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Learn about Hoboken.

The Library’s Special Collections consist of four subject collections: The Historical Collection, The Sinatra Collection, The Audio Collection and The Hoboken Free Public Library Collection.

Because of ongoing building improvements, the collections are open to the public by appointment only. There is no charge, but you should call ahead (201) 420-2346 x 5101, or email reference@hoboken.bccls.org.  If you have questions about history, genealogy or the collection, we encourage you to email our Special Collections Manager, James Cox, or our history librarian/archivist, Stephanie Diorio.

The Historical Collection

The Historical Collection includes an extensive assortment of materials documenting the history of Hoboken, including books, manuscripts, maps, oral history recordings and transcripts, photographs, scrap books and vertical files.

Browse city directories, old Hoboken newspapers, scrapbooks, maps, and oral histories at our online DigiFind-It portal.

Books/Manuscripts

The library’s history collection includes more than 600 books focused on the history of Hoboken as well as original manuscripts such as council minutes from the early 1900s. The list of volumes is organized by subject and can be perused here.  We are working to digitize our unique holdings.

Census On Microfilm

City Directories (Jersey City and Hoboken)

Available on microfilm and online.

1902-1907; 1909-1911

Maps and Atlases

The Hoboken Public Library possesses a variety of historic maps and atlases, which may require staff assistance to view. The Sanborn Maps of New Jersey from 1906–1938 are also on microfilm and online.  Here is a research guide to some useful maps at Hoboken Public Library and available online from peer repositories.

Newspapers

  • Corporate Reporter/Modern Times (microfilm): Oct. 9, 1986–Nov. 9, 1989
  • Hoboken Advertiser (microfilm): Feb. 2, 1878–June 2, 1883
  • Hoboken Pictorial (microfilm): Jan. 8, 1960–Dec. 31, 1970
  • Hoboken Reporter (digital and microfilm): Sept. 21, 1983–Dec. 27, 1992; and digitized copies from 1995–2017
  • Hudson Review/Hudson Current (microfilm): April 19, 1990–Jan. 6, 1993
  • Jersey Journal: May 2, 1867-December 31, 1999
  • New York Times (microfilm): Jan. 1, 1988–Oct. 10, 2005

Oral History Transcripts

The Oral History Project is a collaboration between the Friends of the Hoboken Public Library and the Hoboken Historical Museum to preserve memories of a variety of Hobokenites from all walks of life, including local business owners, a former mayor, and factory workers during the twentieth century. Browse transcripts in the Library and online.

The Library received an American Rescue Grant in 2022 to document the lives of Hoboken residents impacted by Covid-19.  The 16 oral histories documented by the grant can be found here.

Photographs

The library has a collection of over 1,000 black and white historical photos. In conjunction with the New Jersey Digital Highway Project, many of the historical photographs are now online. Go to NJDigitalHighway and choose the Hoboken Historical Photographs under collections in the Advanced Search to see our photographs.

Scrapbooks

The scrapbooks are available on microfilm and online and document such topics as World War I, ships, and prohibition, as well as on the city of Hoboken from Nov. 1960–Dec. 1990.

Vertical Files

Newspaper clippings, flyers, pamphlets, and some photographs are collected on a variety of topics such as churches, schools, and other community organizations. The vertical files have been digitized and can be viewed here.

The Sinatra Collection

The Hoboken Public Library owns a rich collection of books, photographs, CDs (available for check out with your library card), and vinyl and vertical files on Hoboken’s own iconic singer, actor, and producer, Frank Sinatra (December 12, 1915–May 14, 1998).  The Sinatra Collection is available for use in-house.

The Audio Collection

The Hoboken Public Library has an exclusive collection of CDs made by local artists, and recorded at Bar/None Records. These CDs are part of the Special Collections and can be checked out with your library card.

The Hoboken Free Public Library Collection

The Hoboken Free Public Library and Manual Training School is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.  The Hoboken Free Public Library Collection will document the significant cultural history of the institution.