Topics include naval photography, the home front

MANALAPAN, NJ – Monmouth County is getting ready for its annual Archives and History Week with special events planned on Oct. 5, 6 and 9 at the county Library Headquarters, Symmes Dr.

On the agenda are a number of activities that will provide attendees a glimpse into Monmouth County’s history during World War II and celebrate the history of Monmouth County. More than 60 history organizations will have display tables.

“Archives and History Week is a great opportunity to delve into a specific time in Monmouth County’s rich history,” Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry said. “Archives has a tradition of putting on this event that reminds us how important our historic records are to the fabric of the county.”

Capping off the week will be Archives and History Day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday,  Oct. 9. At 1 p.m., the day’s keynote speaker will be Eleanor Roosevelt, an actor from the American Historical Theatre in Philadelphia.

Other programs during the day will include selections from the Monmouth County Archives TV34 News video collection and a tape-recorded history interview with former Freeholder Ted Narozanick, who was a captain in the U.S. Army during WWII. Narozanick will be in attendance to answer questions.

Also on Oct. 9, at 11 a.m., the 2010 Jane G. Clayton Award will be presented to independent historian Edward J. Raser of Monroe Township.

“Mr. Raser began researching Monmouth County surnames 60 years ago using gravestone inscriptions,” Monmouth County Clerk M. Claire French said. “In this decade he has published and updated the most authoritative volume of graveyard and gravestone inscriptions in Monmouth County.  Mr. Raser’s commitment to his research is remarkable and has advanced the understanding of the county’s history.”

Created in 1997, the Clayton Award honors individuals who, over a substantial number of years, have made exceptional contributions to an awareness, understanding, and/or preservation of the history of Monmouth County. It is named after former County Clerk Jane G. Clayton, who was responsible for the creation of the Monmouth County Archives.

For a complete Archives and History Day program, visit the county Web site at www.visitmonmouth.com. The website also has travel directions.

On Tuesday, Oct. 5 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., the Monmouth County Library will screen, “The Fighting Lady” (1944), the Oscar-winning documentary film directed by Edward Steichen about the WWII aircraft carrier, USS Yorktown, that includes 16mm Kodachrome footage of combat operations and naval aviation. The screening will be followed with a question-and-answer session with Gary D. Saretzky, Monmouth County Archivist. No registration required.

On Wednesday, Oct. 6 from 9 a.m. to noon, there will be a seminar entitled “World War II Archives in New Jersey.” Four speakers, each of whom represents an organization that collects source materials that document World War II, will describe their projects’ goals, accomplishments, and future plans and the complex challenges they address in the course of their work. The presenters are from the Rutgers Oral History Archives and from Brookdale Community College. Registration is required at $15 per person (includes refreshments).

On Wednesday, Oct. 6 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saretzky will give a slide lecture, “Edward Steichen and U.S. Navy Photography in World War II.” Cmdr. Edward Steichen was the oldest commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II, during which he directed the photographic documentation of naval operations in the Pacific. Registration is required, but no cost to attend.

For registration, contact Shelagh Reilly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 732-308-3771.

Throughout the entire month of October a feature exhibit, “World War II: The Home Front in Monmouth County,” will be on view at the library.

The exhibit includes nearly 80 exhibit items that shed light on topics such as civil defense, civilian patriotism, Fort Monmouth, actions by the Board of Chosen Freeholders, manufacturing and the local economy, military personnel from Monmouth, nurses, veterans, and WACs. The items are from the collections of the Monmouth County Archives, New Jersey State Archives, Fort Monmouth, Long Branch Public Library, and others. A catalog of the exhibit will be available.

Archives Week has been celebrated annually at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters in Manalapan since 1996. Each year the event promotes a different era of local history to promote the resources and information about the Monmouth County archives.

The Monmouth County Archives is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Appointments are advised and may be made by calling 732-309-3771.

The Monmouth County Archives works to preserve inactive county government records that are retained on a permanent basis. The records are organized for historical, genealogical and other research purposes. The records include documents pertaining to deeds, court cases, naturalizations and many other subjects.

The Archives staff also educates the public about Monmouth County history through programs and reference services.