Monmouth County Historical Association Collection

RECORD GROUP: Special Collections
SERIES: Monmouth County Historical Association Collection
DATES: 1935-2013
VOLUME: 1.25 cubic feet


The Monmouth County Historical Association (MCHA) was founded in 1898 by a group of county residents headed by Caroline Gallup Reed. It is headquartered at 70 Court Street in Freehold, New Jersey, where it operates a museum, research library and archives.  The mission of the MCHA is to collect, preserve and interpret materials related to Monmouth County’s history and culture, and to promote the study and appreciation of regional and national history through educational programming, publications, special exhibits and research services.  It also preserves five significant historic sites representing the county’s architectural heritage.  Resources in the archives include documents, business records, maps, photographs, newspapers, ephemera and publications; amongst its extensive holdings are over 900 manuscript collections and genealogy materials including family histories and cemetery inscriptions. The museum maintains a permanent exhibit on the Battle of Monmouth and its exhibits and collections have been featured in national publications including Antiques magazine. The museum facility averages more than 700 adult and juvenile visitors per year and the library and archives averages over 350 visitors per year.

Managed by a board of trustees, MCHA’s staff includes a director, museum curator, librarian/archivist and education coordinator. Over more than a century, it has published a variety of materials, including books, periodicals, and newsletters. The MCHA maintains an institutional archives that includes publications, scrapbooks, clip files, photographs and recent business records. The MCHA newsletter, published since 1972, has been issued in both digital and print format since 2013. Prior news publications include bulletins published in May 1935 and July 1948.


The bulk of materials in this collection were contributed by Elsalyn Palmisano, who retained personal copies of MCHA publications during her tenure as MCHA librarian, 1974-1978.  Palmisano authored reports, correspondence, and most of the library’s publications during this period.  More recently, Palmisano acquired additional materials, including publications and a clipping file, from the library of Brookdale Community College, and, together with the above mentioned records, donated them to the Monmouth County Archives (Accession 2013-01). The remainder, consisting of publications, was gradually acquired over time from various sources by the Monmouth County Archives.

The Monmouth County Historical Association Collection is arranged in twelve series with photographs stored separately. Major themes include the American Revolution, Monmouth County history, genealogy, folk art, and historic preservation. Series include:

I           Annual reports
II         Bibliographies
III        Books

IV        Correspondence
V         Ephemera

VI        Minutes
VII      Miscellaneous reports

VIII     Newsletters
IX        Newspaper clippings

X         Pamphlets

XI        Periodicals

XII      Photos

I. Annual reports published by the MCHA. The reports cover library statistics, staffing, acquisitions and donations, financial activities, projects, public programs conducted, and strategic planning.

II. Bibliographies compiled by Palmisano and others, including print resources on Monmouth County history, genealogy, and folklore available at the MCHA and elsewhere. Also included are materials related to the American Bicentennial and to women’s history in Monmouth County as well as a list of recommended resources for those wishing to establish a historical society library.

III. Book published in conjunction with the MCHA exhibit, “Masterpieces of American Folk Art.”

IV. Correspondence related to Palmisano’s tenure as librarian, including a memo submitted to the director detailing various reports to be submitted as well as recommendations for future projects and activities.

V. Ephemera related to the MCHA, including postcards and flyers and invitations for events and exhibits.

VI. Minutes of MCHA meetings.

VII. Various reports that include proposed improvements to MCHA library facilities and suggestions concerning operational and policy issues.

VIII. MCHA newsletters.

IX. Newspaper clippings on MCHA activities and events.

X. Pamphlets used for promotion of MCHA programs and exhibits, historical sites and patron reference.

XI. Periodicals issued by the MCHA.

XII. Color photographs showing library displays.

Types of materials include photocopied and/or typewritten documents, newspaper clippings, bibliographies, flyers, event invitations, pamphlets, books, periodicals, newsletters (bound and loose), and photographs.  Most newspaper clippings are photocopies made for preservation purposes; original clippings that include color photographic reproductions have been retained and are interleaved with archival paper for preservation purposes. Bound newsletters were water-damaged at Palmisano’s home during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  Photographs are somewhat faded. Dates in the container list refer to original publication date of material.


This collection is open to researchers.


Use of the Monmouth County Historical Association Collection is unrestricted. See shelf list below for folder headings. Contact the archivist for additional resources in the Monmouth County Archives on topics found in the MCHA Collection including Monmouth County history.


The Monmouth County Historical Association Collection has been arranged in twelve series: Annual reports; Bibliographies; Books; Correspondence; Ephemera; Minutes; Miscellaneous reports; Newsletters; Newspaper clippings; Pamphlets; Periodicals; and Photographs. The first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and eleventh series are arranged by date. The second and tenth series are arranged alphabetically by title. Photographs are stored separately and are arranged chronologically.


Monmouth County Archives
125 Symmes Drive
Manalapan, NJ 07726
Phone: 732-308-3771


The bulk of the MCHA Collection was donated by Elsalyn Palmisano (Accession 2013-01), including some she acquired from the New Jersey Collection at Brookdale Community College, and the remainder from reference files at the Monmouth County Archives.


Finding aid created by Lisa Iannucci on September 12, 2014.


The Monmouth County Historical Association maintains its own archives; see

In its Book Collection, the Monmouth County Archives holds some non-circulating books and pamphlets published by MCHA; see list below and ask the archivist to request retrieval.

MCHA Publications in the Monmouth County Archives Book Collection

Bartlett, Margaret B. Historic Monmouth County: A Pictorial Guide. Freehold, NJ: Monmouth County Historical Association, 1964.

Bryan, Joseph F. and Miriam S. Bryan, compilers. Early Records of the Presbyterian Church of Squan Village, N.J., 1848-1900. Freehold, NJ: Monmouth County Historical Association, 1990.

Beckman, George C. Index to Early Dutch Settlers of Monmouth County, New Jersey, 1915. Freehold, NJ: Monmouth County Historical Association, 1974.

Lyle, Charles T., ed. The Monmouth Historian. Volume 1. Freehold, NJ: Monmouth County Historical Association, 1972. [Includes Old Homes in Freehold; Clinton’s Headquarters; five  Historic Properties.]

Lyle, Charles T., ed. The Monmouth Historian. Volume 2. Freehold, NJ: Monmouth County Historical Association,1974. [Includes Micah Williams: New Jersey Primitive Portrait Artist, and three articles on the North American Phalanx.]

Megill, Carol Fisher. Bible Records from New Jersey’s Monmouth County Historical Association Library. Vols. I-III, A-G. Freehold, NJ: Monmouth County Historical Association, 1990, 1992, 1997.

Moss Jr., George H. Monmouth…Our Indian Heritage.  Third Edition. Freehold, NJ: Monmouth County Historical Association, January 1991.  [The first edition was published in October 1974 and the second in November 1975.  History of Native Americans in Monmouth County.]


Box Folder                Title                                                                            Date               

1          1                      Annual reports                                                          1973-1984

1          2                      Bibliographies                                                           1974-1979; undated

1          3                      Book: Masterpieces of American Folk Art                   1975

1          4                      Correspondence                                                       1974-1978

1          5                      Ephemera                                                                1962-1999; undated

1          6                      Minutes                                                                   1974-1978

1          7                      Miscellaneous reports                                               1966-1978

1          8-10                 Newsletters                                                              1972-2013

1          11                    Newsletters (bound)                                                  1972-1987

1          12-16               Newspaper clippings                                                 1970-2013; undated

1          17                    Pamphlets – brochures                                             1974, undated

1          18                    Pamphlets – exhibits & reference                              1976-2003

1          19                    Pamphlets – promotional                                           1946-2004

1          20-21               Periodicals                                                              1935-1980 (bulk 1974-1977)

1          22                    Photographs                                                           1962, undated