Children of the Rainbow

Children's Home Association

Church Women United of the Plainfield Area

Community Action Agency of Plainfield

Community Chest of Plainfield-North Plainfield

Community Chorus of Plainfield

Community Concert Association

Community Players of Plainfield

Community Welfare Council

Congregation Ohavey Zedek V’Sholom

Cosmopolitan Club

D

Daughters of the American Revolution

Deliber Society

E

Elmwood Residents Association

Engineers' Club of Plainfield

F

FISH Hospitality Program

French School of Music

Friends of Plainfield Public Library

Friends of Sleepy Hollow

G

Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Winfield Scott Post No. 73

Grand Opera Association

Greater Plainfield Habitat for Humanity

H

H.E.R.I.T.A.G.E., Inc.

Hillside Country Club

Historical Society of Plainfield and North Plainfield

I

Interfaith Council for the Homeless of Union County

International Order of The King's Daughters and Sons

J

Junior League of Plainfield

K

Kings Daughters - Loyal Daughters Circle

Kiwanis Club

L

Ladies Home of Plainfield

Laurel League of Plainfield

League of Women Voters of Plainfield

Loyal Daughters Circle - Kings Daughters

M

Masonic Temple

Memorial Society of Plainfield

Mineralogical Society

Monday Afternoon Club

Monroe Avenue Family Development Corporation

Muhlenberg Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association

N

National Association of Market Developers

National Plant, Flower and Fruit Guild

Negro History Club

Neighborhood Empowerment Council

Neighborhood House

New Audiences for Plainfield

New Jersey Concert Opera

New Jersey Women Suffrage Association

O

Organized Aid Association

P

Parent-Child Assistance Committee

Parents Empowering Parents

Plainfield Area Chamber of Commerce

Plainfield Area Chapter of the American Red Cross

Plainfield Area Coalition for the Environment

Plainfield Area Equality

Plainfield Area Y.M.C.A

Plainfield Art Association

Plainfield Bilingual Day Care Center

Plainfield Business Association

Plainfield Choral Club

Plainfield Choral Society #1

Plainfield Choral Society #2

Plainfield College Club

Plainfield Committee for the Sousa Band Centennial

Plainfield Concert Society

Plainfield Country Club

Plainfield Crescent Area Neighborhood Association

Plainfield Federation of Women's Missionary Societies

Plainfield Garden Club

Plainfield Girl Scout Council

Plainfield Hearing Society

Plainfield Heritage, Inc.

Plainfield Home Defense League

Plainfield Jewish Community Center

Plainfield Kiwanis Club

Plainfield Lodge of Elks, No. 885

Plainfield Mendelssohn Glee Club

Plainfield Mothers Association

Plainfield Musical Club

Plainfield Outdoor Arts Festival

Plainfield Organization for West End Revitalization

Plainfield Reform Club

Plainfield Relief Association

Plainfield Science Education Coalition

Plainfield Seminary for Young Ladies

Plainfield Symphony Society

Plainfield Vocal Society

Planned Parenthood of Union County

Q-R

Rasores

Residents Supporting Victorian Plainfield

Ric-Charles Choral Ensemble

Rotary Club of Plainfield

S

S.C.O.P.E. / Senior Citizens Operating for Plainfield's Elderly

Sesame Club

Shakespeare Society

Spanish Community Organization of Plainfield / S.C.O.P.

Stillman Music Hall

T

Town Improvement Association

U

Union Club

Union County Country Club

Union County Hiking Club

United Community Fund

United Community Services

United Family and Children's Society

United Hebrew Charity Organization

United Way of Greater Union County

V

Van Wyck Brooks Historic District

Visiting Nurse Association of Plainfield and North Plainfield

W

Watchung Book Club

Watchung Nature Club of Plainfield

Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC)

Women's Auxiliary of Muhlenberg Hospital

Women's Society of Christian Service

X-Y-Z

Y.M.C.A. of Plainfield

Y.W.C.A. of Plainfield and North Plainfield

Allied Patriotic Societies of the Plainfields

We do not have any historical information about this organization.
If you have any background on this organization, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: 1924 event program.

Unknown
1924

FAAmerican Association of University Women (AAUW)

The Plainfield, NJ branch operates under the New Jersey division of the AAUW. It was known as "The College Club" until the formal name change to the "American Association of University Women, Plainfield Branch" in 1970. The branch recently joined forces with the Plainfield Public Library to hold a series of panel presentations on unusual career choices for girls and women.

Holdings: Papers documenting the development and execution of this group, as well as official branch documents, branch and New Jersey Division activities, and national organization programs and research. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1921
1964-2002

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Union County Chapter

We do not have any historical information about this organization. If you have any background on this organization, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: Bylaws, newsletters.

Related material: "The Robert L. Bender Papers," Local History Department, Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield, New Jersey.

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Unknown
1965-1967

American Legion Frank I. Donnelly Post No. 9

We do not have any historical information about this organization. If you have any background on this organization, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: Concert program from January 1922.

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Unknown
1922

Arbor Vitae Court Order of the Amaranth

The Order of the Amaranth is a fraternal organization composed of Master Masons and their properly qualified female relatives. In its teachings, the members are emphatically reminded of their duties to God, to their country and to their fellow beings. They are urged to portray, by precept and example, their belief in the "Golden Rule" and by conforming to the virtues inherent in truth, faith, wisdom and charity; they can prove to others the goodness promulgated by the Order.

The extent of its charitable work and overall benevolence is limited only by the opportunities that exist, and the ability to secure adequate funding. Its major philanthropic project is the Amaranth Diabetes Foundation. The flag of the appropriate country is prominently displayed at all meetings creating a strong sentiment of patriotism and devotion to the respective land that we love.

The Arbor Vitae Court, No. 40, is the Plainfield area branch whose home has been the Masonic Temple at Park Avenue and East Seventh Street since the court was instituted on September 27, 1930.

Holdings: Meeting Pamphlets, 1937-1941.

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1930
1937-1941

Association for Childhood Education

We do not have any historical information on the Association for Childhood Education. If you have any background on this organization, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: One undated recital program featuring Dorothy Pearsall and Mabel Sturgis.

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Unknown
Undated

Boy Scouts of America

The purpose of the Boys Scouts of America is to provide an educational program for boys and young adults to build character, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop personal fitness. It was incorporated on February 8, 1910, and chartered by Congress in 1916. Plainfield, NJ, is currently included in the ‘Patriot’s Path Council’ which is based in Chatham, NJ. There was formerly a troop office at 125 East Front Street, but it has since been closed.

Holdings: Programs and letters from the time of World War I, which provide insight into the war effort and the camaraderie of the Boy Scouts.

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1910
1917-1921

Boys and Girls Clubs of Union County, Plainfield Branch

Boys and Girls Clubs of America had its beginnings in 1860 with several women in Hartford, Conn. Believing that boys who roamed the streets should have a positive alternative, they organized the first Club. In 1906, several Boys Clubs decided to affiliate and the Federated Boys Clubs in Boston was formed with 53 member organizations – this marked the start of a nationwide Movement. In 1931, the Boys Club Federation of America became Boys Clubs of America. In 1956, Boys Clubs of America celebrated its 50th anniversary and received a U.S. Congressional Charter.

To recognize the fact that girls are a part of the organization’s cause, the national organization's name was changed to Boys and Girls Clubs of America in 1990. 2006 marked the Centennial year of Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

In 1966 the organization was chartered by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, which now has over 3400 affiliates throughout the United States. The mission of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Union County [2001] is "To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens." Their focus is to provide programs and services that produce positive and lasting outcomes. They are committed to the long-term development of every child who comes through our doors by providing guidance and a series of caring relationships with adults and peers. The Plainfield branch was opened in 2000 and is one of the fastest growing branches in the area.

Holdings: A 2001-2002 grant application, which consists of a detailed overview of the facilities, blueprints from building renovations, newspaper articles, program profiles and general information.

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2000
2001-2002

Business and Professional Women's Club

While mobilizing for World War I, the United States Government recognized the need for a cohesive group to coordinate identification of women's available skills and experience. A Women's War Council, financed through a federal grant, was established by the War Department to organize the resources of professional women. The National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs was founded on July 16, 1919. BPW/USA became the first organization created to focus on the issues of working women.

The New Jersey Federation of Business and Professional Women (NJBPW) was founded on May 30, 1919. The purpose of the New Jersey Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, as expressed in the earliest extant example of the state constitution, was: to promote the interests of Business and Professional Women; to secure beneficial legislation for women, to encourage co-operative efforts among women and an inter change of ideas; to gather and distribute information relative to vocational opportunities and to bring about a great solidarity of feeling among business and professional women throughout the State.

A charter was presented to the Plainfield branch on November 19, 1923. After spending their first few years concentrating on starting new clubs, in the late 1920s, the NJBPW followed the lead of the national federation in supporting the cause of international peace. The economic crisis of the Great Depression, however, led to a change in the federation's direction. In 1931, the national federation broadened their mission to include "improving social and economic conditions of everyone to ensure fullest opportunities for development of their varying capacities."

During World War II, the federation contributed and raised funds for the war effort and also drafted revisions of the constitution replacing “men” with “person” and advocating the rights of women in the workplace.

The 1950s were years of prosperity for the NJBPW. The federation continued to the governor to appoint more women to civil service posts and Congress regarding income tax deductions and the Equal Rights Amendment. New Jersey also embarked on several new program areas during the 1950s. As part of the new women's health area, local clubs studied ageing, mental health, children, accident prevention, and the provision of housing for retired women. The federation also promoted legislation for the mandatory licensing of nurses.

In the 1960s, the federation was involved in legislative activity at both the national and state level, including work on the Equal Pay Act, Civil Rights Act, and Equal Credit Act. The state federation's program expanded into several new areas during this period, many of which reflected an attempt to attract younger women. In 1962-1963, reflecting changing priorities, several new committees were created or renamed: Personal Development, Civic Participation, World Affairs and Public Relations.

In spite of the New Jersey federation's many successes during the 1960s, signs were already appearing that the membership base was weakening. The federation continued to try to increase and retain members through various schemes including a revamped award system for local clubs successful in attracting members, and a new district-based structure, allowing for more combined meetings and programs.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the NJBPW undertook new legislative and programmatic goals. In addition to the traditional equity and workplace issues, the federation lobbied for legislation related to women's health and welfare. In spite of successful campaigns, membership continued to decline. The federation introduced several initiatives to attract new members. In 1980, men were allowed to join for the first time, and in 1987, a new category of at-large members was introduced. Other strategies were the formation of membership expansion teams throughout the state, mergers, reforming or relocating old clubs, and relocating meeting places. The federation also introduced new fund-raising schemes, such as fashion shows.

However, by 1990 the BPW/USA's Revitalization Action Plan stated that the group was at a crisis point in regards to membership. Although the New Jersey Business and Professional Women closed its state headquarters in 2001, it maintains a web site and virtual office and continues its educational, scholarship, publications and legislative programs in cooperation with the national federation.

Holdings: Committee and membership lists from 1920-1922, as well as a 1930 banquet program, all from the Plainfield Chapter.

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1919
1920-1930

Catherine Webster Home

SEE: Ladies Home of Plainfield.

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1910
1910-1991

FACatholic Women's Club of the Plainfields

The Catholic Women’s Club of the Plainfields was founded in 1937 by Catholic women who continued to live the club’s motto of ‘loving kindness.’ The organization has grown over the years and is still in existence today.

Holdings: Six scrapbooks holding newspaper clippings, photographs, banquet programs and membership lists, which provide a unique inside look of the club over many decades. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1937
1938-1994

Central Jersey Chamber of Commerce

The Central Jersey Chamber of Commerce (CJCC) serves a tri-county business community, including Plainfield, North Plainfield, South Plainfield, Dunellen, Fanwood, Green Brook, Scotch Plains, Warren and Watchung. It is one of twelve affiliate chambers of the Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce, which is now the fastest growing and largest Chamber in Northern New Jersey. The CJCC hosts activities such as the Annual Outdoor Festival of Art in July, and Festival of Trees in December.

Holdings: 2000 newsletter, The Chamber Key.

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1964
2000

Charity Organization Society of Plainfield and North Plainfield

The Charity Organization Society of Plainfield and North Plainfield was founded in 1907. It assisted thousands of individuals and families, providing emergency relief and basics necessities. They also maintained the Ella Hartley Mellick Community House, which was a center for children and young people to gather, learn, and play. Instructional and recreational classes were held and clubs, such as the local Boy Scouts, met there. More than one hundred volunteers ran the house’s programs. The organization later merged with the Plainfield Relief Association to become the Organized Aid Association (OAA).

Holdings: Two annual reports from 1933 and 1939.

Related Material:
Annual report of Charity Organization Society of Plainfield and North Plainfield
[Charity Organization Society of Plainfield and North Plainfield, 1907-1939] PR 361.9 CHA

Charity Organization Society material relief report [United Family and Children's Services (Plainfield, N.J.), 1917-1929] PR 362.8 UNI

Minutes of the Charity Organization Society of Plainfield and North Plainfield [Charity Organization Society of Plainfield and North Plainfield, 1912-1913] PR 362.8 CHA

Charity Organization Society Scrapbook PR 362.8 Un3S v.3

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1907
1933-1939

Chatauqua Literary and Scientific Society

Bishop John Heyl Vincent founded the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC) on August 10, 1878, four years after the founding of the Chautauqua Institution. The Plainfield branch was headquartered at the corner of Park Avenue and North Street in a structure built solely for this purpose.

At its inception, the CLSC was basically a four-year course of required reading. The original aims of the CLSC were to promote habits of reading and study in nature, art, science, and in secular and sacred literature, and to encourage individual study, thus opening the college world to persons unable to attend higher institutions of learning. Over 8,400 people enrolled the first year, of which 1,718 successfully completed the reading course, the required examinations and received their diplomas on the first CLSC Recognition Day in 1882.

Now the CLSC is the oldest continuous book club in America and has remained a leader in adult education. It has enrolled at least a half-million readers and at one time sponsored 10,000 reading circles throughout the country. The CLSC was also one of the earliest to introduce learning by correspondence. Its book selections are offered today with continuing education emphases.

Holdings: The original guidelines for the organization, membership receipts, an award ribbon, and a newspaper article on the society.

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1878
1880-1889

Link to finding aidChildren of the Rainbow

Children of the Rainbow was founded in 1972 by a small group of parents who sought a stimulating educational environment for their kids.  The school promoted an environment where children, ages 5 to 12, could develop intellectually, emotionally, and physically at their individual paces. There were no grades, and students learned through discovery and non-traditional classes.  The founders wanted to create a school where children of all races, religions, and economic classes could work together and cooperate, rather than compete, in an atmosphere that encouraged independence and self-confidence.

Holdings: Descriptive organizational documents, board and committee meeting minutes, blank forms, correspondence, publications, newspaper clippings, and ephemera. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1972
1972-2003

FAChurch Women United of the Plainfield Area

Church Women United began in 1912 as the Federation of Women's Missionary Societies, later changing its name to the United Council of Church Women and then to Church Women United in 1967. This collection documents the organization back to the first meetings of the Federation through its evolution to the Plainfield Area chapter of Church Women United.

Holdings: Constitution and by-laws, general meeting and committee meeting minutes, newsletters, annual reports, attendance records and a variety of additional historical documents. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1912
1912-1989

Community Chest of Plainfield-North Plainfield

The Community Chest of Plainfield-North Plainfield, the forerunner of the United Way, was formed in 1919. The first organization of its kind in New Jersey, its purpose was to "provide an agency through which worthy charitable, relief, social welfare and like activities of general community concern may unite in their appeals to the public for financial aid and support." The organization was immediately successful, with 2,300 individuals joining its first year and 5,119 its second. The reasons for such success were stated as "greater efficiency in collecting funds, in giving and in spending the funds" because fundraising and distribution efforts were not duplicated thanks to the organizational structure. Contributions were made to organizations such as the YMCA, YWCA, YHCA, Boy Scouts, Red Cross, Muhlenberg Hospital, and The Salvation Army.

Holdings: Certificate of incorporation and by-laws, handbooks, annual report and newsletters, dating 1919-1920 and 1940.

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1919
1919-2002

Community Chorus of Plainfield/Plainfield Community Chorus

The Plainfield Community Chorus was open to anyone in Plainfield, regardless of the quality of the voice. There was no cost to join or expectations that needed to be upheld.

Holdings: Concert programs from 1920-1922.

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Unknown
1920-1922

Finding Aid LinkCommunity Action Agency of Plainfield

The Community Action Agency (C.A.A.) is one of the six branches of the Community Services Administration, which is an agency within the Federal Government dedicated to reducing poverty throughout the United States since its inception in 1975. Established under the Economic Opportunity Acts of 1964, the C.A.A. is widely spread throughout the United States, consisting of over 1,000 agencies nationwide. The C.A.A. is responsible for assisting over 30 million poverty-stricken Americans and Puerto Ricans annually. The majority of the Community Action Agency’s funding has been coming directly from the Community Services Administration, with the rest being supplied by State and Local governments. In June of 1977, the Plainfield Community Action Agency Planning Committee requested that a community action agency for the city of Plainfield be formed. In the following August, the Plainfield Community Agency became certified, and has been serving the community ever since.

Holdings: A variety of historical material spanning from 1967-1978, with the bulk of records dating between 1977 to1978.  Record types include: memorandums, meeting notes, agency information, ephemera, administrative statements, legislation, applicability information, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and loose hand-written documents. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1975
1967-1978

Community Concert Association

We do not have a great amount of historical information on the Plainfield Community Concert Association. If you have any background information that you are willing to share, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: One program from a tribute to Kenneth Amada in 1964; the document also has Mr. Amada’s autograph.

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Unknown
1964

Community Players of Plainfield

The Community Players of Plainfield was a drama group organized in 1924. If you have any background information that you are willing to share, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: One program from a 1927 performance of “Nothing But The Truth,” by James Montgomery.

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1924
1927

FACommunity Welfare Council/Community Service Council

The major role of the Community Welfare Council (CWC)/Community Service Council (CSC) was to see that communities had efficiently run programs of health, welfare and recreation services. The Council completed a study of Plainfield’s West End facilities and services as well as the Neighborhood House. The organization had several names, starting as the Council of Social Agencies, then the Community Council, then in 1953 the Community Welfare Council (CWC) and finally the Community Service Council in 1961.

Holdings: Newspaper articles, meeting minutes, annual reports, and surveys. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1953
1957-1964
Congregation Ohavey Zedek V'Sholom

A Hebrew society of Plainfield, Congregation Ohavey Zedek V’Sholom (Lovers of Justice) incorporated on November 26, 1912. It was a place of worship for Orthodox Jews and there was a cemetery for its members. It was originally located at 444 West Third Street, but by the 1950s, had relocated to 422 West Front Street.

Holdings: Constitution & By-laws and an event program, dating 1954 and 1958.

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1912
1954-1958

cosmopolitan clubCosmopolitan Club

The Cosmopolitan Club of the Plainfield Area was a ladies’ social club based in Plainfield.  The club existed for 50 years, from 1947-1996, with the mission to “extend a friendly and neighborly hand to all members, and to bring together women interested in subjects of educational, cultural, and humanitarian importance.”  The Club was originally named the Welcome Wagon Newcomers Club, dating back to 1944, before changing its name in 1947.  Welcome Wagon was organized by Mrs. Kay Monfort in an effort to bring together newcomers to the area and welcome them into Plainfield by creating neighborly friendships.  It was re-formed in 1951-52, and was jointly sponsored by the Cosmopolitan Club and the YWCA. 

Holdings: Administrative and financial records such as annual reports, meeting minutes, event schedules, membership lists, yearbooks, and two scrapbooks.  The scrapbooks contain ephemera, newspaper clippings, and photographs of members and club activities. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1947
1945-1996

FADaughters of the American Revolution

The Continental Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution began on January 23, 1896, serving the Plainfield area until it merged with the Elizabeth Snyder Chapter of Dunellen on July 2, 2002. This collection documents the chapter’s membership and activities over the majority of its 106-year history.

Holdings: Meeting minutes, scrapbooks, financial records and historical chapter papers. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1896
1895-1997

Deliber Society

The Deliber Society was founded in 1881 with the purpose of promoting the literary interests of its members. Weekly meetings were held and members were assigned discussion topics, orations and readings.

Holdings: Deliber Society Meeting Book, 1881-1883, containing the organization's constitution, by-laws and details of meetings.

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1881
1881-1883

Elmwood Resident Association

We do not have any historical information on the Elmwood Residents Association. If you have any information or items to add to the collection, please contact the Local History department.

Holdings: Meeting minutes from 2002.

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Unknown
2002

Engineers' Club of Plainfield

Originally named the Executives' Club of Plainfield, this organization was founded in 1917 to help leaders of various manufacturing industries get together for both personal acquaintance and to discuss business problems and propositions. At the second meeting on March 15, 1917, Luther Symmes Ayer was elected the club’s first president, Clarence W. Spicer the first secretary, and A. F. Stillman the first treasurer. To become a member, one had to be a general executive of an officer in one of the industries of Plainfield and the vicinity, which covered the land extending along the New Jersey Central line. The entrance fee was $15 and annual memberships dues also $15.

On May 26, 1921, it was renamed the Engineers' Club of Plainfield and the constitution was rewritten to emphasize the engineering requirements for membership. Its responsibilities grew to include guiding high school students into schooling and careers in engineering and a scholarship foundation was formed. The club almost saw its demise during the Depression, but members came together and maintained the club. It is unknown if the club is still in existence.

Holdings: A thirtieth anniversary history of the club, dated 1947.

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1917
1947

FISH Hospitality Program

The mission of FISH, Inc. is to supply emergency food and clothing to needy residents; the organization also delivers food to some senior centers in its coverage area, which includes New Brunswick, Plainfield and Middlesex, NJ. They assist guests in obtaining housing, jobs, and medical services. Churches in the Presbytery actively supporting this mission include Dunellen, Bethel, Avenel, Middlesex; Edison, Community and Oak Tree Presbyterian.

The FISH Hospitality Program began in February 1990 as part of FISH, Inc. and in 1992 incorporated independently, although the two still work closely together. It’s a network of 15 churches whose mission is to help homeless women and families by providing short-term housing, job assistance and help finding permanent housing Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties in order to give them a new opportunity to live independently in their communities as respected families and individuals.

Holdings: Fact sheets, general organizational information and newspaper articles, dating from 2002-2008.

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1990
2002-2008

French School of Music

Mademoiselles Yvonne Combe and Hélène Pfeiffer founded The French School of Music in December 1927.  The school was located at 514 Park Avenue in Plainfield and Mlle. Combe was the principal.  Due to an increasing number of students, in 1937 it moved to a larger building at 210 West Eighth Street.  The school became known for instruction of the solfège method of teaching: an approach used to teach pitch and sight singing.

Yvonne Combe was born in Paris.  She received her musical foundation from her mother, a well-known vocal instructor.  At the age on nine, Yvonne entered the National Conservatory of Paris, where she later graduated with honors.  She appeared as a piano soloist in a series of professional concerts, but a serious accident to her wrist ended her career.  Undaunted, she turned her talents to teaching. 

Hélène Pfeiffer was born in Switzerland.  She became a pupil of Mlle. Combe and studied both piano and solfège very seriously. She graduated from one of schools Mlle. Combe founded in Switzerland, and became an associate teacher with her.

Prior to coming to New Jersey, both Combe and Pfeiffer trained thirty teachers in the solfège method of musical instruction and supervised seven separate music schools in France, Switzerland, and England.  Once here, they trained students of all ages.  They not only offered piano and solfège lesson, but also taught the French language and Dalcroze rhythmic dance.  Several pupils went on to have notable professional careers as soloists and with important symphonies.

The French School of Music continued under the direction of Stephen Waters, who studied and worked closely with Mme. Combe since the age of nine.  After Mme. Combe's passing in 1992, Stephen and his wife, Judy, acquired the School.  Mr. Waters directed the School until he passed away in May 2014; Judy is now the sole owner and director.  The School continues to offer piano and music instruction, and is still located at 210 West Eight Street.

Holdings: Loose ephermera, photographs, and newspaper clippings, as well as 3 scrapbooks containing the same (in delicate condition).

Related material: Paul R. Collier Photograph Collection
Photo ID C20413, French School Students Outdoors, May 1939.

Photo ID C20414, French School Students in Classroom, May 1939.
Photo ID C20415, French School Students in Classroom, May 1939.


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1927 1920s-1980s
     

Friends of Sleepy Hollow (FOSH)

The Friends of Sleepy Hollow is a neighborhood association created by and for all citizens and taxpayers of Sleepy Hollow and surrounding neighborhoods in the City of Plainfield, New Jersey. Founded in the 1990s, it is active in fostering economic development and camaraderie in the community. They also strive to create and maintain secure neighborhoods as well as promote neighborhood issues and concerns to elected and appointed city officials. They maintain a group web site at http://www.foshnj.com.

There are no membership fees, dues or formal joining process for The Friends of Sleepy Hollow. The group believes that all the neighbors in Sleepy Hollow are its “members.” FOSH is an official 501C3, so they have an official board, members of which are nominated and voted on each July.

Holdings: Newsletters from 1997-2004.

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1990s
1997-2004

InventoryFriends of Plainfield Public Library

The Friends of the Plainfield Public Library (FOPPL) is a 501c(3) non-profit organization that helps support the Plainfield Public Library. The Friends' mission is to promote the general interests of the Plainfield Public Library and the community it serves by maintaining an association of people interested in the library and its resources; focusing public attention on the facilities and services of the library; and assisting the library in providing those facilities and services which will improve its usefulness to the community. Membership is open to any person or organization interested in the purposes of The Friends.

Holdings: Records comprise newsletters, correspondence, meeting notes, clippings, ephemera, receipts, financial documents, and legal documents. There are no photographs in this collection. The “Friendly Affairs” newsletters include the inaugural issue. The majority of this collection focuses on the new Plainfield Public Library building, specifically the period from 1962, when the Board of Directors began investigating the products and services needed for a new library building, to 1966, which saw the groundbreaking of the new library, to 1968, when the Friends and the Library staff and supporters held numerous dedication events

 

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1960 1952-2011

FAGrand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Winfield Scott Post No. 73

The Winfield Scott Post, No.73, was founded on December 13, 1882 with 39 charter members, gradually increasing to over 400. It served as the local Plainfield G.A.R. post until a second location, the Major Anderson Post, No. 109, was established in 1887 with 23 members, quickly growing to forty-four in 1889. It was named after Major Robert Anderson who first fired on Fort Sumter. The two posts consolidated around 1894.

Holdings: Newspaper articles, by-laws and rosters. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1882
1883-1915

Grand Opera Association of Plainfield

We do not have any historical information on the Grand Opera Association of Plainfield. If you have any information or items to add to the collection, please contact the Local History department.

Holdings: Undated concert program and music.

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Unknown
Undated

Greater Plainfield Habitat for Humanity

In 1989, Plainfield, New Jersey was a stop on "Marching to Zion", a walk of thirty thousand volunteers from Portland, Maine, to Atlanta, Georgia to spread the word about the Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) mission to end poverty housing. Following the march, a group of Plainfield residents incorporated as a HFH branch and gained non-profit status as Greater Plainfield Habitat for Humanity. At the end of a year, approval was sought and granted from HFHI and efforts were begun to raise funds to buy property and build the first house. Now more than 25 homes have been built; the organization continues to raise funds, acquire property, and invite more people to help.

Holdings: 1999 GPHFH newsletter.

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Unknown
1999

H.E.R.I.T.A.G.E. / Helping to Enhance Resources by Incorporating The Arts to Gain Education

H.E.R.I.T.A.G.E., Inc. is a non-profit organization, which launched in November 2003 by Donovan Soumas. It was established to address the growing need to offer resources and opportunities in the arts and arts education to individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Thus, the Mission is "to create and provide resources for disenfranchised communities who are interested in pursuing and enhancing their talents in the performing arts field" encompasses who they are and what they offer to the citizens of Plainfield and the greater community. More information is available through their website; http://www.heritageprograms.org/.

Holdings: A 2003 invitation to the announcement celebration of the organization.

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2003
2003

Hillside Country Club

SEE ABOVE: Plainfield Country Club.

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Historical Society of Plainfield and North Plainfield

The mission of the Historical Society of Plainfield and North Plainfield is to promote interest in history and to maintain and develop the Drake House Museum. The Historical Society of Plainfield was founded in 1921 to preserve the Drake House as a local landmark. Title was later transferred to the City of Plainfield, which currently assists the Historical Society in maintaining the house as a public museum.

The Drake House Museum, through its permanent collection and various programs, brings many facets of our heritage to Plainfield and the surrounding communities. The Drake House was built in 1746 by Isaac Drake as a home for his son, Nathaniel. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington and his officers were often entertained here when in the area on military maneuvers; the house also served as military headquarters in 1777.

Support from Society members, foundations, local organizations, and individuals aid the ongoing cost of restoration and acquisitions to the collection.

Holdings: Newsletters, event programs and Drake House pamphlets.

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1921
1969-2002

Interfaith Council for the Homeless of Union County/Homefirst

The Interfaith Council for the Homeless of Union County began in 1986 when a group of Union County religious leaders and lay people, responding to the crisis of family homelessness, created an emergency shelter called the Interfaith Hospitality Network. The organizations has since changed its name to Homefirst and is now is a leader in eradicating homelessness caused by poverty and racism, working with and striving to unite all levels of society to bring about the institutional changes needed to eliminate the societal factors that contribute to homelessness. More information is available on their website: http://www.homefirstinc.org/.

Holdings: Newsletters highlighting organizational activities and prominent members.

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1986 1999-2000

FAInternational Order of the King's Daughters and Sons, including the Benevolent Circle and Opportunity Circle

The International Order of The King's Daughters and Sons (IOKDS) is an international and interdenominational organization of Christian men and women dedicated to service in Christ's name. The Plainfield branches – the Benevolent Circle (founded in 1950) and Opportunity Circle (founded in 1956) – are not currently active.

Holdings: This collection includes the constitution, by-laws, and correspondence of the Benevolent Circle, in addition to several bound volumes, including a roll book, a cook book, and meeting minutes. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1886
1902-1962

Junior League of Plainfield

The Junior League of Plainfield was founded in 1923 with twenty-five charter members. On April 1, 1964, the Junior League of Elizabeth merged with the Cranford Junior Service League to become the Junior League of Elizabeth and Cranford. On April 1, 1976, the Junior League of Plainfield and the Junior League of Elizabeth and Cranford merged to form the Junior League of Elizabeth-Plainfield, N.J. Inc., which is the current organization. It is a branch of the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI), an organization of women committed to promoting volunteering, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

Holdings: A 1925 event program and 2 newsletters from 1963.

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1923
1925-1963

FAKiwanis Club

Kiwanis International was founded in Detroit, Michigan, on January 21, 1915. The Plainfield Kiwanis Club was founded in 1924 and was an active branch of Kiwanis International until it was disbanded in September 1995 after membership declined to sixteen. The organization took part in local community service in addition to organizing the Scotch Plains Key Club, the Wardlaw Key Club and a Key Club in Aukland, New Zealand.

Holdings: This collection includes annual reports, correspondence, membership lists, newsletters (Blotters), meeting minutes, and event programs. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1924
1932-1995

FALadies Home of Plainfield / Catherine Webster Home

The Ladies Home of Plainfield was incorporated on June 10, 1910, under the New Jersey act of 1898 related to incorporations not for pecuniary profit, to give effect to the Last Will and Testament of Catherine R. Webster. The Ladies Home of Plainfield served as a residence until the 1990s when it was closed. The vacant building on Franklin Place was bought in August 2006 by the local Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). Their original plan to convert the building to eight apartments for women in need of transitional housing was withdrawn in March 2007 after objections were raised by area neighborhood associations. There is no relationship between the Ladies Home and the YWCA. As of November 2009, the building is a privately-owned residence.

Holdings: The collection includes minutes, program-related documents, financial records, resident records, correspondence, photographs, blueprints, newspaper clippings, and assorted ephemera. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1910
1910-2007

Laurel LeagueLaurel League of Plainfield

The Laurel League was created in October 1935 when Mrs. Laura Schmidt invited four friends - Alice Noonan, Gladys Duleskis, Helen David, and Anne Dodd - to her home to start a Catholic women’s club. The object of the League was “to bring together Catholic women interested in subjects of educational, cultural, and humanitarian significance, with a view to community usefulness.”  Over the years, League activities developed into those of both social and educational importance.  Monthly meetings focused on current events presented by knowledgeable guest speakers.

Holdings: The collection includes publications such as annual programs (yearbooks), newsletters, scholarship award and dinner programs, some financial records, and other administrative documents, both typed and handwritten.  The bulk of the collection was contained within six scrapbooks and consisted of a large series of newspaper clippings chronologically documenting the League from 1935 to 1975.  There is also one folder of Monday Afternoon Club membership programs (1976 to 1980) and an early, typed Constitution and By-laws (undated). See Finding Aid for more information.

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1935
1935-1986

Laurel LeagueLeague of Women Voters of Plainfield

The League of Women Voters of Plainfield is one of the oldest active leagues in the United States.  After a mass meeting on May 10, 1920 to form a Plainfield League, the first meeting of the League of Women Voters of Plainfield and North Plainfield took place on May 14, 1920 (three months to the day after the formation of the National League of Women Voters, and a mere one month after formation of the New Jersey league).  It was originally open only to women.  By September of 1920, over 3,000 women in Plainfield registered to vote after attending a citizenship school over the summer.  Dues were only 20¢ a year for a regular membership. There were departments for: Child Welfare, Social Hygiene, Women in Industry, Legislation, Citizenship, and Fair Price. There were standing committees for: publicity, finance, speakers, entertainment, and enrollment.  North Plainfield formed its own League in September 1953.

Holdings: The collection includes administrative materials, financial documents, annual reports, minute books, publications, newsletters, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and ephemera.  The bulk of the material dates from 1952 to 1973. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1920
1920-1981

Loyal Daughters Circle - Kings Daughters

In 1906, the City Union of King's Daughters opened the first Day Nursery in the Plainfields. The King's Daughters Home for the Aged opened in 1929.

Holdings: 1955 event program presenting Cornelia Otis Skinner in "Modern Monologues" at Plainfield High School on May 3, 1955.

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1906
1955

Masonic Temple - Free and Accepted Masons (F. and A. M.)

The Masonic Temple records include mostly those from the Masonic fraternity's Jerusalem Lodge No. 26, in Plainfield, although other chapters and lodges are documented. The Jerusalem Lodge No. 26 was established in Plainfield in 1817, and Col. John Allen was the first Worshipful Master (1817-1819). The Lodge first appears in the Plainfield city directories in 1879. The early records of the Lodge were destroyed in the Babcock Building fire of 1902, although it was reported that the original 1817 square and compasses were recovered from the ruins.

There is less information about the African American Masonic Lodges, or any affiliated women's groups, such as the Order of the Eastern Star. If you have any information or items you would like to donate to this collection, please contact the Local History department.

Holdings: Scrapbook materials including correspondence, meeting programs, ephemera, photographs, and newspaper clippings; other publications. Related photographs are part of the Historical Photograph Collection and Plainfield Postcard Collection. Please refer to the Library Catalog for circulating books regarding this subject.

Related material:
PR 366.1 THO "Jerusalem Lodge F. & A.M., Plainfield, New Jersey."

ARCH 366.109 AND "The constitutions of the Free-Masons : containing the history, charges, regulations, etc., of that ancient and right worshipful fraternity : for the use of the lodges."

ARCH 366.1 WAL "History of the United Supreme Council Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Prince Hall Affiliation, Northern Jurisdiction, U.S.A., Inc., 1881-1998."

ARCH 366.103 MAC "A dictionary of Freemasonry : a compendium of Masonic history, symbolism, rituals, literature, and myth."

DIVERSITY 366.109 SIB RILEY COLL. "The story of freemasonry."

DIVERSITY 366.1 RIC RILEY COLL. "Richmond lodge, no. 230, F. & A.M. a review of its past half century."

NJR 366 H8 "origin of masonry in the state of New Jersey, and the entire proceedings of the Grand Lodge, from its organization. A. L. 5786."

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1817
1933-1945

Memorial Society of Plainfield

The Memorial Society of Plainfield was founded in 1964 by a group of people who joined together "to obtain dignity, simplicity and economy in funeral arrangements by advance planning." It served the people of Union, Somerset and parts of Middlesex counties until 2004 when it formally changed its name to the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Central New Jersey, which reflected their partnership with the Funeral Consumers Alliance, Inc., the oldest and largest nonprofit funeral consumer watchdog organization in the country which has over 120 chapters in the United States. The location remained at 724 Park Avenue in Plainfield.

The organization is run solely by volunteers and has no attachment to the funeral industry or religious group. Democratically controlled, it holds annual meetings at which members elect officers and welcome guest speakers who offer information on a variety of topics related to funerals and end-of-life planning.

Holdings: Pamphlets, newspaper articles and correspondence.

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1964
1973, 2004

Mineralogical Society

We do not have any historical information on the Mineralogical Society. If you have any information or items you would like to donate to this collection, please contact the Local History department.

Holdings: An undated list of minerals found in trap rock quarries and palisades of New Jersey.

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Unknown
Undated

FAMonday Afternoon Club

Eliza Elvira Kenyon, grandmother of Van Wyck Brooks, founded the Monday Afternoon Club in 1888 after seeing a need in Plainfield for a permanent organization for women with an interest in literary study.  The first meeting of 50 members was held in the library of the Plainfield Seminary for Young Ladies (founded by Kenyon in 1866).  The Club incorporated in 1889. For several years, the regular meeting place was the Seminary’s assembly room.  In the beginning, programs were limited to Literature, History, Music and Art.  Topics were broadened to include Current Events, Sanitary Plumbing, Evolution, Socialism and Women’s Suffrage.  Dues were five dollars per year and each member was required to write a paper when requested to do so.

Holdings: The collection includes annual club programs, specific event programs, constitution and by-laws, financial ledgers and records, membership lists, Club magazines, photographs, ephemera, scrapbooks, and decades of newspaper clippings. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1888
1889-2007

Monroe Ave Family Development Corp

The Monroe Avenue Family Development Corporation is a community-based non-profit organization that aims to provide leadership in promoting, facilitating and coordinating the delivery of education, cultural and social support services for the benefit of at-risk children and their families. In 1996, the MAFDC developed the Young Achievers Program, which gave youth in the community the educational, social and recreational support that is required for growth and development. It is unknown if the organization is still serving the public; any additional information you may have would be welcomed by the Local History department.

Holdings: A 2000 informational sheet.

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Unknown
2000

MHSNAAMuhlenberg Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association

The Muhlenberg Hospital School of Nursing was established in 1894 as the Training School for Nurses. It opened on December 10th and offered a two-year training course. The first class of two students began their studies and graduated in 1896. Construction of the nurses housing was completed in that same year.  In 1920, the school was named the Muhlenberg School of Nursing. The Alumnae Association was organized in 1905 with a membership of seven.

Holdings: The collection includes publications such as yearbooks and course catalogs, administrative material including annual reports, financial records, meeting minutes, and by-laws, correspondence, and subject files including awards, centennial celebrations, ephemera, and reunions. There is also a series of scrapbooks that contain newspaper clippings, photographs and photocopied images. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1894
1904-2000

National Alliance of Market Developers

The National Association of Market Developers (NAMD) was launched in 1953 at Tennessee State University by Moss Kendrix. According to Moss Kendrix, Jr., the association was viewed by his father as a support group for minorities in the public relations field. The association is still in operation today.

The mission of the National Alliance of Market Developers [undated] is to learn, teach and network for success. The goals are to serve as a national African-American consumer resource; to provide professional support to the community; to support students through education and guidance programs; to increase NAMD’s exposure through national public affairs; and to develop national liaisons with other organizations. The national office is located at 620 Sheridan Avenue in Plainfield.

Holdings: Undated membership information.

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1953
Undated

National Plant, Flower and Fruit Guild, Plainfield Branch

Joseph M. Harper founded the National Plant, Flower and Fruit Guild in 1904, after the death of his sister. The purpose of this local flower mission was to carry cheer to the sick and shut-ins and sorrowing. Mr. Harper served as president for 13 years and was later an honorary president.

Holdings: Newspaper articles from 1929 and 1931.

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1904
1929, 1931

Negro History Club

The Negro History Club was founded in 1925 by Mills Barnes, who saw the need for such a club after graduating from Plainfield High School and seeing no reference to black history at school.

Holdings: A newspaper article from February 7, 1996.

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1925
1996

Neighborhood Empowerment Council

The Neighborhood Empowerment Council was founded in 1999 as part of Plainfield’s designation as an Urban Coordinating Council community and was led by John Brinkley.

Holdings: An undated organization overview and business proposal.

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1999
Undated

Neighborhood House

SEE ABOVE: Church Women United.

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New Audiences for Plainfield

New Audiences for Plainfield is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting cultural and arts organizations and activities is Plainfield. Its mission is “to foster the development of a successful and attractive arts and culture scene and to promote the area as a premier arts destination in Central New Jersey. If you have any additional background information or items for the collection, please contact the Local History department.

Holdings: Correspondence and documents regarding the formation of the organization.

Related material: Cultural inventory of Plainfield, New Jersey: prepared for the New Audiences for Plainfield Project [Olim-Gomes, Andrea, 1996] PR 974.936 OLI

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1995
1995-2000

New Jersey Concert Opera

The New Jersey Concert Opera (NJCO) was founded in 2004 by Olive Lynch. It produces an opera in concert form at least six times a year, both existing repertoires and new operas by American composers. The company also sponsors the NJCO Young Opera Composer Competition for high school and college students. Recently, they won a 2007 Union County Arts Grant of $2,000 for a concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of West Side Story.

Holdings: Constitution, invitations, and organizational newsletter.

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2004
2004-2006

New Jersey Women Suffrage Association (NJWSA)

SEE ABOVE: League of Women Voters of Plainfield.

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1867
Undated

Organized Aid Association

The Organized Aid Association was formed in 1893. As stated in the certificate of incorporation, the primary goals of the Organized Aid Society were “to secure the harmonious cooperation of all the charities of the community; to investigate every case of need reported to it; to find for every worthy applicant prompt assistance; to furnish assistance in a way that shall preserve the self-respect of the applicant and prevent pauperization; to place in asylums those physically or mentally incapacitated; to prevent fraud and imposition; to encourage self-help and industry, and to discourage begging and reliance on charity.” In 1907, it merged with Plainfield Relief Association to form Charity Organization Society.

SEE ALSO: Charity Organization Society.

Holdings: Hand-written letter (1894) and speech (1898).

Related material:
Yearbook of Organized Aid Association of Plainfield and North Plainfield [The Association, 1893-1904] PR 361.9 ORG 1893-1904

United Charity Association Executive Committee minutes [United Family and Children's Services (Plainfield, N.J.), 1893-1902] PR 362.8 UNI

Annual reports [United Family and Children's Society (Plainfield, N.J.), 1879-1905] PR 362.8 UN3A V.2-3

Annual report of the Plainfield Relief Association [Plainfield Evening News print, 1879-1905] PR 362.8 PLA V.1-3

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1893
1894,1898

Parent-Child Assistance Committee

The Parent-Child Assistance Committee was appointed by the Recreation Commission of Plainfield by resolution on February 7, 1943, but was run independently. It was presented by Francis Sabino, Officer Walter M. Browne, and Homer W. Wieder. It was an early step taken toward resolving the growing problem of juvenile delinquency and hoped that the new committee would serve local children in need of guidance and counsel.

The name of the committee, “Parent-Child,” designates the approach and placement of responsibility – the child must realize that it has a responsibility to the parent and to society and the parent must likewise realize his responsibility to the child and to society.

The cases are brought to the committee from the Child Protection Bureau of the Police Department, which also compiles all available information on the families for review. The parents and delinquent children are brought before the Committee for a ruling of discipline; they are also required to return for a follow-up meeting.

Holdings: History pamphlet from 1944.

Related material:
Plainfield Recreation Commission Annual Report [Plainfield Recreation Commission, 1962] PR 790 PLA

Report of the Parent-Child Assistance Committee [Parent-Child Assistance Committee, 1944] PR 362.7 P2

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1943
1944

Parents Empowering Parents

Parents Empowering Parents (PEP) is a local organization who serves as the equivalent of a citywide parent and teacher organization. Founded in 2001, they have monthly meetings, locations of which rotate among area schools, and frequently welcome speakers and hold conferences. Their mission is to “ensure that no child if left behind by connecting families to resources and services that promote successful youth development” and envision “Fully engaged parents, teachers, school administrators, faculty in cooperation with the community at large to leverage resources, skills and talents; thus ensuring every child receives support, encouragement and a high-quality education.” They sponsor annual events such as Plainfield Parent Involvement Day and Superintendent’s Apple Awards, as well as educational workshops, empowerment conferences and networking meetings.

Holdings: 2003 Training Brochure from the PEP Parents Institute, event announcements, and general organizational information.

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2001
2003-2007

Plainfield Area Chamber of Commerce

The mission of the Plainfield Area Chamber of Commerce is “to provide opportunities for businesses to come together and do business that will result in the growth of business in the City of Plainfield.” It was absorbed into the Central Jersey Chamber of Commerce, but then reestablished in 2000. It currently has approximately 135 members, who benefit from the opportunities to network, business credibility, and representation to government provided by the Chamber. The Chamber promotes business in Plainfield by allowing the various business districts to be part of a single organization seeking to improve the city's business climate and also conducts networking events, offers business referrals and holds events designed to promote city commerce and offer educational resources for business owners.

Holdings: Four items including a calendar of events, 2 banquet programs, and 45 R.P.M. record of “The Plainfields Jingle.”

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Unknown 1959-2006

FAPlainfield Area Chapter of the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross, founded in 1881, is a nationwide network of more than 800 chapters dedicated to saving lives. The Tri-County Chapter, established in 1917, has administrative offices in Plainfield, NJ, and a Disaster Command Center in Elizabeth, NJ. The Chapter provides programs and services to over 500,000 residents of 22 towns covering three counties.

Holdings: Annual reports, programs, newspaper articles, and marketing material. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1917 1917-1963

Plainfield Area Coalition for the Environment (PACE)

In 1970, the Plainfield Area Coalition for the Environment was organized to: “gather and make available information on ecological and conservation issues, organizations, and pending and existing legislation; stimulate and encourage complaints directed to the most effective existing agencies dealing with these problems; provide ideas for cutting down on pollution at home, work, school and play; and to encourage and assist schools, churches, social and business groups planning programs designed to educate their membership so that we can all deal with the problems immediately, rationally and effectively.”

They worked to conserve green space in New Jersey, promoted Plainfield’s Beautification Committee, fought the inevitable building of the sports complex in the Meadowlands, and protested the use of incineration as a solid waste disposal solution.

Holdings: Newsletters documenting the start of the organization.

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1970 1970-1971
Plainfield Area Equality

Plainfield Area Equality is a gay rights organization founded in 2000 by Joan Hervey. It began as an email newsletter that went to hundreds of residents in New Jersey and promoted a resolution in support of a marriage equality lawsuit and other gay rights issues. The group currently promotes gay rights issues, is active in politics, and builds bridges between the gay and straight communities.

Holdings: Pamphlets and Newspaper Articles, 2004-2005.

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2004 2004-2005

Finding AidPlainfield Area Y.M.C.A.

The Plainfield Area YMCA began in 1867 when Alexander Gilbert and H. Otis Newman voiced mutual concerns over the moral climate facing the youth in Plainfield following the Civil War. The Association was actually formed one year before Plainfield became incorporated as a city, with Mr. Gilbert as its first President.  The new organization initially met in churches and rented spaces.  Its first comprehensive building was erected in 1894 at the corner of Front Street and what is now Watchung Avenue.  Primary programs included the library, Bible classes, night classes, and cultural programs.  The Works of the boys’ branch began in the late 1880’s, as did the Wawayanda boys summer camp.  The Women’s Auxiliary of the Y.M.C.A. was up and running by June 1885, and was shut down in February 1959.   Physical health programs began in the 1880’s.  The first comprehensive facility was constructed in 1894 and included a gymnasium and pool.

Holdings: The collection includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, and publications such as annual reports and event programs. There is a large quantity of ephemera ranging from membership forms to song books.  The collection includes two (2) scrapbooks that contain newspaper clippings, event-related items, and correspondence.  There are also four black & white photographs: three of the Y building and one of a circus event. See Finding Aid for more information.

Related material: See Finding Aid.

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1867 1869-2007

Plainfield Art Association

Cateau de Leeuw founded the Plainfield Art Association on February 17, 1927. Its purpose was "to serve its members and the community by providing stimulation, inspiration and education in the practice and appreciation of the visual fine arts."

Holdings: Two membership lists and organizational by-laws.

Related material: Catalogue of the Plainfield Art Association Statewide Exhibition [Plainfield Art Association, 1964] PR 707.4 P69

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1927 1962-1971

Plainfield Bilingual Day Care Center

The Bilingual Day Care Center (BDCC) was originally known as the Spanish Community of Plainfield (SCOP) until November 1972 when the city recognized the need for such a program for the growing Hispanic population and it became part of the Plainfield Action Services. The BDCC was created to provide low-income area residents with quality childcare. It is licensed to accommodate 100 children and often has a long waiting list. It was the recipient of a La Promesa award from the National Latino Children’s Institute in 2002; this award commends outstanding community-based programs as exemplary models of “what works” in the Latino community.

The center participates in projects in addition to the day care services. It provides the children with bilingual/bicultural education, recreational activities, and meals throughout the day. Their mission also grew in the 1990s to include the Welfare to Work program. The center has additionally worked with the Board of Education on the Abbott distance mandates, although the on-going mission concentrates on providing quality childcare for residents.

Holdings: Several pages (undated) of general description of the organization that was part of a funding application.

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1972 Undated

faPlainfield Business Association

The Plainfield Business Association (PBA) was established as an association of business persons interested in “Progress for Plainfield.” The PBA was founded in 1963 “to promote, cultivate, and foster the spirit of cooperation between the merchants, business and professional people of Plainfield; to encourage its members to adopt a high standard of service, business ethics, and value in the conduct of their business; to help in the development and growth of Plainfield business; and to assist and advise the governing bodies of Plainfield whenever called upon for the benefit of the city.” Membership was open to any person, firm, partnership or corporation doing business in the city; any person unanimously recommended by the entire Board of Trustees shall be eligible as an honorary member.

Holdings: Historical information, such as the organization’s constitution and bylaws; materials on the annual Sidewalk Sale; and correspondence to members and business regarding activities. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1963 1979-1998

Plainfield Choral Club

The Plainfield Choral Club was established in 1928 with the intent of being a permanent chorus. Although it did not end up “permanent,” it was a respected chorus while in existence. Membership included “seriously minded students and lovers of music resident of Plainfield and vicinity, which a united purpose of upholding the best traditions of outstanding composers.” The first conductors were Willard Sektberg, Edward Harris and Charles Albert Baker.

Holdings: Concert programs and a fundraising pamphlet.

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1928 1929-1942

Plainfield Choral Society #1

We do not have any historical information on the Plainfield Choral Society #1. If you have any background information on this organization, please contact the Local History department.

Holdings: 2 concert Programs from 1890 and 1893.

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Unknown 1890-1893

Plainfield Choral Society #2

The Plainfield Choral Society #2 was founded in 1962 to provide area singers with an opportunity to study and perform the larger sacred and secular choral compositions from all periods of music history. The first director was Louis Hooker.

Holdings: A 1963 concert program.

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1962 1963

Plainfield College Club

SEE ABOVE: American Association of University Women (AAUW).

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FAPlainfield Committee for the Sousa Band Centennial

In 1892, John Philip Sousa left the Marines and held his first concert as a civilian at the Stillman Music Hall in Plainfield, NJ. It was a major event in its day and, in the early 1990s, a committee formed to plan a celebration for its 100-year anniversary.

Holdings: This collection includes planning correspondence, event programs, and newspaper coverage. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1892 1991-1993

Plainfield Concert Society

The Plainfield Concert Society was a non-profit organization that existed to bring great music to the citizens of Plainfield.

Holdings: Concert programs, subscriber lists and an annual questionnaire for society members, dated 1920-1924, 1928, and 1930.

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Unknown 1921-1930

Plainfield Country Club

The Plainfield Country Club was originally named the Hillside Tennis Club when it was founded on April 19, 1890. It was located at the corner of Hillside and Watchung Avenues in Plainfield and was composed of two tennis courts. It quickly added more courts and a cottage that served as the clubhouse. It outgrew the space in 1895 and moved to a location on Plainfield Avenue, near the future Hartridge School. It was at this location that a 9-hole golf course was added and a small clubhouse was built.

In July 1896, the club was incorporated as the Hillside Tennis and Golf Club. The membership began to increase rapidly and, the following year, the club purchased ample land at its current location. The club was a charter member of the Metropolitan Golf Club (1897) and the New Jersey State Golf Association (1900). It was renamed the Plainfield Country Club on December 22, 1904.

A new 18-hole course was designed by Tom Bendelow, infamous for his “18 stakes on a Sunday afternoon” approach to golf course design. This course opened in 1898 and was lengthened to 5239 yards in 1903, then to 5708 yards by 1913. It was redesigned in October 1916 by famed golf course architect Donald Ross; construction was delayed by World War I and the new 6277-yard course was not introduced until September 1921. The new course co-existed with the old “West Nine,” which was turned into a semi-public facility during the Depression and World War II as a way to create extra income, but has continued to this day.

Holdings: Club books from 1909 and 1913 that are duplicates of those cataloged. Researchers are urged to utilize the additional cataloged materials listed below.

Related Material:
The First Hundred Years: Plainfield Country Club, 1890-1990 [Martin, Denise] PR 790 P6F

Hillside Country Club, 1896-1904 [Moench, Beverly] PR 790 HIL

The Hillside Tennis and Golf Club [The Club] PR 790 HIL 1891-1903, 1899, 1901, 1903

Plainfield Country Club Annual Reports of Officers and Committees [The Club] PR 790 PLA 1909 1914

Plainfield Country Club: Club Book [The Club] PR 790 PLA 1905 1909 1913 1922 1924 1925 1927 1930 1949

Plainfield Country Club Scrapbook, 1905-1913 [The Club] PR 790 PLA

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1904 1909-1913

Plainfield Crescent Area Neighborhood Association

The Crescent Area Neighborhood Association seeks to improve the quality of life of the neighborhood and the adjacent areas, to preserve and promote the neighborhood’s rich history, and to help divulge and embrace our rich diversity. It was founded in 1977 and recently celebrated is 30-year anniversary.

Holdings: Newsletters from 1983-1985 and an undated event invitation.

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1977 1983-1985

Plainfield Federation of Women's Missionary Societies

SEE: Church Women United.

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1912 1912-1917

Plainfield Garden Clubfindingaid

The Plainfield Garden Club began as a local women’s activity club and developed into a dynamic, influential group in the Plainfield, New Jersey community.  The PGC was ahead of its time.  It focused on community beautification, horticulture, civic betterment, the empowerment of women, and environmental conservation – decades before such activities became fashionable. 

Holdings: The collection includes administrative material, such as early constitutions and by-laws, as well as meeting minutes, annual reports, event records, scrapbooks, journals, a large quantity of newspaper clippings documenting flower shows and many other Club activities, as well as numerous photographs and slides taken by club members. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1915 1915-2005

Plainfield Girl Scout Council

The Plainfield Girl Scout Council was founded in 1925 and served the Plainfield area until 1957. It then became part of the Girl Scouts of Washington Rock Council, Inc., merging with seven other Central Jersey Girl Scout Councils (Cranford Area, Council of Elizabeth/Hillside/Linden; Council of Roselle/Roselle Park, Council of Scotch Plains/Fanwood; Springfield; Union; and Westfield Local) to better serve an increasing membership of 12,000 by combining resources. In October 1, 2008, the Girl Scout Council of Greater Essex And Hudson Counties, Girl Scouts of Washington Rock Council and the Girl Scouts of Rolling Hills Council will unite to form one council as part of national realignment. As it has always been, the goal is to continue to provide girls from all jurisdictions the best in Girl Scout programming and to mold them into women of courage, confidence and character.

Although the council is included under the umbrella of the Washington Rock Council, the Plainfield Girl Scouts have developed and maintain their own website, http://www.plainfieldgirlscouts.org, with historic details on their organization and Plainfield as a city.

Holdings: Newspaper articles regarding council activities.

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1925 1936-1967

Plainfield Hearing Society

The mission of the Plainfield Hearing Society was to actively test human hearing and select, fit and dispense hearing instruments. They also conducted lip reading classes, hearing workshops, and individual instruction in both hearing and speech therapy.

Holdings: 1960 Annual Report.

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Unknown 1960

Plainfield Heritage, Inc.

Plainfield Heritage, Inc. is a private non-profit corporation formed as a response to the recognized need to preserve the unique aspects of Plainfield’s past. The organization created goals and programs which were either project-oriented or for community action.

Holdings: 1978 informational pamphlet.

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Unknown 1978

Plainfield Home Defense League

The Plainfield Home Defense League was formed in March 1917 with the purpose of “to organize, drill and otherwise train and equip a body of citizens to be available for service as special police officers of the Police Department.” Membership was voluntary, without dues, and limited to “able-bodied men, citizens of the United States and residents of good standing in the city for at least one year, who are not connected with any military organization.”

Holdings: The first annual report (1918) and a letter from the mayor, Leighton Calkins.

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1917
1918

Plainfield Jewish Community Center

The Plainfield Jewish Community Center was founded in 1914. It served the Plainfield area until 1981, when it came together with a neighboring branch, the YM-YWHA of Greater Westfield to form the Jewish Community Center of Central New Jersey. It was formally incorporated five years later and is currently an active organization located on Martine Avenue in Scotch Plains. More information is available on their website: http://www.jccnj.org/.

Holdings: 1943 event program.

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1914 1943

FAPlainfield Kiwanis Club

Kiwanis International was founded in Detroit, Michigan, on January 21, 1915. The Plainfield Kiwanis Club was founded in 1924 and was an active branch of Kiwanis International until it was disbanded in September 1995 after membership declined to sixteen. The organization took part in local community service in addition to organizing the Scotch Plains Key Club, the Wardlaw Key Club and a Key Club in Aukland, New Zealand.

Holdings: This collection includes annual reports, correspondence, membership lists, newsletters (Blotters), meeting minutes, and event programs. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1924 1932-1995

Plainfield Lodge of Elks, No. 885

The Plainfield Lodge of Elks, No. 885 was founded in 1867 as ‘The Jolly Corks’ and then was renamed the ‘Order of Elks’ in 1868, although the national affiliation was not in existence until 1903. The original meeting location was at Red Men’s Hall, in the old Stillman building, at 212 West Front Street. In 1913, the Elks moved to 116 Watchung Avenue. The organization is still in existence and is currently location at 473 Somerset Street. More information is available on the National website: http://www.elks.org/.

Holdings: Newspaper articles documenting the formation of the lodge, dating from 1903, 1934, and 1934.

Related material: Blueprint collections, D-8974, D-12602, D-12689.

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1867 1903-1934

Plainfield Mendelssohn Glee Club

We do not have any historical information on the Plainfield Mendelssohn Glee Club. If you have any information or items you would like to donate to this collection, please contact the Local History department.

Holdings: 1937 concert program.

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1934 1937

Plainfield Mothers Association

The Plainfield Mothers Association was organized in 1906 with the goal of “presenting and promoting the best conditions for the development of children.” Membership was open to anyone who paid the dues. If anyone has any additional information regarding this organization, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: 1922 version of the constitution and by-laws.

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1906 1922

FAPlainfield Musical Club

The Plainfield Musical Club was founded in April 1892. The charter members had been meeting informally for several years before officially establishing the club, which was “dedicated to the stimulation of a greater interest in musical culture.” Important early members included Miss Maud Van Boskerck, who came to the club as a pianist and contributed to programs as an accompanist and offered her studio as a meeting place. The club was also active with the community. They contributed money to the Red Cross during both World Wars, bought and donated boxes or seats at the Metropolitan Opera House for the Jersey Junior performances as well as tickets to performances by the Plainfield Symphony Society, Plainfield Choral Club and Mendelssohn Glee Club.

Holdings: The collection consists of historical papers, such as meeting minutes and treasurers records, in addition to scrapbooks which cover several decades of organizational activity. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1892 1892-1967

Plainfield Organization for West End Revitalization (POWER)

Originally called WE NOW (for West End Neighborhood Organization and the slogan, "If not we, who? If not now, when?", the group issued a newsletter in August 2004 announcing that it had drafted bylaws and was forming a board. The project's top priority was rehabilitation of run-down houses, along with bringing jobs and community services to the 210 acres bounded by Central Avenue, Clinton Avenue, NJ Transit tracks and the south side of West Fourth Street. Since then, the group has reorganized as POWER (Plainfield Organization for West End Revitalization), which has teamed up with Homefirst (formerly Interfaith Council for the Homeless of Union County) and Rutgers University’s National Center for Neighborhoods and Brownfield Redevelopment to revitalize the West End.

The organization was not knocked off track in September 2007 when a major 5-year grant request proposed to Wachovia was denied. A smaller grant was awarded to assist the organization in gaining a stronger foothold in the community by restructuring and becoming a certified non-profit agency. They remain determined to revitalize 44 blocks in the West End area of Plainfield.

Holdings: Articles written on organizational activities and development from 2006 and 2008.

Related material: Plainfield West End neighborhood preservation and revitalization action plan: draft for public comment [National Center for Neighborhood and Brownfields Redevelopment, 2004] PR 307.12 PLA

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2004 2006-2008

Plainfield Outdoor Arts Festival

The Plainfield Outdoor Arts Festival began in 1964 when four local businessmen (Bill Boise, James Miron, Al Pittis, and David Scheckman) shared their idea for a summer cultural event with the Plainfield Art Association. The first festival was held in a parking lot on East Front Street, and about 250 artists participated. The festival grew to showcase over 500 artists at one point. Nationally recognized artists have participated, including Plainfield artists Riva Helfond and Alonzo Adams. In 1988, the Children's Gallery was added to encourage the artistic talents of Plainfield's youth.

Holdings: General records dating back to 1971 include meeting notes, letters, financial information, maps, artist lists and resumes. There are also annual event programs and newspaper clippings dating from 1992 to 2004.

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1964 1971-2004

Plainfield Reform Club

The Plainfield Reform Club was formed in February 1884 when the Women’s Christian Temperance Union was invited to Plainfield. They held crowded temperance meetings in churches and halls, as it was the height of the temperance movement. As the organization grew stronger, they wanted to have a permanent home and meeting place; in August 1884, the club purchased a building at the corner of Second Street and Central Avenue which had originally belonged to the Second Baptist Church. It was renamed Reform Hall. In addition to the Reform Club, Reform Hall was also used as a meeting place by many other organizations.

Holdings: Bound meeting minutes from the first organizational meeting and newspaper articles documenting its growth and history.

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1884 1884-1908

Plainfield Relief Association

The Plainfield Relief Association was founded in 1880. It was supported entirely by voluntary contributions and was in debt more often than not. They offered relief to families that were in need of clothing, money, or food by paying the mother or father to contribute to one of the organization’s projects, such as the sewing club which made clothing, or the wood yard which sold lumber at market value to members of the community. They also gave Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas trees and gifts to families every year. After several years with low subscription numbers and struggling to make ends meet, the Plainfield Relief Association merged with the Organized Aid Association on April 10, 1907, resulting in the formation of the Charity Organization of Plainfield and North Plainfield.

SEE ALSO: Charity Organization of Plainfield and North Plainfield and Organized Aid Association.

Holdings: Undated letter from Plainfield resident requesting donations for her annual Christmas party for poor children.

Related material:
Minutes of Plainfield Relief Association [Plainfield Relief Association (Plainfield, N.J.), 1891-1907]] PR 362.8 PLA

Minutes of Executive Board of Relief Association from April 3, 1890 - November 16, 1893 [Plainfield Relief Association (Plainfield, N.J.), 1890-1893] PR 362.8 PLA

Annual reports [United Family and Children's Society (Plainfield, N.J.), 1879-1905] PR 362.8 UN3A

Annual report of the Plainfield Relief Association [Plainfield Relief Association, 1879-1905] PR 362.8 PLA V.1-3

Constitution and by laws of the Plainfield Relief Association [Plainfield Relief Association (Plainfield, N.J.), 1878] PR 362.8 PLA

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1880 Undated

Plainfield Science Education Coalition

We do not have any historical information on this organization. If you have any background on this organization, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: 1979 annual report.

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Unknown 1979

Plainfield Seminary for Young Ladies

Located on West 7th Street, near Park Avenue, the Plainfield Seminary building was constructed in 1855 and was known as “The Chestnuts.” At that time it housed the Opheleton Female Seminary, which was founded by E. Dean Dow.  Around 1867, Miss E. E. Kenyon, a prominent society lady and founder of the Monday Afternoon Club, and her sister, Mrs. Maxson, took over Opheleton. The Seminary, also known as the “Plainfield College for Young Ladies,” “Plainfield Seminary for Young Ladies and Children,” and “Miss Kenyon’s Seminary” had day students and boarding students.  Although the Seminary closed its doors on June 9, 1919, it had an active alumnae group which held meetings for many years.

Holdings: 3 scrapbooks: Volume 1, 1867-1893; Volume 2, 1893-1907; Volume 3, 1907-1923. The scrapbooks contain photographs, clippings, ephemera, and hand-written notes.

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1867 1867-1923

finding aidPlainfield Symphony Society

The Plainfield Symphony Society was established in 1919 when a small group of amateur musicians gave a concert in Grace Church.  The founders were Mrs. Harry K. White, Mrs. Noel G. Evans, Kenneth F. H. Underwood, former Mayor G. W. V. Moy, Dr. Leonard Waldo, Joshua L. Loizeauz and William. L. Littlewood.  The first conductor was Christian Kriens, who was also a violinist.

Holdings: Seasonal and single event programs, newspaper clippings, correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes, photographs, and ephemera. There is also a series pertaining to the Symphony Auxiliary. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1919 1921-2008

Plainfield Vocal Society

We do not have any historical information on this organization. If you have any background on this organization, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: Event program.

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Unknown 1879

Planned Parenthood of Union County Area

The Planned Parenthood of Union County began in 1932 as the Maternal Health Center. Inspired by a speech by Margaret Sanger (an early advocate of contraception and founder of the first birth control clinic in America), several interested Plainfield women started a car service to transport women to a birth control clinic in Newark. The following year, they opened their first clinic in a room above a store. As the clinic grew, it moved around Plainfield to the YWCA, the Charity Services Organization building and to the VNA. It is currently located at 234 Park Avenue.

The Maternal Health Center changed its name to the Plainfield League for Planned Parenthood, and then to the Planned Parenthood Tri-County League after merging with the Westfield Committee for Planned Parenthood in 1965.

Holdings: A brief history of the local organization branch, funding and fundraising information, and an overview of services available.

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1932
1975-1979

FA Rasores

In 1886, the Rasores was founded when four Plainfield women met together with the idea of setting aside one morning each week as “a social restful helpful meeting” for “mental improvement” – a reading club. It was named after the natural history class of birds that scratch for their livelihood. Each week, they read from a worthwhile book for an hour and then had a current events period, in which all members participated. The number of members was gradually increased to 30, but a long waiting list remained; and in 1904, Sesame, a “daughter” club was formed for the women who we were on this waiting list. A state federation of women’s clubs was formed in 1984; the Rasores joined along with 37 other clubs statewide. The Rasores remained an active organization until 1956 when it was disbanded.

Holdings: Bound volumes of meeting minutes and annual reports as well as a brief history of the organization and newspaper articles. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1886
1898-1957

Ric-Charles Choral Ensemble

Formed in 1980 by Richard L. Bowles and Charles E. Evans (Ric-Charles), the group is a non-profit arts organization composed of dedicated professionals from many backgrounds. The Ensemble continues a great choral tradition by offering audiences a wide range of music, from classical to spirituals and jazz to gospel songs. They also heightened musical appreciation of the audience and shared appreciation for the diversity of the black idiom. Over their 20+ year history, the group has been lead by several artistic and choral directors, notably Donovan Souras (founder of the Souras Heritage School of Music in Plainfield), Winston Hughes and Robert E. Winder, Jr. They are supported by churches, organizations and friends.

The Ric-Charles Choral Ensemble participated in the inaugural activities for New Jersey Governors and Plainfield Mayors as well as performed for the National Association of Negro Musicians, Harlem Week Festival, the mass assembly for New Jersey’s Statue of Liberty Celebration, and Westminster Choir College. They also have performed with such famous singers as William Warfield, Nikki Giovanni, Julian Bond, Jesse Jackson, Linda Hopkins, John Amos, Lou Rawls and Maya Angelou.

Holdings: This collection includes 1 folder of organizational materials, such as performance programs, photographs, newspaper articles, and brief histories.

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1980
1986-2004

Rotary Club of Plainfield

The Rotary Club of Plainfield was begun by William L. Smalley and William N. Runyon in early 1921. Following several visits to the Rotary Club of New York, plans for a Plainfield branch were developed with the help of James G. Orr of the Elizabeth Rotary Club. On December 1, 1921, charter number 1034 was issued to the Rotary Club of Plainfield; it was club number 5656. The club was all men until 1986 when women were allowed; since then, membership has been roughly 50% female.

Prominent members of the Plainfield Rotary Clubs have included William L. Smalley, founder of the branch; F.S. “Matty” Mathewson, who has served as both President and Governor and has an award named in his honor; Charles Loiseaux; Walter L. Hetfield; and Allen B. Laing. Activities of the local chapter have included an annual track and field meet for high school and junior high school athletes; providing monetary and time contributions to several area charities, such as the United Fun, Salvation Army and Neighborhood House; constructing a wading pool t the Kings Daughters Day Care and creating a Rotary Mini-Park in front of City Hall; and much more. The Plainfield Rotary Club also established an Interact Club in Plainfield High School in 1989, which is a service club that carries out two projects a year. ‘Interact’ stands for International Action; the first such club was founded in 1962.

Holdings: Programs from 50th and 75th anniversary celebrations, a newspaper article, a membership book of members from 1921 to 1963, and an undated tissue-paper sketch.

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1921
1935-1997

Residents Supporting Victorian Plainfield (RSVP)

Residents Supporting Victorian Plainfield (RSVP) was a diverse social club that hosted many social activities as well as advocating the preservation of Plainfield’s historical homes. Founded in 1985, RSVP was an important outlet for new residents and the gay community. The organization held popular events such as a home and garden tour, dinners and happy hours, and theater outings.

Plainfield has a culturally diverse population and a significant number of gay households. Enticed by handsome architecture, reasonable real estate prices, and an easy commute to New York City, the gay community thrived starting in the early 1980's. Although RSVP’s membership and activities have waned, former members are now pouring their efforts into the annual Plainfield Pride Film Festival.

Holdings: This collection includes newsletters from 1999 to 2003.

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1985
1999-2003

S.C.O.P.E. Senior Citizens Operating for Plainfield's Elderly

We do not have any historical information on this organization. If you have any background on this organization, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: undated pamphlet.

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Unknown
Undated

Click for Sesame ClubSesame Club

The Sesame Club, one of Plainfield’s oldest literary clubs, was organized on November 10, 1904.  The name comes from John Ruskin’s “Sesame and Lilies” - the first book read by the club.  Three local ladies, Mrs. Stephen H. Voorhees, Mrs. Louis H. Ross, and Mrs. William M. Sandford, are credited with founding the club, which began with twenty-five members.  Each year, the club focused on a reading topic, such as a particular author, place or time period, and members prepared programs on it and would review a book or read a paper.  Past subjects included: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rome, and a Winter in Florence. Sometimes members would bring special guests, with topical knowledge or experience, to speak at club meetings.

Holdings: The collection includes a variety of record types, including the Club’s annual activity programs, administrative records, such as meeting minutes and roll books, a series of newspaper clippings, and several photographs that document early Club events.  There are also two copies of the Club’s namesake book, “Sesame & Lilies.” See Finding Aid for more information.

Related material: Plainfield Public Library’s historical photograph collection, Grimstead G-722.

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1904
1865-1980

Click for Sesame ClubShakespeare Society

The Shakespeare Society was created as the “Shakespeare Club of Plainfield” in October 1887 by Mrs. Frederick F. Beals with eighteen charter members.  The first meeting was held in the Beals’ home, and the first reading selection came from King Lear.  The Chronicles reflect the personality of the club. For 107 years, the Society members prided themselves on being the antithesis of a stodgy, academic group.  It has been noted, in fact, that they were not a learned society or literary club; they simply liked to read Shakespeare aloud. 

SEE ALSO: Plainfield Garden Club.

Holdings: The collection includes six leather-bound volumes containing the meeting minutes of the Society. The volumes contain an assortment of record types including, hand-written and typed minutes, photographs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and other Society-related papers. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1887
1896-1994

Click for Sesame ClubSpanish Community Organization of Plainfield (S.C.O.P.)

The Spanish Community Organization of Plainfield (S.C.O.P.) was a social services organization that provided a variety of programs to Plainfield’s Latino community.  The S.C.O.P. was formed in 1969 as a component of Plainfield’s original anti-poverty agency, Community Action Plainfield.  It incorporated in 1970, was run by a board of directors, and began to administer its own programs and obtain funds.  The S.C.O.P. was active during the 1970s, and is no longer in operation.

SEE ALSO: Community Action Agency of Plainfield.

Holdings: The collection includes administrative & legal documents, financial records, meeting minutes, by-laws, correspondence, newspaper clippings and subject files. See Finding Aid for more information.

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1969
1969-1980

Stillman Music Hall

Holdings: 1901 "The Oratio of Elijah" Event program.

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Unknown
1901

Town Improvement Association

A citizen's group to arouse a deeper interest in the welfare of both city and home, and of "suggesting how women may discharge their municipal obligations."

Holdings: Early constitution (undated).

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Unknown
Undated

Union Club

We do not have any historical information on this organization. If you have any background on the Union Club, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: Letter from 1884.

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Unknown
1884

Union County Country Club

We do not have any historical information on this organization. If you have any background on this organization, please contact the Local History Department.

Related material: Constitution and by-laws of the Union County Country Club [Plainfield, NJ : The Club, 1890] PR 790 UNI

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1890
1915-1916

Union County Hiking Club

We do not have any historical information on this organization. If you have any background on this organization, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: Spring schedule (25th anniversary).

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1938
1963

United Community Fund

The United Community Fund was a community effort to support the Plainfield area. The Community Chest and the American Red Cross joined in organization the Fund. We do not have any more historical information on this organization. If you have any background on this organization, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: Two annual reports, 1958 & 1959.

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1958
1958-1959

United Community Services

We do not have any historical information on this organization. If you have any background on this organization, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: 50th anniversary annual report.

Related material:
United Community Services annual report [Plainfield, N.J. : The Services], 1962, 1968, 1969, 1971. PR 361.8 UNI

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1918
1962-1971

United Family and Children's Society

United Family and Children's Society was established in 1877 as The Children's Home Association - the first private, organized efforts to help needy people in the Plainfield area. It became the current organization when the United Catholic Aid Society and the United Hebrew Charity Organization merged into one group in 1942. It is a non-profit licensed family services agency. For more information, visit their website: www.unitedfamily.org.

Holdings: Brochures, pamphlets, certificate of combination & bylaws, memo, and related material.

Related material:
The child welfare manual : a handbook of child nature and nurture for parents and teacher New York : The University Society, 1915. PR 362.8 UN3 V.1 and V.2

United Family & Children Services, Charity Organization Society minutes record, Jan. 1912 - Jan. 1913 [Plainfield, NJ : The Society, 1912-1913] PR 362.8 CHA

Case Reports, United Family and Children's Society (Plainfield, N.J.) v. 1. 1897-1901. -- v. 2. 1900-1905. -- v. 3. Appendix, 1900-1906. Plainfield, N.J. : The Society, 1897-1906. PR 362.8 UNI V.1, V.2, V.3

Annual reports [Plainfield, N.J. : The Society] 1879-1905. PR 362.8 UN3A V.2 & V.3

Children's Home Association record book [Plainfield, N.J. : The Society, 1877-1892. ] PR 362.8 UNI.

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1877
1877-2002

United Hebrew Charity Organization

We do not have any historical information on this organization. If you have any background on this organization, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: One annual report.

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1914
1915-1916

United Way of Greater Union County

We do not have any historical information on this organization. If you have any background on this organization, please contact the Local History Department. Please visit their website: http://www.uwguc.org/

Holdings: 2002 annual report and newsletter.

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Unknown
2002

Van Wyck Brooks Historic District

We do not have any historical information on this organization. If you have any background on this organization, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: Newsletters and informational pamphlet.

Related material: Lloyd Grimstead photograph collection.

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Unknown
1996-1997

Visiting Nurse Association of Plainfield and North Plainfield

The VNA was organized on July 1, 1911, as the Nursing Bureau and incorporated on April 1, 1915, as the Visiting Nurse Association. Its main office was located in the Babcock Building in Plainfield.  The bureau formed when the City Union of the King's Daughters decided to give up nursing work.  A new committee arose and argued that by placing anti-tuberculosis nursing, the nursing school, and the city nursing groups under the direction of Plainfield's Charity Organization Society, the field would be better covered without duplication of efforts. The committee selected graduate nurse Miss Olive Schreibweis as head nurse in charge of the entire work, Miss Leahy as assistant in charge of tuberculosis patients, and Miss Helen Boice, also a graduate nurse, to care for the work among school children.

The nurses would visit patients in their homes and provide treatments, baths, and instructions on hygiene. The first month saw 254 visits. The work grew slowly every year and by 1927, the covered area included Plainfield, North Plainfield, Scotch Plains/Fanwood, Dunellen, South Plainfield, and Piscataway. In addition to the home visits, there were 10 Well Baby Stations, Pre-School examinations for 35 schools, and dental and hygiene clinics, which together reached an attendance of 152, 329 people.  The average cost for home visits to the sick and welfare calls was $1.04 (that is $13.74 today). These visits fell into three types: maternity nursing, acute and chronic non-communicable diseases, and communicable diseases, namely tuberculosis and venereal disease.  According to the 1927 VNA annual report, patients were of all ages, races, and economic status.  Nurses would visit the "finest home on the Avenue to the very poorest shacks out in the fields," bringing cheer, comfort and health to all members of the family. 

The Plainfield branch was active until the early 1990s, when it became the Tri-County VNA. It was finally absorbed into the VNA of Central Jersey in 1997.

Holdings: Three annual reports, a mailer, 2005 newsletter.

Related material:
Board members manual of the Visiting Nurse Association [Social Service Center, Plainfield, N.J.]: 1947. PR 361.9 PRVI

The Visiting Nurse Association of Plainfield & North Plainfield : a brief history : past accomplishment and future hopes, Plainfield, NJ : The Association, [1940] PR 361.9 P69

Annual report of Visiting Nurse Association of Plainfield and North Plainfield [Plainfield, NJ : The Association] 1910-1926. PR 361.9 VIS 1-15

Paul R. Collier photographs #C40589 and #C40590.

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1911
1910-2005

Watchung Book Club

The Watchung Book Club was founded in 1897 by Plainfield residents. The first annual meeting took place on October 11, 1898. Membership dues were $3.00. The club is still active.

Holdings: Two minute books: 1898-1967 and 1968-2010.

 

1897 1898-2010

Watchung Nature Club of Plainfield

The Watchung Nature Club of Plainfield strove to unite those interested in nature and the great outdoors. It presented the members with an opportunity for fellowship and experience sharing, as well as encouraged the conservation of natural resources. If you have any background on this organization, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: Annual program (1933), and photocopied programs from later years.

Related material:
Albert D. Pittis Personal Papers,” Box 1 and Folders 1-6; Local History Department, Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield, New Jersey. PPL-MSS-2008-2

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1927
1933-1976

Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC)

This is not a local organization. More information is available here: http://www.history.army.mil/brochures/wac/wac.htm

Holdings: Newsletters (Post 9 News, Maryland) and WWII Ration Stamps.

Related material:
"Sgt. Eleanor F. M. Olmstead Leiss Papers," Local History Department, Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield, New Jersey.

To serve my country, to serve my race : the story of the only African American WACS stationed overseas during World War II. Moore, Brenda L., 1950- . New York University Press, 1966. DIVERSITY 940.54 MOO RILEY COLL

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1941
1943-1944

Women's Auxiliary of Muhlenberg Hospital

We do not have any historical information on this organization. If you have any background on this organization, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: Board meeting minutes fro march 1968.

Related material: Here's to hospitality! [Muhlenberg Hospital (Plainfield, N.J.). Woman's Auxiliary, 1949] PR 641.5 HER

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1968
1968

Women's Society of Christian Service

We do not have any historical information on this organization. If you have any background on this organization, please contact the Local History Department.

Holdings: 1963-1964 annual report.

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Unknown
1964
Y.M.C.A. of Plainfield - SEE: Plainfield Area Y.M.C.A.    

Y.W.C.A. of Plainfield and North Plainfield

The Young Womens Christian Association (YMCA) of Plainfield was organized in 1907 and was located at 210 East Front Street near Watching Avenue.  It opened the doors to its new, permanent home at 232 East Front Street at the corner of Church Street in October 1929.

Holdings: Annual reports, programs, restoration project report, small pin, and news clippings.

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1907
1914-1987

last updated: 07/28/2014

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