All manuscript collections are stored in closed stacks and must be requested via call slips. Some manuscript collections require advance notice to consult; a few are governed by use restrictions necessitated by privacy concerns or donor restrictions.
To identify manuscript collections held by Special Collections and University Archives, consult the Library Catalog, or other online catalogs, as well as card files and subject guides available in the New Jersey Room.
When consulting the Library Catalog, it is possible to restrict one's search only to manuscripts by using the appropriate format setting on the "Advanced Search" screen. In addition, when looking at a Library Catalog cataloging record for a manuscript collection, it is usually possible to obtain additional information about the collection by consulting the fullest version of the cataloging record. To obtain this more complete text, click on "Change Display" and, on the resulting screen, change the "view of catalog records" setting from "Default" to "Complete" and then click the "OK" button. This change, necessary only once during a search session, will make additional notes in a manuscripts cataloging record visible, including the biographical/historical note.
Printed subject and genre guides to Rutgers manuscript collections that are available at the New Jersey Room reference desk pertain to diaries and journals, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, medicine in New Jersey and records of religious organizations. (Three of these guides are also publications available for purchase and a fourth is available from the Genealogical Society of New Jersey.) A short overview of the manuscript collections pertaining to labor is also available. For online guides, see below.
Rutgers manuscript collections are referenced in numerous national guides, including (through the mid-1980s) the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections. Other, representative examples include: American Literary Manuscripts (X-REF / Z6620 .U5M6 1977); Guide to Research Collections of Former United States Senators, 1789-1995 (X-REF / CD3043 .P39 1995); and Sources in Electrical History: Archives and Manuscript Collections in U.S. Repositories (SNCLNJ / HD9685 .S68 1989).
Finding aids are available at the New Jersey Room reference desk for various individual manuscript collections held by Special Collections and University Archives. Those finding aids which are also available online are listed below.
Summaries of Manuscript Sources (Multiple Collections)
American Revolution (Highlights only)
Finding Aids (Individual Collections)
Alexander, Archibald Stevens, 1906-1979. Papers
A former high-level employee of the U.S. Army, Archibald S. Alexander (1906-1979) was also associated with the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the Arms Control Association and groups such as the Gateway National Recreation Area Advisory Commission.
Alexander, Robert J. (Robert Jackson), 1918-2010. Papers
A professor of economics at Rutgers University, Robert J. Alexander (1918-2010) conducted interdisciplinary research focused on Latin America, where he frequently traveled to conduct interviews, Spain (particularly the opposition to Franco) and international radical movements.
American Association of University Women. Pequannock Township Branch. Records
Organized in 1968, the Pequannock Township Branch of the A.A.U.W. studied community issues, lobbied for tougher standards in New Jersey schools and actively supported the Equal Rights Amendment.
Bernard Bush Collection on the Ku Klux Klan in New Jersey
As documented in this assembled collection of source materials, the Ku Klux Klan, a secretive society with a philosophy of white Protestant nativism, gained its greatest following in New Jersey during the period from 1915 to 1946.
Bildner Family Kings Super Markets Collection
Containing both corporate records and personal papers, this collection documents Kings Super Markets, an innovative chain of upscale supermarkets in northern New Jersey, and the participation of Bildner family members in the grocery business, including Allen Bildner's three decades as the president of Kings.
Borough of Roosevelt Historical Collection
Noted for distinctive architecture and renowned as an artists' colony, Roosevelt, New Jersey, began its existence as a New Deal community of Jewish settlers supported by economic cooperatives in the form of farm operations, a factory and retail shops.
Brooks family. Papers
Residents of Bridgeton, New Jersey, the Brooks family included Enoch Brooks, a member of the Third New Jersey Cavalry during the Civil War, and his spouse Elizabeth S. Brooks.
Byrne, Brendan T., 1924- Papers
An Army Air Forces navigator during World War II, Brendan T. Byrne subsequently became a lawyer and served successively as prosecutor for Essex County, as president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utility Commissioners, as a Superior Court judge and as governor of New Jersey.
Cahill, William T. (William Thomas), 1912-1996. Congressional papers
Although subsequently elected governor of New Jersey, lawyer William T. Cahill (1912-1996) also spent eleven years in Congress, January 1959-January 1970, as the U.S. Representative for successive districts composed of municipalities in Camden county and two adjacent counties.
Congregation Sharri Sholom. Records
A Conservative synagogue located in formerly rural South Brunswick Township, New Jersey, Congregation Sharri Sholom existed from 1942 until 1981 and counted the artist George Segal among its members.
Consumers League of New Jersey. Records
Founded in 1900 by middle-class women seeking to better working conditions for women and children through coordinated buying and nonpartisan legislation, the Consumers League of New Jersey later addressed issues relating to consumer protection, environmental pollution and national health insurance, while also continuing to focus on workplace concerns such as occupational health and safety, workers' compensation and minimum wage rates.
Consumers' Research, Inc. Records
Located for most of its existence in rural Washington, New Jersey, Consumers' Research, Inc., was the first American product testing organization to systematically document the reliability of twentieth century consumer goods.
Contemporary Women Artists Files
A reference collection that continues to grow, the Contemporary Women Artists Files documents the artwork and careers of over 1,500 American artists, especially individuals active since 1980.
Council for Human Services in New Jersey. Records
Formerly known as the New Jersey Welfare Council, the Council for Human Services in New Jersey provided a forum for social workers of varying backgrounds to research societal problems, to keep current with their field and to advocate for new laws and practices in social service and public health administration.
Detwiller, Charles H. Architectural papers
A preservation architect based in Plainfield, New Jersey, Charles H. Detwiller, Jr., documented and restored numerous historic structures in central and northern New Jersey.
Dyckman, Mary L. Papers
A retired social worker who served twelve years as president of the Consumers League of New Jersey, Mary L. Dyckman (1886-1984) was an advocate of government protections for workers, especially child laborers and migrant workers.
Free Acres Association Collection
Begun in 1910 as an isolated, single tax community based on principles of Henry George as interpreted by Bolton Hall, Free Acres, New Jersey, was at first a summer colony with active communal institutions, but later evolved into a distinctive suburban development with shared services, property restrictions and lands held in common.
Gallo, Dean Anderson, 1935-1994. Congressional papers
A New Jersey member of Congress from the Morris County region who served from 1985 to 1994, Republican Dean A. Gallo focused on concerns involving his legislative district, including the survival of Picatinny Arsenal, as well as on issues such as export opportunities for small business, health care reform, environmental protection and the plight of Soviet Refusniks.
Gaston family. Papers
Primarily residents of Somerville, New Jersey, who descended from William B. Gaston, the Gaston family included Elizabeth VanderVeer, a 1906 Vassar College graduate who served in France with the American Expeditionary Forces Y.M.C.A. during World War I.
Grant, Frances R. Papers
A cultural ambassador and human rights activist who focused on Latin America, Frances R. Grant (1896-1993) pursued her life's work through the Pan-American Women's Association, the International League for Human Rights and the Inter- American Association for Democracy and Freedom.
International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers. President's Office. Records
Formed in 1949 to supplant an existing union deemed too radical, the International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, as reflected in the records of its first president James B. Carey, advanced the cause of workers in the electrical industry and advocated fair employment practices.
International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine & Furniture
WorkersCommunication Workers of America. Local 401 (Edison, N.J.). Records
Chartered in 1952, IUE-CWA Local 401 represented employees at an appliance factory (ultimately known as Frigidaire Home Comfort Products) in Edison, New Jersey, until it closed in 2003.
Kenner, Valentin, 1911-1967. Papers
A native of the Ferrer Colony near Stelton, New Jersey, Valentin Kenner (1911-1967) served in the antifascist Abraham Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War.
League of Women Voters of New Jersey. Records
Founded in 1920, the League of Women Voters of New Jersey is a non-governmental organization which promotes non-partisan political education and responsible public policy.
Lenox, Incorporated. Records
A New Jersey-based firm for over a century, Lenox, Incorporated (known as the Ceramic Art Company from 1889 to 1906), became the leading domestic fine china manufacturer and developed a diversified line of products that also included giftware, collectibles and non-ceramic tableware.
Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series Collection
Documentation formed around an ongoing exhibition series at the Mabel Smith Douglass Library, the Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series collection pertains to the over 250 contemporary women artists whose work has been exhibited since 1971, as well as to the administration of the Series' exhibits and programs.
Maurer, John, 1905-1988. Papers
A New Jersey based optical engineer and inventor who held approximately 60 patents in the fields of sound optics, camera design and photographic chemistry, John Maurer specialized in aerial cameras and 16mm and 8mm film projectors and printers.
Modern School Collection
As an integral part of an anarchist community situated near Stelton, New Jersey, the Modern School provided an alternative education (encouraging students' creativity and self-reliance) based on the principles of Spaniard Francisco Ferrer.
Nakao, Michiko (Michi) 1934-1993. Papers
Michiko (Michi) Nakao was an editor and writer who greatly contributed to the Japanese community in New York. One topic of her work was on Sen Katayama, a founding member of both the American and Japanese Communist parties.
Nelson, Julius, 1858-1916. Papers
A fixture at Rutgers College and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station for almost three decades, professor Julius Nelson (1858-1916) focused on teaching biology, educating the public about health matters, researching oysters and disseminating his research findings.
New Jersey Federation of Business and Professional Women. Records
Begun as a network of local clubs in 1919 by middle class working women, the New Jersey Federation of Business and Professional Women has focused over time on addressing equity and workplace concerns, promoting personal and career development and advancing women's health issues.
New Jersey Folk Festival. Records
The New Jersey Folk Festival is an annual event held on the Douglass campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The festival is the culminating event of a Folk Festival Management class offered through the Rutgers American Studies Department.
New York Feminist Art Institute (NYFAI). Records
Believing in the need for an alternative institution to balance the inequities of male-dominated art schools and colleges, a group of women artists, educators, and administrators founded the New York Feminist Art Institute (NYFAI) in 1979. NYFAI sought to bring women of diverse experiences and backgrounds together to form a supportive community in which to create art.
O'Horgan, Tom. Theatrical papers
A musician, composer, actor and director associated early in his New York career with Off-Off-Broadway productions staged by LaMama ETC, Tom O´Horgan (1926-2009) received critical acclaim in the late 1960s and early 1970s by employing his total theater concept when directing the original Broadway productions of Hair, Lenny and Jesus Christ, Superstar!
Order of the Founders and Patriots of America. New Jersey Society. Records
Formed in April 1896, the New Jersey Society of the Order of the Founders and Patriots of America is a patriotic organization for men with American lineages that include both an early seventeenth century settler and a Revolutionary War era ancestor who actively supported independence.
Pacific/Asian Coalition. New Jersey Chapter. Records
Through cultural programs, social activities and publications, together with workshops and seminars (on topics such as discrimination problems, equal opportunity laws and immigration issues), the New Jersey Chapter of the Pacific/Asian Coalition highlighted issues of concern to, and promoted the welfare of, the Asian and Pacific Islander community during the 1970s and 1980s.
Roebling, Mary G. (Mary Gindhart), 1905-1994. Papers
A resident of Trenton, New Jersey, Mary G. Roebling (1905-1994) was a banker, philanthropist and member of government councils whose successful career included a number of firsts, including becoming the first woman to head a major U.S. bank.
Schack, Paul A. (Paul Alexander), 1902-1985, collector. Paul A. Schack collection
A local historian who extensively documented South River, New Jersey, Paul A. Schack (1902-1985) was a manager with Macy's and the brother of Walter W. Schack, a World War II veteran who became South River's first mayor of Russian descent.
Sharp, Thelma Parkinson, 1898-1983. Papers
A graduate of Smith College, Thelma Parkinson Sharp (1898-1983) of Vineland, New Jersey, was a Democratic party activist and a 1930 candidate for the U.S. Senate.
Sisters in Crime. Records
Founded in part to document and combat gender-based discrimination in the field of publishing, Sisters in Crime has worked at the national and regional levels since 1987 to support and advance the interests of women authors of detective, crime and mystery fiction.
Somerset County Cultural Diversity Coalition. Records
Incorporated in 1997 as an outgrowth of a United Way project, the Somerset County Cultural Diversity Coalition has worked to promote diversity and to fight bias, prejudice and bigotry by sponsoring newspaper articles, publications, a speakers bureau and public events.
Symington, John Alexander, collector. John Alexander Symington collection
Heavily focused on correspondence and other papers of George Borrow, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Theodore Watts-Dunton, Edmund Gosse, Thomas J. Wise, the Rossetti family and Clement K. Shorter, the John Alexander Symington collection also contains hundreds of handwritten letters and documents created or signed by artists, noblemen, politicians, authors (both women and men), editors, businesspeople and scientists, mostly from the British Isles, as well as related reference materials (including on the Brontë family) in the form of prints, pamphlets, clippings and typed transcripts.
Temple Beth El (Rutherford, N.J.). Records
Founded as the South Bergen Hebrew Institute of East Rutherford in 1919, Temple Beth El, a congregation of Conservative Jews, has been located in Rutherford since the early 1950s.
Thompson, Ernest, 1907-1971. Papers
A union official who helped found the National Negro Labor Council, Ernest Thompson (1907-1971) was also a community activist who helped bring about political and economic gains for African Americans in Orange, New Jersey, and nearby communities.
Voorhees, Tracy S. (Tracy Stebbins), 1890-1974. Papers
A protégé of Herbert Hoover who served in the U.S. Army Medical Department during World War II, attorney Tracy S. Voorhees spent many years in government service, including as a civilian official with the Army, as a member of federal government commissions and as a presidential representative for Hungarian and Cuban refugees; he also advocated for an expanded national defense capability through his activities with two citizens' groups.
Weyl, Walter E. (Walter Edward), 1873-1919. Papers
A founding editor of the New Republic, Walter E. Weyl (1873-1919) was a social economist and journalist whose writings included an analysis of the causes of World War I and impediments to its resolution; he also toured East Asia and gathered information for an unrealized book on Japan.
Williams, Harrison A. Papers
A U.S. Senator from New Jersey during the period 1959 to 1982, Democrat Harrison A. Williams, Jr. (1919-2001), worked to advance civil rights, to promote economic equity and security, to broaden educational opportunities, to expand mass transit options and to further environmental conservation.
Women's Project of New Jersey. Records
The Women's Project of New Jersey, Inc. (WPNJ) was a non-profit corporation organized in October 1984 that worked to promote "the understanding of the role of women in the history and culture of New Jersey."
For further information contact:
Special Collections and University Archives
Rutgers University Libraries
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1163