PHOTO: Left to Right: M. Claire French, Library Commission Chair Renee B. Swartz, Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, Library Commissioners Nancy Grbelja and Frank Wells share stories at Monmouth County Archives Day.
MANALAPAN - Close to 75 different organizations had exhibits or displays at the annual event designated by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, including historical societies from Highlands, Keyport, Keansburg, Little Silver, Asbury Park, Long Branch, Colts Neck and Ocean Grove, as well as state offices for the Catholic Historical Commission, Civil War Heritage Association, Hispanic Research & Information Center, Historic Preservation Office for the DEP, Historic Trust, Historical Commission, Living History Advisory Council, Archives and Studies Academic Alliance. Monmouth County was represented by the Historical Commission, Historical Association, Genealogical Society, Park’s System’s Historic Services Division, and Archives. Monmouth University’s Department of History & Anthropology and Rutgers University Libraries, Special Collections, also participated, as well as the Crossroads of the American Revolution, 3rd Regiment, NJ Volunteer Infantry, 1719 William Trent House Museum and Allaire Village.
Monmouth County Library Commission Chairman Renee Swartz welecomed everyone to the library’s meeting rooms, and told them “The doors of the Monmouth County Library are open wide for you, so come often and keep up with the kaleidoscope of what's new and there for you.” She outlined the number of activities, programs, and diversified interests the library serves, adding “We are indeed the heartbeat of Monmouth County---the Community Center for us all.” She likened the library system to a “ the corner store for the mind,” noting access is available both in peson at the main library or any of its branches, as well as on line and through a variety of electronic sources. The Chairman also praised the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office and Jane Clayton, the retired county clerk who was instrumental in having the county archives located in the main library building. The Archives houses hundreds of thousands of records for the county as well as other entities who do not have the resources to properly catalog and preserve their historic documents.
Monmouth County Historian Randall Gabrielan and Melissa Ziobro, a professor at Monmouth University and former historian at Fort Monmouth, led a scintillating forum on Fort Monmouth and its role in World War I and II as well as its part in Monmouth County history. Ziobro was also featured speaker at the Archives Day, ttracing the history of Fort Monmouth to when the tract was acquired from Monmouth Race track and became a leader in communications and numerous electronics breakthroughs in military history.
Monmouth County Clerk Christine Hanlon chaired the day’s events and introduced the programs throughout the day. County Archivist Gary Saretsky led a tour of the Monmouth County Archives, explaining how the hundreds of thousands of documents and photographs are preserved under ideal conditions at the library. Saretsky explained the process of public access to the records and invited visitors to take advantage of the Archives as a primary means of conducting research and geneology.