Red Bank Register: Negatives, 1971-1987

RECORD GROUP: Special Collections
RECORD SERIES #: 6800.01
SERIES: Red Bank Register Negatives Collection
DATES: 1971-1987
VOLUME: 29 cubic feet (approx.)


The Red Bank Register was founded as a weekly in 1878 and converted to a daily in 1959. It added a Sunday section in the 1970s and went back to being a weekly in 1989. The last issue appeared on November 13, 1991.

After the Register was sold to a subsidiary of Greater Media in 1987, its former librarian, Olga Boeckel, returned (probably in 1988) and divided some of the photographic film and clippings to at least one individual and three institutions. These files dated back to 1971, after a fire had destroyed the earlier materials.


The collection consists of approximately 90% black-and-white 35mm negatives and approximately 10% color positive transparencies and a few color negatives. A very small number of 2¼ inch film is also in the collection.  The photographs were taken by staff photographers of the Red Bank Register.  The original envelopes with the film contained from a few to more than 30 frames, with an average of eleven based on a sample.  The total number of frames in the collection is approximately 330,000 but these include many near-duplicates as photographers often tried several shots of the same subject if it was static.  Most of the envelopes carried a five-digit file number and a date assigned by Register staff.  Some numbers repeat, suggesting that either more than one assignment was shot on a roll or that a mistake was made in numbering.  Gaps in the number sequence have been found, some due to numbering errors, while others probably represent missing sleeves.  There were brief descriptions of the contents on the envelopes.  A few empty envelopes were found.

After acquiring the still film collection, the Archives replaced the original acidic envelopes with archival quality sleeves. Data on the original envelopes was transferred to the new enclosures through photocopying.  The new sleeves include Monmouth County Archives cataloging numbers which are being used to index the negatives in a PastPerfect database.  With the help of volunteers, information from captions to published photographs is being added to the metadata for the relevant negatives.


This collection is open to researchers.


The collection is open for use without restriction except as noted below. Researchers will be asked to take measures to prevent fingerprints on the film.

The collection was acquired in several batches; see Acquisition Information below. The Moss donation has been cataloged in the PastPerfect database and is searchable at the Archives only. Contact sheets have been printed and scanned for the Moss donation and some of the Shrewsbury donation; where available, digital images are attached to the PastPerfect catalog records. The rest of the collection is gradually being processed but until this task is completed, access to uncataloged and unprinted film is primarily by date. Researchers may identify the date of an image using microfilm of the newspaper or the online edition available on the website of the Red Bank Public Library or the Middletown Township Public Library. It is also possible to use an Internet search engine to find images in the online Red Bank Register. The microfilm and online edition can also be used to identify the photographer, as no photographers are identified on the negative sleeves.

The Red Bank Register was acquired by The Sentinel Publishing Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Greater Media, Inc. In a letter dated March 29, 2010, extended via E-mail message on November 26, 2013, to cover the Middletown Historical Society donation, Ellen J. Rubin, Vice President and General Counsel of The Sentinel Publishing Co., granted the Monmouth County Archives a perpetual, royalty-free license to make copies and derivative works of the images in the negatives, to distribute copies to third parties for personal and public, non-profit use, and to use the images for other public purposes such as exhibits. By this license, the Archives may not charge a user fee (other than copying or development costs) and it may not provide the images to a third party who intends to profit from sales of the images, except where the images are not the primary focus of a publication. Third parties who intend to publish images that are the primary focus of a publication should contact Greater Media, 35 Braintree Hill Office Park, Suite 300, Braintree, MA 02184.

Users who intend to publish are strongly encouraged to review current statutes (Title 17) regarding copyright and/or to obtain legal advice before publishing. The following information, current as of January 1, 2008, may be helpful and is based on the assumption that negatives in the Monmouth County Archives were “works for hire” and that therefore the Red Bank Register had the rights to their publication.

Published Red Bank Register negatives from 1970 to 1987:

These images are copyright protected for 95 years from date of publication if a copyright notice appears in the newspaper. However, at least some issues of the Red Bank Register were published without copyright notice. Users should check the issue of the newspaper to see if it carries a copyright notice. If there is no notice, and the photographs were “works for hire” and not obtained from another source such as a picture agency, the images could be in the public domain.

Unpublished Red Bank Register negatives, 1971-1987

If not published, the images are protected for 120 years from date of creation. Typically, a photographer would take a number of photographs on location and only one or two would be published.

See for an overview of copyright restrictions.


The collection is filed in chronological order, with a few exceptions. A box of negatives pertaining to the Register itself, December 1970-1982, is filed separately. These negatives are arranged chronologically within the box. Most of these negatives depict people who were on the staff of the newspaper. Except for these negatives, almost all the negatives and color positive transparencies available at the Monmouth County Archives are from 1972 to February 1987.

A second exception is the collection donated by George Moss, which is filed separately. Only two of the sleeves contain negatives predating 1979; the rest date from 1979 to 1987.

Third, a small number of negatives were found in sleeves without numbers or dates and are filed separately.

Finally, color transparencies, about 10% of the Shrewsbury file, were removed by the Archives staff for refrigerated storage to enhance stability.


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


Information regarding the disposition of the film is incomplete but the following information is currently available. Ms. Boeckel divided the negatives into two main batches, one of which went to the Middletown Historical Society, which obtained the bulk of the negatives from the 1970s, and the Shrewsbury Historical Society, which got most of the negatives from the 1980s. In 2004, Monmouth County Historian, George H. Moss, Jr., donated 277 envelopes to the Monmouth County Archives with black-and-white negatives and color transparencies pertaining to Rumson and Sea Bright (1973-1987, bulk, 1980-1986) that he had obtained either directly from Ms. Boeckel or from the Shrewsbury Historical Society. In 2008, Donald Burden, President of the Shrewsbury Historical Society donated its collection of approximately 14,750 envelopes with black-and-white negatives or color positive transparencies to the Archives. In 2013, the Middletown Historical Society, under the direction of Randall Gabrielan, donated its collection of about 12,000 envelopes. Included in this donation were a small number of envelopes from the 1980s that Mr. Gabrielan obtained from the Shrewsbury Historical Society.


Finding aid created by Gary D. Saretzky on October 24, 2008. Finding aid revised on March 12, 2009; May 7, 2009; March 30, 2010; August 17, 2010; September 28, 2012; December 5, 2013; January 16, 2018.


The Monmouth County Archives also holds clippings from the Red Bank Register (6800). A guide to this collection is available online. The Red Bank Register newspaper (1871-1991) is available online through the Red Bank Public Library or the Middletown Township Public Library. The Archives holds an incomplete bound set with original copies of the newspapers, 1927-1958.