Sinclair New Jersey Collection: Collection Development Statement


To collect, preserve and make available for research, primary and secondary materials in various formats documenting all aspects of New Jersey's history and culture.

While the purpose of the collection is to support teaching and research, security, preservation and conservation of the materials are of major concern.

Description (estimated size)

  • Cataloged books and pamphlets: 95,000
  • Periodical titles: 5,000
  • Broadsides: 40,000
  • Uncataloged pamphlets: 24,000
  • Uncataloged trade catalogs: 2,100
  • Uncataloged cookbooks: 1,300

Treatment of Subject

Goal is to be comprehensive for all New Jersey topics; subjects include State, county and local history, genealogy, folklore, religion, business, government, labor, law, economics, education, architecture, archaeology, literature, medicine, agriculture, technology, bibliography, political science, ethnic studies, gender studies, art, science, anthropology, poetry.

Types and Formats

Manuscripts, including personal correspondence, institutional and organizational records, diaries, some government agency records, business and labor records, books and pamphlets, both cataloged and uncataloged, broadsides, maps, pictorial items, periodicals, some 18th and 19th century New Jersey newspapers, New Jersey almanacs, trade catalogs, printed ephemera, audio and video tapes, diskettes, microfilm, microfiche, buttons, badges.

Chronological, Geographical and Language Parameters

Collections cover New Jersey's history from settlement (17th century promotional tracts and broadsides) to the present; all geographic areas of the State are included; the majority of the items are in English, with some Dutch, German, Yiddish, Spanish, Portuguese and Swedish.

Criteria for Inclusion/Exclusion

Included: Printed or manuscript materials relating to New Jersey; all pre-1851 material printed in New Jersey, regardless of subject; all pre-1851 New Jersey State documents.

Excluded: Recent municipal, State of New Jersey and federal publications, with several exceptions; current legal textbooks, hornbooks and tax treatises; artifacts, with few exceptions; literary manuscripts unless part of larger collections; recent limited editions from New Jersey fine presses, unless their content or title relates to New Jersey; non-New Jersey titles from commercial or university presses based in New Jersey; current New Jersey newspapers; commercially available microfilm titles; Rutgers University publications which do not relate to New Jersey; most Rutgers dissertations, graduate and undergraduate honors papers, unless topics are New Jersey-related; most current publications from other New Jersey colleges and universities, including yearbooks, newspapers, catalogs and serials.


Strengths: Comprehensive coverage of all aspects of the history and culture of central New Jersey, especially Middlesex, Somerset, Mercer and Monmouth Counties; statewide coverage of women's history, labor and business issues, social welfare agencies and publications, religious institutions, genealogy, education, politics, fiction set in New Jersey, publications of historical societies Statewide; the diary and almanac collections are among the largest in the country for New Jersey; the New Jersey broadside collections includes numerous unique images; the cataloged Sinclair New Jersey Collection is the largest body of materials of its kind in existence.

Weaknesses: Southern New Jersey counties and Northwestern counties; monographs, pamphlets and periodicals issued by local groups in limited runs; broadsides and ephemera reflect the demographics of the staff; cataloging backlogs exist for books, pamphlets, and various categories of collection level records, rendering them inaccessible.

Resource Sharing

Close ties are maintained with other repositories around the State, including archives, museums, public libraries, historical societies and genealogical groups; resources are shared through exchange of finding aids, duplicate materials, cooperative bibliographic projects and committee work; other Rutgers libraries forward publications from their locale to Special Collections and University Archives.

Last updated August 13, 2013