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Local History, Genealogy,
& Special Collections

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

Local History Info


View Collections Index

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


Be sure to check out the Genealogy page!

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


Some publications may take a few seconds to download.



*(Adobe PDF file - download Adobe for viewing)


In Appreciation

The Local History Department is supported by funding from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State;
the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs; the Plainfield Foundation;
the Plainfield Cultural & Heritage Commission; and the Friends of the Plainfield Public Library.



Upcoming Events


Local Author Book Talk: Betty Livingston Adams on Saturday, March 25, 2017, at 2 pm in the ALD Room on the lower level. Adams examines the often overlooked role of non-elite black women in the growth of northern suburbs and American Protestantism in the first half of the twentieth century. Focusing on the strategies and organizational models church women employed in the fight for social justice, Adams tracks the intersections of politics and religion, race and gender, and place and space in a New York City suburb, a local example that offers new insights on northern racial oppression and civil rights protest. As this book makes clear, religion made a key difference in the lives and activism of ordinary black women who lived, worked, and worshiped on the margin during this tumultuous time. View Flyer.

Letter Writing & Decorating on Tuesday, April 4th at 6pm in ALD (lower level) and again on Thursday, April 6th at 3 pm in Room 5. View Flyer.

Celebrate National Card & Letter Writing Month and join the letter-writing challenge! This is a hands-on letter writing activity. Select from an assortment of fun stationery, then write and decorate your letter with us. Stationery, envelopes, pens, and decorations will be provided. All you need to bring is an address. We will stamp and mail your letter for you!

Local Author Showcase: Rich Valvano and poet Hubert Reeder on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at 1 pm in the ALD Room on the lower level. Join local author, Rich Valvano, who will discuss his book, "The Black Conservative: An American Hero." Also presenting is the distinguished, award-winning African-American poet/writer Hubert Reeder, who will present his latest collection of acclaimed poems. View Flyer

All programs are open and free to the public. For more information about any of these events, please contact the Local History Department.

New Oral History Project



Digital Archive & Indexes
Search Image Collections

DigiArchOur digital image collections are constantly growing, and are composed of over 55,000 photographs, postcards, and blueprints. All of these records are viewable online. In addition, patrons can now access Plainfield's historical city directories and the Plainfield's early newspapers online. Some of our special digital projects include:


Reproduction Fees

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

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

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

*Please refer to Reproduction Fee & Use Form below.


For More Information

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