Samuel Smith Place Name Collection

RECORD GROUP: Special Collections
RECORD SERIES #: 7500
SERIES: Samuel Smith Place Name Collection
VOLUME: 2 cubic feet
DATES: 1970s-1980s

Scope & Content

The Samuel Smith Place Names Collection provides information on the location and, in many cases, the origin and former name of more than 1,180 place names in Monmouth County. The documentation also includes references to individuals. Thus the data is potentially useful for both genealogical and historical research.

The late Samuel Stelle Smith (1904-1989) author and historian of Monmouth Beach, began the collection in the 1970s. Smith compiled information for approximately ten to fifteen years from maps, deeds, accounting records, published histories, newspapers, and other sources. Robert Van Benthuysen, Director of the Guggenheim Library at Monmouth College, augmented this collection over several years after Smith’s death. While the collection was at Monmouth College, local historians could contact Van Benthuysen, who was fully aware of this project, to add or get information. While the collection was with Van Benthuysen, Audrey Wilson, NJ Librarian at the Guggenheim Library, and Martha Thompson, New Jersey Librarian at the Brookdale Library, used it to compile a collection of 3×5 index cards and a loose-leaf notebook, pertaining to communities, rivers, streams, estates, and the history of Monmouth County. There is also evidence that Ellen Thorne-Morris, an active and well-respected local genealogist, started a computerized database on the Place Names project but the results of this effort are unknown.

Prior to the death of Van Benthuysen, he entrusted the collection to Elsalyn Palmisano, Director of the West Long Branch Public Library. By November 1990, the boxes containing the card files, loose leaf binders, and notes were at the West Long Branch Library where Van Benthuysen had been a Board member for several years. Palmisano then proposed using the files for a published guide of significant geographic and historic information that would be useful to researchers but the book was not published.

On April 14, 1999, Palmisano donated the Place Names project files to the Monmouth County Archives, along with her own professional papers. Included with the Smith collection are a place names index folder with data arranged alphabetically by place name, and two boxes of 3×5 index cards, one with map names and the other with historical information filed chronologically. There are also three 3-ring binders with reference notes, file folders containing data, newspaper articles, historical information, and drafts.

USE
The collection is available for use without restriction. Data from the collection has been input to a database used to produce indexes available for use in the Archives.

SAMUEL SMITH PLACE NAME COLLECTION SHELF LIST
Box
Folder/Item
Title
1
1
Smith Place Name Index
2
Correspondence, Data, etc.
3
Smith Place Name Index: Drafts
4
Name Places and References: Citations Index
5
History of Monmouth County Family Tree
6
Newspaper Articles 1958-1987
7
The Origin of NJ Place Names: WPA, 1945
8-9
Wilson/Thompson Place Name Index Cards: A-O, P-Z
10
Wilson Chronology Cards
2
1-3
Smith’s Original Name Place Index: 3-Ring Binders

Carmen Rubin
May 2003