FREEHOLD, NJ – Access to 400 years of history, the largest collection of its kind telling the story of Monmouth County from the 17th to the 21st century is now available for perusal and study at the Monmouth County Historical Association, 70 Court St.
Freehold Mayor Nolan Higgins and Dr. Evelyn C. Murphy, Director of the Association, officially opened The Hartshorne Family Papers Collection at a ribbon cutting ceremony in the library at the association headquarters Monday afternoon. Attending the ceremony were members of several county historical associations and societies, members of the Association’s Board of Directors, as well as residents who live or have lived on property once owned by the Hartshorne Family.
The Hartshorne Family Papers Collection, the largest single collection at the museum, documents the distinguished family from 1670 to 2014 in a collection that covers the lives, records, business transactions and personal lives of eight generations of a founding family without any gaps in their history.
The complete collection is contained in 77 boxes, in addition to other maps and photographs, and is catalogued in a descriptive guide authored by Joseph W. Hammond, archivist, historian, and former Director of the Association, who compiled the collection during a four year project period funded in part by a grant from the NJ Historical Commission.
Murphy welcomed the gathering to the formal opening of the papers, and explained the descriptive guide is available on line at monmouthhistory.org. Visitors can inspect the documents of their choice in the Association library Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is no charge for Association members and membership is open to all interested persons either on line or at the headquarters or any of the association’s five historic houses. Appointments are suggested to request and view the papers.
Several local residents who live on property once owned by the Hartshorne family, said they wanted to be present for the official opening of the collection to learn more about the land, the family who settled it, and how it was acquired in the 17th century.
Gail Hunton, Supervising Historic Preservation Specialist for the Monmouth County Parks System, which owns Hartshorne Woods County Park, encompassing a large portion of the original Hartshorne tract, was the first to request documents from the collection.
Monmouth County Historical Association is a private non-profit organization that has been working to preserve history and provide educational opportunities since its founding in 1898. The Historical Association’s Museum and Library is located at 70 Court Street, Freehold, New Jersey. Museum hours are: Tuesdays - Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Library is open Wednesdays through Saturdays. The Historic Houses are open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from May 1 through September 30, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For further information about the Association, please call (732) 462-1466 or visit our web site at www.monmouthhistory.org
Monmouth County Historical Association received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.