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Local History, Genealogy,
& Special Collections

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

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; the New Jersey Council for the Humanities; and the Friends of the Plainfield Public Library (FOPPL).



Help Support Us

Your financial donation can provide:

$10 to $25 Archival Document Cases and Cartons (various sizes)

Photograph Digitization

$30 Archival Photograph sleeves
$40 Archival Folders or Custom Boxes
$50 Archival Frame Kit or Book Purchase
$150 Archival Poster Frame Kit
$200 Purchase of an Historical Publication
$500 (towards) Historical document or ledger repair and conservation
$1,000 + (towards) Historical map repair conservation



Plainfield Celebrates 150 Years!

2019 Photo Contest
This year's theme is: I Am Plainfield. The Submission Deadline is Monday, September 30, 2019. Learn more here.

Memoir Writing Club
The next meeting of the Memoir Writing Club is Thursday, October 10th, at 10:30 am in room 2 (on the lower level).
The October meeting's optional topic is to describe a room from your life, using all five senses. It can be from the present or past, in your own home or some other place.

New members are always welcome!
Learn more here

  Tri-County History Fair
Join us on Saturday, September 28th from 11 am to 3 pm on the lower level of the building, for the Library's fourth annual
Tri-County History Fair!
This program is free and open to the public.

11:30am - Reclaiming Our Voice: New Jersey’s Role in the Fight for Woman Suffrage

1:30pm - The Best Kept Secret in American Journalism: The Associated Negro Press

Genealogy Club
The next meeting of the Library's Genealogy Club is Saturday, October 5th, at 10:30 am in room 2 (on the lower level).
The program will start with a club meeting followed by a lecture. Professional genealogist, Gail Hahn will discuss how to research the genealogy and ancestors of the early founders of New Jersey.
This program is free and open to the public.


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 for free. 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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