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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

collectionsOur 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



Share Your Experience With Us
Comparte tu experiencia con nosotros

artwork by Diego Licht

Do you live, work, or go to school in Plainfield? Contribute to the Library's COVID-19 Archive by helping us document life during the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine.


Some publications may take a few seconds to download.

*(Adobe PDF file - download Adobe for viewing)




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$500 (towards) Historical document or ledger repair and conservation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


In Appreciation

The Local History Department is supported, in part, by funding from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State;
the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs; the unio County Board of Commissioners; the Plainfield Foundation;
the Plainfield Cultural & Heritage Commission; the New Jersey Council for the Humanities; and the Friends of the Plainfield Public Library (FOPPL)





Genealogy Resources at Newark Public Library
Saturday, March 6, 2021
10:30 am via Zoom

Presented by Tom Ankner, Director,
Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center

Co-hosted with the Historical Society of Plainfield /
Drake House Museum

This Genealogy Club program is presented by Thomas Ankner, the Director of the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center at the Newark Public Library. His presentation focuses on material in the Cummings Center that are available to family history researchers. He will discuss newspapers, photos, clippings, maps, city directories, and other resources that can be used in doing genealogical research. His presentation will include a tour of the Cummings Center's website and the Newark Public Library's digital archive.

This is a FREE program.


2021 Program Series

Memoir Writing Club

Next meeting: March 11, 2021 at 10:30 am via Zoom

Library Genealogy Club

Next Program: March 6, 2021 at 10:30 am via Zoom


Digital Archive & Indexes
Search Image Collections


Our 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:

rule For More Information



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.

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