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Local History Department - Past Photos of the Month

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December 2019

Generous patrons donated an amazing 478 lbs of food to help those in need during the Library's Food For Fines event over the holiday season. A big Thank You to everyone who took part and gave so generously!

November 2019
Reflecting Back, 2019

This photograph received the Winning Award in Plainfield Public Library's 2019 Contemporary Photograph Competition, "I Am Plainfield." It was submitted by local photographer, Wajid Abdur-Razzaq, and is a picture of Barbara Abdur-Razzaq at the Plainfield Train Station.

Photo ID: V8218, Part of the Plainfield Public Library Annual Photography Competition Photograph Collection.

October 2019
Mayhem At The Manse 1, 2017

This image is part of the Plainfield Public Library's 2018 Contemporary Photograph Competition - "Holidays in Plainfield." This photograph received the Director's Award and was submitted by Carl Santiago.

Photo ID: V8169, Part of the Plainfield Public Library Annual Photography Competition Photograph Collection.

September 2019
Construction of City Hall Cupola, 1918

Eleven workmen standing on scaffolding around the cupola of Plainfield city hall, which is under construction.

This image was scanned from a glass plate negative, and is part of the Paul Collier Photograph Collection.

Photo ID: C10536


August 2019
Plainfield Welcomes You
by Brian Cook

This image is part of the Plainfield Public Library's 2013 Contemporary Photograph Competition - Plainfield Celebrates. This photograph was submitted by Brian Cook.

This year's contest theme is "I Am Plainfield." Learn more about the contest here. The submission deadline is Monday, September 30, 2019.


July 2019
Independence Day
Cedar Brook Park, July 4, 2017

This image is part of the Plainfield Public Library's 2018 Contemporary Photograph Competition - Holidays in Plainfield. This photograph by Barbara Spellmeyer received an Honorable Mention.

This year's contest theme is "I Am Plainfield." Learn more about the contest here. The submission deadline is Monday, September 30, 2019.


June 2019
Vintage Plainfield Postcard, ca. 1900s

John Grady Historical Collection









May 2019
Vintage Plainfield Postcard, ca. 1900s

This is just one of the images from John Grady’s collection of vintage Plainfield postcards. The cards show the fun variety of novelty postcards available to tourists and residents back in the early 1900s. Postcards were introduced in 1873 and could be mailed for only 1 cent! Many of these classic souvenir images were used on postcards across the country – most surprisingly those with beach themes.

The cards are made of cardstock, wood, and leather. The ones with felt and glitter decorations, as well as the pullout accordion album of miniature photographs of Plainfield sites, would be a little more difficult to send through the mail today.

In 2005, John donated nearly 1000 glass plate negatives and prints, taken by local photographer Reina Lawrence (1869-1948), to the Plainfield Public Library. This was the beginning of what would become The John Grady Historical Collection. To date, he has donated approximately 60 linear feet of historical materials. His generosity has provided Plainfielders with The Dorothea Dix Lawrence Papers; 107 images in the John Hoffman Photograph Collection; a run of photographic prints and negatives taken by local photographer Paul R. Collier that document local residences; records and photographs from local Plainfield families; sundry artifacts and paper ephemera from local businesses, organizations, and houses of worship; and 352 unique vintage Plainfield postcards. Additionally, John donated the files and photographs documenting the history and restoration of his Arlington Avenue home.

April 2019
Original Draft of the Plainfield City Charter, 1869

On April 20, 1869, the citizens of Plainfield township met in Laing’s Hall for the purpose of forming a city government.  The “Act to Incorporate the City of Plainfield,” approved April 6, 1869, was read and accepted. This draft of the City’s charter is 37 pages and was handwritten on the back of Office of the Security Insurance Company of New York financial statements. Learn more here.












March 2019
Mrs. Brown's Party, Plainfield Avenue, March 15, 1946
Paul R. Collier, Photographer

This photograph from 1946 shows Mrs. Adele M. Brown (standing, far right) and a group of ladies in formal dresses. Although we do not know the occasion for her party, as noted on the sleeve of the film negative, we certainly honor Adele Brown during this Women's History Month.

Adele M. Brown was the owner and operator of Brown's Funeral Home in Plainfield. She was a member of Calvary Baptist Church, Mohawk Temple 191 IBPOE of the World, Terrell Trent No. 34, and Rebecca Chapter No. 1 Order of the Eastern Star, Prince Hall Affiliate. She was Advisor of the Young Women's Civic Organization of Plainfield, and a member of the executive board of the National North Jersey Unit of the Negro Business and Professional Women's Club.

In addition, she was an organizer of the Garden State Funeral Directors Association and the East Fifth Street YWCA of Plainfield, where she was also chairman of the board of governors. and a life member of the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association.

Adele was also a nominal director of the NAACP-Plainfield Chapter, who championed the rebuilding of the Moorland Y after it was destroyed by fire in 1955.

Adele was one of four candidates for the Republican councilman nomination in Plainfield's Fourth Ward in 1946. Her slogan was, "Clean-Cut Government for the Fourth Ward." Although she did not win the bid, she did not come in last.

Adele and husband Andrew started the funeral home in Orange, NJ, in 1918. In 1922, the couple moved to Plainfield and brought Brown's Funeral Home here. When Andrew passed away in 1931, Adele continued as owner, and went on to pass her State Board examinations in 1935. When she passed away many years later in 1974, her daughter Louise maintained the family business.

If you can identify any of the ladies in the photograph or can offer insight to the reason for the party, please contact the Local History Department.

Photo ID: C21647

February 2019
Pastors and Early Builders of Mount Olive Baptist Church, circa 1910s
Paul R. Collier, Photographer

Photo ID: C21511

January 2019
Reason for School Closing, March 8, 2018

Raymond Avenue in Plainfield. 2018 Photography Contest Honorable Mention. Photograph taken by Jerry A. Barner.

Photo ID: V8157

V7000 December 2018
Netherwood Christmas, 2001.

A snow-covered Netherwood Train Station at holiday time. This photo by William Monroe won first place in the Library's first annual photography competition in 2006, "Plainfield In Focus: Photo-Documentation of a Changing Community.”

Photo ID: V7000 - Part of the Historical Photograph Collection

November 2018
Food Drive at Oxford Theater, ca. 1930.

Canned goods food drive collected on Courier News and Oxford Theatre Kiddie show and given to the salvation army for thanksgiving baskets. Three men holding cans, one man could be a priest. Movie poster advertising The Virtuous Sin with Walter Huston.

Photo # C21216 - Part of the Paul R. Collier Photograph Collection.

October 2018

Plainfield Councilor Barry Goode was honored by the Libraries of Union County Consortium (LUCC) on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, at an awards ceremony at the group's meeting in the Clark Public Library.

September 2018
The Old Fairgrounds on Park Avenue, ca. 1880s-1890s.


Photo # T2068 - Part of the Guillermo Thorn Photograph Collection.

V7484 August 2018
Quiet Rest, 2010.

This photograph of a quiet spot in Plainfield's Shakespeare garden in Cedarbrook Park won Honorable Mention in the Library's 2010 Photography Contest, East Side, West Side, All Around the Town. Heather Meyer Bissett, photographer.

Photo # V7484 - Part of the Local History Photograph Collection.




July 2018
The Jam Steppers of Plainfield, July 4, 1996

The Jam Steppers of Plainfield pause along the parade route to do a step routine in the middle of Front Street during the Central Jersey Fourth of July Parade in Plainfield on July 4, 1996. Jeanette Lacks founded the Jam Steppers Drill Team of Plainfield in 1980 to build group discipline and strengthen individuals as well as team self esteem. According to a Courier News article, the team's first performance was for the city's Fourth of July parade. Their original name was the "Death Steppers" (jargon for "cool"), but after thrilling audience members with their intricate and energetic steps, the judges urged the team to change its name. So they became the Jam Steppers - meaning "energy, beat and the ability for the team to stick together like jelly." By the year 2000, they had expanded from 12 to more than 40 members!

Photo ID CN15648, part of the Courier News Photograph Archive.





June 2018
Job Male Library Building, ca. early 1900s

Things sure have changed!

In 1884, Job Male, a Plainfield philanthropist and the first Mayor of Plainfield, joined the Library Board. He soon offered to donate the land and a library building on the condition that others donate money and art works. The building was completed in 1886 by Job Male and donated to the Library Board of Trustees. In gratitude they named it "The Job Male Public Library, Art Gallery and Museum." The art gallery featured newly donated paintings plus temporary exhibits of other contemporary artists. The museum gallery featured natural history collections of insects, birds, and coin collections. At this time, Arthur W. Tyler, a trained librarian, was hired to organize, catalog, and maintain the collection.

Click here to learn more about the Library's history.

Postcard ID C-337, part of the Chase Postcard Collection





May 2018
Main Reading Room of Carnegie Library Building, ca. 1913

Things sure have changed! Interior view of the reading room in the old Carnegie building, part of Plainfield Public Library.

By the early 1900s, the Library’s collection had increased to over 40,000 volumes with nearly 75,000 people visiting each year, and was in need of a larger building. In 1909, knowing that such a project would be a huge undertaking, the Library Board contacted wealthy industrialist Andrew Carnegie to see if he would consider Plainfield in addition to the other communities he was helping at that time. In 1911, Mr. Carnegie agreed to donate $50,000 for a new building. The Carnegie Building was completed in 1912 and included a large and airy, light-filled Reading Room with a 22-foot high ceiling.

Click here to learn more about the Library's history.

Part of the Historical Photograph Collection




April 2018
Main Reading Room of New Library Building, 1968.

Things sure have changed! With no computers for electronic access, librarians and patrons relied on the library's card catalog to find books.

This April marks the 50th anniversary of the current library building. The present 45,000 square-foot building, designed by the architectural firm of Curtis & Davis, was officially dedicated on April 21, 1968. In this image, librarian Eleanor Huxster greets library visitors at the information desk.

Click here to learn more about the Library's history.

Part of the Historical Photograph Collection




March 2018
At Tiers Pond, Plainfield, N.J. Postmark 1917.

This colorized photograph postcard published by Line & Company in Elizabeth, shows Plainfield's famous Tier's Pond. Tier’s Pond was known for winter skating and summer swimming, boating, and fishing. Formerly Boice’s Pond, it was created around 1853 by Phineas M. French who built a dam across the Green Brook. The pond was also the source of blocks of ice for refrigeration. An icehouse was constructed on the pond about 14 years later for the sale of ice. John Tier, Sr., who had been making ice cream in his own home since 1859, built a pavilion in the 1870s that operated in connection with the icehouse. The (Plainfield) Daily Press reported that Tier was the first person to “peddle” ice and sell ice cream in Plainfield and that Tier’s cream had become famous throughout the country.

Click here to learn more about Tier's Pond.

Postcard ID: R84 - Part of the Ricketts Postcard Collection

February 2018
Shady Rest Jazz Ensemble, circa 1920s-1930s.

In September 1921, a group of prominent Black investors purchased the Westfield Golf Club property and established the Shady Rest Golf and Country Club - the only all Black golf course in the United States. The club became a hot entertainment spot during the Swing Era (1920s-1946) and some legendary entertainers performed there: Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, and Sarah Vaughn (to name a few). The Barons of Rhythm were the original house band.

Photo ID: C22387 - Part of the Paul R. Collier Photograph Collection.




January 2018
Ice Skating on Private Lake "Holly Park" Plainfield, N.J. Postmark 1913.

This genuine photograph postcard published by The Star Post Card Company in Plainfield, advertises residential lots for sale amidst the beautiful park and lake at Holly Park. It was a private lake, owned by Milton Mendel, which offered paying customers (15 cents for adults and 10 cents for children) bath houses, and a refreshment counter, as well as swimming and fishing in warmer weather, and ice skating in the winter. Newspaper ads at this time note that Holly Park was situated in Plainfield off Park Avenue, just a short walk from the Arlington Avenue Trolley. However, earlier articles indicate that it may have been related to the 200 acre farm of John Holly, known as Holly Park, near Oak Tree Road in South Plainfield.

Postcard ID: C1003 - Part of the Chase Postcard Collection

December 2017
Brook Scene, Plainfield, N.J. Postmark 1912.

This photo postcard published by Line & Company in Elizabeth, bears a serene colored finish to this winter sunset over the Green Brook.

Postcard ID: C930 - Part of the Plainfield Postcard Collection


September 2017
Spectators Cheer, June 14, 1913

This photo postcard by Paul R. Collier features an excited crowd of spectators cheering for their team at a baseball game between The Pills vs. The Pulls (Doctors vs. Dentists) at Parker Field to raise money for Muhlenberg Hospital.

Postcard ID: P1937 - Part of the Plainfield Postcard Collection










June 2017
Volunteer Nurses, 1917.

Continuing with the Library's commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the United States' entry into the Great War - World War I, here is a look at activity "back home." This photo captures a look at American Red Cross nurses recruiting women over 16 years of age for volunteer duty at home.

As wounded troops began to return home to receive medical care, the call went out to the women of America, who were eager to serve their country. The country needed new nursing volunteers to relieve the trained, graduate nurses leaving town to either serve at soldier hospitals to care and comfort the sick and wounded men, or those who were accepted by the Red Cross for Foreign Service in France.

The Red Cross arranged to train all new volunteers in "Home Care of the Sick" and "Elementary Hygiene Throughout the Country." The local Red Cross held classes starting in November 1917. The Home Nursing Classes consisted of fifteen lessons, three times a week for five weeks. For a class of ten students, the cost was $7, but would be only $5 if there were fifteen students.

Plainfield women, both Black and white, responded to the call. The course was held for $5 at the Red Cross Headquarters, located at 1107 Watchung Avenue, three days and/or nights a week. It was under the direction of Miss Budd, and all who passed the final examination successfully received a Red Cross certificate, which enabled the bearer to volunteer for service in convalescent homes for soldiers.

Photo ID: C10498 - Part of the Paul R. Collier Photograph Collection.

May 2017
Company K Group Photograph, circa 1917-1918.

Company K, Plainfield's Infantry Division, New Jersey National Guard (NJNG) was one of the largest in it's Regiment. It was the first outfit from Plainfield called out for military service in World War I. It was led by Captain Charles A. Peterson. They were stationed at Camp Donelly in Trenton, before leaving for Fort Anniston, Alabama, on September 29, 1917. Several members went on to France by July 1918 with 113th and 114th Infantry Divisions.

Photo ID: C21650 - Part of the Paul R. Collier Photograph Collection.

April 2017
Vintage Handcolored Postcard of C.R.R.of NJ Station, Plainfield RR Station Looking East
Photograph by Edward A, Laing, ca. 1906.

The Plainfield Postcard Collection contains 2,000 postcards with 1,000 unique images. The Chase collection and the Ricketts collection make up the core of the library's holdings, depicting Plainfield in the early 1900s.

Postcard ID: P1881 - Part of the Plainfield Postcard Collection












March 2017
Signing of Union Agreement at 4th Street Dress Shop, August 1933.

In June 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) which established the National Recovery Administration (NRA). The NRA created codes of conduct for a variety of industries, including garment workers. These new codes regulated wages, hours, and the right to form worker unions (among other things). This had a tremendous effect across the country as great numbers of textile workers organized and went on strike, and practically shut down the industry.

In Plainfield, employees of local dress manufacturers and members of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union, went on strike in August 1933 to receive the minimum required salary and regulated work hours as specified in the new NRA codes. As reported in The Courier News on August 17, 1933:

As the strike enters its second day, four shops in Plainfield are practically shut down. The first walkout occurred yesterday at 9 a. m. at the Raymond Dress Shop, 327 West Front Street, when 120 employees told their manager, Benjamin Fels, they were formally on strike.

They went to the Star concern at 501 Richmond Street. and after15 minutes of cajoling, induced the plant's force of 150 to join them. Later in the day, the entire staff of 35 women employed by the Rose Sports Wear Manufacturing Company, 114 East Fourth Street walked out, and 150 workers from the Acme Dress Company, 216 West Second Street, enlisted with the strikers.

An agreement was reached ten days later on 28th and employees went back to work on the August, 29, 1933..

This photo records the signing of the new Union agreement between local manager Louis Greenberg and the workers at the Rose Sports Wear shop.

Photo ID: C21296 - Part of the Paul R. Collier Photograph Collection




January 2017
Morning Gayety by John F. Carlson (1875-1945)
Oil on Canvas, circa 1930.

At the age of nine, Carlson emigrated with his family from Sweden to New York. In 1902 he won a scholarship to the Art Students League in New York City and six years later became assistant to the director of the league's summer school at Woodstock. Carlson was a proponent of painting directly from nature, and the countryside at Woodstock became an important source of subject matter for his landscapes. He was fond of painting winter scenes, and the compositional strength of trees in winter is evident in the library's two paintings.

Both of the library's Carlson paintings, along with eight other collection pieces, are included in the 2017 Netherwood Heights Neighbor's calendar, "The Artistic Riches of Plainfield."

Learn more about Carlson and the library's Fine Art Collection.

dec 2016

December 2016
Firemen - Fourth of July, 2016.

First Place Photograph, 2016 Annual Photography Contest, The Best of Plainfield: People, Places, and Things.

Photo by Gene Goldston

nov 2016

November 2016
Cedarbrook Park, 2009

2009 Annual Photography Contest, Four Seasons in Plainfield.

Photo by Joseph Stuczynski

oct 2016


October 2016
Bicycle Loop the Loop, May 1905.

The “Dreamland Carnival” to benefit Muhlenberg Hospital was immense. It covered nearly 5 acres of E. M. French’s show ground on West Fourth Street. Opening night brought 3,500 visitors under the glow of hundreds of electric lamps, bands, and automatic musical contrivances. 10,000 visitors were reported to attend the first Saturday! It was the biggest fair Plainfield had ever seen.

This image helped the library to promote the 2016 Tri-County History Fair held on October 22, 2016.

sept 2016




September 2016
Plainfield Public Library Receives 2016 Union County Grant Award

The Plainfield Public Library recently received a Union County Library Grant award of $7,764.00. The awards, given by the Union County Board if Chosen Freeholders, are to be used to broaden and strengthen children's programs in Union County libraries. Plainfield was one of twenty libraries to be selected for the award.

PPL will use the funds to support our new Museum Pass Program and a MakerCart. Read the press release here.

Photograph courtesy of

book mobile 1972

August 2016
Plainfield Public Library Media-Mobile, 1972.

The Plainfield Public Library's Media-Mobile was a community outreach project that provided books and reference materials to the residents of Plainfield who were not able to visit the Library. In this photograph, from left to right, are Joyce Howard, Junior Library Clerk; Carol Stefanick, Coordinator; Anna Booker, Library Trustee and Member of the Advisory Council; Delois Howard, a Library patron; and Barney Keyes, Library Clerk Driver.

Photograph taken by Thomas Lowe for the Courier News.

fourth of july 1876

July 2016
Plainfield Fourth of July Parade Carriage on East Front Street, 1876.

This colorized image of a decorated carriage for the 1876 Plainfield Fourth of July parade (the Centennial celebration) was reproduced by Coronet Photos of Plainfield. The actual photographic print measures 16" x 20". The carriage is on the 100 block of East Front Street, in front of what would later become Hanewald's Bakery. Next door is Miller's Pharmacy, which would become Lion Shoes.

Photographic Preproduction circa 1960s - 1970s by Coronet Photos.

i had the blues postcard image

June 2016
I Had The Blues (Vintage Postcard), circa 1903-1906.

This souvenir leather postcard was designed by famed postcard artist, Raphael Tuck. This image of a nurse pushing a baby carriage escorted by two uniformed gents was used for souvenir cards across the United States. The "I had the blues" sentiment was a popular one to send while away from home.

Part of the Plainfield Postcard Collection


May 2016
North Avenue Side of Plainfield Station C.R.R. of N.J. (Vintage Postcard), c. 1909.

Plainfield Railroad Station on North Avenue, view of north side, with horse-drawn carriages, motor car, and pedestrians. Postmark 1909. The station was built in 1902 and is listed on the state and federal register of historic places.

Photo ID: C657 - Part of the Plainfield Postcard Collection


April 2016
Plainfield Public Library, c. 1915

Public Library-Carnegie Building (built 1912), front view behind trees and lawn. This postcard is postmarked April 1915.

Postcard ID: P-718 - Part of the Plainfield Postcard Collection


March 2016
Welcome Spring!

Photo ID: V7353 - Part of the 2009 4th Annual Photograph Contest exhibition Four Seasons in Plainfield. Photo by Bernice Paglia


February 2016
8:30 A.M. Train to New York, C.R.R. of N.J. Plainfield, N.J.

Plainfield Railroad Station, view of morning commuter train in winter, looking west, circa 1909.

Photo ID: C658 - Part of the Chase Postcard Collection

postcard January 2016
Brook Scene, Plainfield, N.J., circa 1910s.

A colorful illustration of a brook scene in winter at sunset in Plainfield. This card was printed by Line & Co. in Elizabeth, NJ.

Photo ID: C929 - Part of the Chase Postcard Collection

V7000 December 2015
Netherwood Christmas, 2001.

A snow-covered Netherwood Train Station at holiday time. This photo by William Monroe won first place in the Library's first annual photography competition in 2006, "Plainfield In Focus: Photo-Documentation of a Changing Community.”

Photo ID: V7000 - Part of the Historical Photograph Collection

canned food drive

November 2015
Elks Canned Food Collection, 1946

The local Elks and Loizeaux Lumber sponsor a canned food collection "for the starving people of Europe." The man on the far right is Mr. Torbush, a Studebaker dealer. Canned goods include: Campbells Soup, UCO Grapefruit Juice, Hurff Vegetable Soup, Harris Crab Meat, Heinz Baked Beans, among others.

Every year Plainfield Public Library accepts non-perishable food items and pet food items from November 1 to December 31 as part of our annual "Food for Fines" program.

Photo ID: C21019 - Part of the Paul R. Collier Photograph Collection






April 2015
West Front Street Trolley Scene, circa 1900s.

The first trolley (electric streetcar) came to Plainfield on August 9, 1892 replacing most of the city's mule-drawn vehicles. A front page Plainfield Evening News article described a large crowd of people lining up along Front Street to witness its maiden voyage. "The car is handsome, but small, and is finished in Royal Blue." There were two newspapers in town that battled heatedly about whether the trolleys were desirable or dangerous. The Constitutionalist ran an article "Triumphant at Last” on August 18, 1892 saying "Swift and safe transportation is at last an assured reality. The cars are noiseless and luxurious."

The Plainfield Postcard Collection contains 2,000 postcards with 1,000 unique images. The Chase collection and the Ricketts collection make up the core of the Llibrary's holdings, depicting Plainfield in the early 1900s.  

Learn more about transportation in Plainfield through the Library's On The Move online exhibit.

Image: Part of the Chase Postcard Collection, P-1424.

blueprint image







September 2014
Residence for A.F. Van Horn M.D. Plainfield N.J., 1904. N.K. Aldrich, architect.

The Plainfield Public Library announces a new exhibition in honor of New Jersey’s 350th anniversary celebration (NJ350).  The library is displaying never-before seen examples from its collection of historical blueprints that date back to 1887.  The 70-piece exhibit consists of wall exhibits and display cases on both levels of the library.  The featured blueprints represent thirty-five different sets of drawings by 24 architects.  The oldest drawing on exhibit is of the Plainfield Golf Club dating from 1896. 

The Charles H. Detwiller, Jr. Architectural Drawings Collection contains over 16,000 sets of drawings, documenting over a century of residential and commercial architecture in the greater Plainfield area. This collection of blueprints that document the growth of a suburban community is unique in the United States.

Over 500 architects are represented, including architect George Ernest Robinson, who was a nationally known architect in firehouse design.  Plainfield’s Fire Headquarters building, designed by him in 1925, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Preservation of the aging documents began by the library in 1998.  The processing of the collection is still ongoing.  The cost of microfilming, digitization, and cataloging is entirely supported through grant funding and volunteer assistance.  Major funders include The Institute for Museum and Library Services; The New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State; the Plainfield Foundation; and the Friends of the Plainfield Public Library.


June 2014
East Front Street Storefronts, 1964.

Storefronts from 154-156 to 186-188 E. Front Street. Shops include The Surprise Store, Lucky Spot, Littman's Diamonds, Essel Paints & Wallpapers, and Wolfson's Curtains. A circa 1964 Pontiac Bonnevillle is parked at the curb. Down the street, on the ground level of the large Victorian-style building. are Ben's Bar & Grill,The Book House, and the Plainfield Lace Store.

The photograph was taken by Harold G. Morse, a local photographer active during the 1950s-1970s.

Photo ID: V7733 - Historical Photograph Collection


May 2014
Plainfield Motorcycle Club, 1916.

The men and women of the Plainfield Motorcycle Club pose with their bikes on Somerset Street in North Plainfield. As reported in the Plainfield Daily Press on April 17, 1916, "The Plainfield motorcycle club enjoyed its first ride of the season Sunday. The destination was Flemington. 25 members turned out for the ride, assembling at Jack Horner's store on Somerset Street...They mounted their steeds at 11 o'clock and were in Flemington by 1 o'clock, going there by way of Bound Brook, Somerville, and White House....

The photograph was taken in front of Horner's bicycle and motorcycle shop (center), the Randall Harness Company (left) and H. J. Pasch seller of meats, provisions and poultry (right), on 31-35 Somerset Street.

Photo ID: C40714 - Part of the Paul R. Collier Photograph Collection






April 2014
Dorothea Dix Lawrence in the Garden, circa 1902-1903.

Reina Lawrence took this photo of Dorothea Dix, her niece, playing in the garden when Dorothea was aged three or four. It was taken in the side yard of Reina’s home at  512 Stelle Avenue in Plainfield. Dorothea grew up to be a famous opera singer, folklorist, and recitalist. One of the most significant contributions she made to the world of music was publishing the book Folklore Songs of the United States in 1945.

Reina worked as freelance writer, contributor, and representative for Photo Era Magazine, The American Journal of Photography.  Through much of her career as a photographer, she produced silver gelatin prints from glass plate negatives.  Her photography celebrates Plainfield's architecture, gardens, and people. 

The Dorothea Dix and Reina Lawrence Collection is currently on display as part of the Library’s Notable Women of Plainfield exhibition. The exhibit will run through the end of May.

Photo ID: L1805 - Part of the Reina Lawrence Photograph Collection



March 2014
Thief!, August 2009.

Plainfield Photographer William Monroe won First Place in the "East Side" category for this photograph in the 2010 Annual Plainfield Photograph Contest: East Side, West Side, All Around The Town. This perfectly-timed photo of a squirrel in a red birdhouse was taken at 604 Sterling Street in Plainfield.

Mr. Monroe has won awards in many of the Library's photography competitions. He was featured, along with two other Plainfield photographers, in the Library's first Summer Invitational Photography Exhibition in July 2011.

Photo ID: V7441 - Part of the Historical Photograph Collection.



February 2014
Winter on the Farm, 2009.

Plainfield Photographer William Monroe won Third Place for this beautiful winter-time photograph of a small brick building next to large barn with snow on the ground at Peterson Farm, located at 1227 Cushing Road, in the 2009 Annual Plainfield Photograph Contest: Four Seasons in Plainfield.

Mr. Monroe has won awards in many of the Library's photography competitions. He was featured, along with two other Plainfield photographers, in the Library's first Summer Invitational Photography Exhibition in July 2011.

Photo ID: V7371 - Part of the Historical Photograph Collection.







January 2014
Jonas Lie leading children's tour in Art Gallery, 1921.

Artist Jonas Lie leading a tour of school children in the old Plainfield Library Art Gallery through an exhibit presented by Mr. Lie himself.

Jonas Lie (1880-1940) was born in Moss, Norway, the son of an American mother and a Norwegian father. He first studied art in Paris at the age of twelve. With the death of his father, Jonas moved with his mother to Plainfield in 1893. After finishing school in 1897, he worked full time as a textile designer to support his mother and sisters but continued his studies at night at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League. By 1901 he was already exhibiting his paintings, and by 1904 was garnering the first of the many prizes he would receive for his work. Although he chose to live and work in the United States, and was later elected President of the National Academy of Design, Lie returned regularly to Norway to paint.

The painting, "Standing Alone," was originally owned by Eliza E. Kenyon, Head-Mistress of the old Plainfield Seminary and founder of the Kenyon School for Girls. Miss Kenyon gave the painting to her great niece, Eleanor Stimson Brooks, wife of noted literary critic and Plainfield resident, Van Wyck Brooks. Later, Mr. Brooks gave the painting to the Library as a bequest of his wife upon her passing. Other works by Lie can been seen at Plainfield's Drake House and All Souls Unitarian Church.

Photo ID: C40134 - Part of the Part of the Paul R. Collier Photograph Collection.

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