MANALAPAN, NJ – Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon is celebrating American Archives Month by reminding residents that the Archives Division of the County Clerk’s Office is a County treasure, filled with historical records that are being preserved for generations to come. It is wonderful resource for historians, genealogists, and all residents who are interested in history. Monmouth is one of the few counties in New Jersey to have a separate and dedicated Archives Division and an Archivist on staff.
American Archives Month is designated by the Society of American Archivists to highlight the work of archivists nationwide to preserve our country’s history. Under the direction of County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon, the Monmouth County Archives preserves and makes accessible County Clerk books and documents, old (mostly pre-1950) court records, minutes of the Board of Chosen Freeholders, and records from many other county departments. Special Collections include clippings and negatives from the defunct newspaper, Red Bank Register, and videotapes of news programs from Monmouth Cablevision (TV 34), as well as records from the Revolutionary War and Civil War.
“Our Archives staff, under the guiding hand of Archivist Gary Saretzky, has the important responsibility of securing the unique and distinctive heritage of our County,” said Hanlon. “American Archives Month provides a great opportunity for the public to learn about the County’s Archives Division and how we are preserving our County’s history.”
The Monmouth County Archives was created in 1994 in an effort to preserve and protect the most important historic County records. Prior to that, for centuries, the records were maintained at the County Clerk’s Office and, when space was no longer available, in various other buildings in Freehold. By the late 1970s, conditions in some of these secondary storage locations were abysmal, including the Hall of Records basement, where there had been a flood; a leaky former ice house behind the Hall of Records; and a notoriously moldy and vermin-infested warehouse on Manalapan Avenue.
Jane Clayton, then the first female Chosen Freeholder in the history of the County, became committed to addressing the issue, especially after she became County Clerk in 1980. After much work and deliberation, it was determined that the planned county library in Manalapan would include an archives and records center. The library opened in January 1987. Very soon thereafter, Clayton moved and added staff there to operate the archives and records section. In large quantities, records were delivered into the facility from various locations over the next few years and staff began the laborious and intensive tasks of organizing, indexing, describing, and rehousing them into archival folders and boxes.
Currently, the County Archives contains more than 3,000 cubic feet of documents and more than 5,000 volumes. Each year, more than one thousand individuals contact the Archives for documents or information. Its more than 280 web pages, including online searchable databases and digitized documents, get about 8,000 visits per month. Archives staff, augmented by interns and volunteers, are continuously organizing, describing, indexing, digitizing, and preserving documents from the past to make them more accessible.
The Monmouth County Archives Division also hosted a special program on Oct. 13, 2018, the 23rd Annual Archives and History Day, to highlight and celebrate Archives Month. Over 60 exhibitor tables by historical organizations were set up and over 300 people attended the annual event. This year’s theme focused on historical buildings in Monmouth County, about which the County Clerk’s Archives Division created an accompanying exhibit and catalog.
Researchers can obtain information or documents from the Archives Division in person, by phone or email, or use online databases. For databases and holdings, see the Archives’ website at www.MonmouthCountyClerk.com/Archives.
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PHONE: 732-431-7324, ext. 8735