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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


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 access Plainfield's historical city directories and the Plainfield's early newspapers online for free.


Some publications may take a few seconds to download.

(Adobe PDF file - download Adobe for viewing)



Notable Women of Plainfield
Volunteering in Local History

A Kid's History of Early Plainfield (FREE, Second Edition)
Lost But Not Forgotten (Available for purchase)


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$500 (towards) Historical document or ledger repair and conservation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




Discover Death Dates in the Plainfield Area
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
10:30 am via Zoom
Presented by Jane Thoner, genealogy librarian
Co-hosted with the Historical Society of Plainfield /
Drake House Museum

Register Here

Because Plainfield-area newspapers are all computer searchable, local obituaries can usually be found quite easily - without knowing a person’s specific date of death. However, some obituaries were printed with typos and others are not legible enough for the character recognition required for helpful computer searches.

Learn which free online resources may identify a local date of death that will allow you to go straight to the right newspaper issues and find the obituaries you want.


2021 Program Calendar

Library Genealogy Club - May 1

Memoir Writing Club - May 12



Share Your Experience With Us
Comparte tu experiencia con nosotros

Artwork by Diego Licht

Do you live, work, or go to school in Plainfield?

Please contribute to the Library's COVID-19 Archive by helping us document life during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Reproduction Fees

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

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 a USB drive 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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