Historical Society of Ocean Grove

The HSOG’s Library and Archives at the Museum contain a wide variety of print materials and digital media in numerous formats for personal and scholarly research on all aspects of Ocean Grove history.

Library and Archives Donation Policy

Select library and archives donations are accepted. We ask that you photograph and describe the item(s) you would like to donate to the HSOG, and email the photos to us for review at [email protected]. We will promptly respond with potential next steps.

 

Our Museum library contains a wide variety of over 1000 books, ranging from many on Victoriana and Victorian architecture, history of Monmouth County and New Jersey, books signed by Elwood Stokes, the first president of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, historic preservation, historic home renovation, and more.

Historic Research on Homes and Businesses. The library contains a set of photographic notebooks arranged by Ocean Grove address to help residents learn more about their home’s history and its architectural heritage. We may have a historic photo of your house in our books!

In addition, the library has an oversized print volume of the 1890 and 1930 versions of the Sanborn Maps. These maps are valuable to residents and businesses to help determine their buildings’ historic architectural features. The maps contain building and block numbers, outlines of each building and outbuilding, location of windows and doors, pathways and sidewalks, property boundaries, fire walls, natural features, building use (sometimes even particular room use), and building materials composition including the frame, floor, and roof materials.

The Sanborn Map Company published detailed maps of U.S. cities and towns in the 19th and 20th centuries. These large-scale, 21” x 25” books contain lithographed street plans at a scale of 50’ to 1”. The maps were originally created to allow fire insurance companies to assess their total liability in urbanized areas of the U.S. Since they contain detailed information about properties and individual buildings in approximately 12,000 U.S. cities and towns, Sanborn maps are invaluable for documenting changes in the built environment of American cities over many decades.

You can also research the Sanborn Maps online; here is a website link to the digitized version of the 1890 and the 1905 Sanborn Maps at Princeton University Firestone Library for research of Ocean Grove buildings. 

Please consider a donation to the Library Fund.

We are in the long-term process of renovating our archival storage space to meet professional standards. So far we have addressed temperature and humidity controls; moisture resistant walls, ceiling, and floor; low-heat lighting; and proper archival storage containers for paper, photographs, and clothing. This and more will ensure that Ocean Grove’s history will be preserved for future generations.

Our archives contain 50 antique, historic maps from 1877 to 1897, from which many homeowners date their homes. The largest lithograph was purchased from the Ocean Grove Times when they vacated their Main Avenue building. A benefit by Neil and Kevin Chambers raised funds to purchase these rare pieces (Reproductions of two maps may be purchased in our Museum Store). We also have an extensive 1,000 postcard collection depicting early Ocean Grove life, an extensive collection of photographs from early Ocean Grove, a large collection of stereographs, a large collection of stereopticon slides, and over 200 glass negatives.

The archives also document Ocean Grove historic, religious, and entertainment events with ephemera including personal and business letters, scrapbooks, diaries, posters, broadsides, tickets, brochures, advertisements, pamphlets, flyers, announcements, and other paper items.

Depending on the home or business address, the archive may contain photographs, glass negatives, and/or postcards that help people date their homes or businesses, provide insights into their building’s architectural style, and visual guidance for historically appropriate restorations or renovations.

Digital archives include computer files, past HSOG websites, business documents, and financial records.

The archives are also the repository of an extensive collection of Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association documents and memorabilia.

Please consider a donation to the Archives Fund.

The Museum has a number of online resources to help the everyday and professional researchers find out more about Ocean Grove, its buildings, and the people who lived and worked here.

Newspapers

The Museum has available online for research, three digitized versions of local, historic newspapers:

  • Asbury Park Daily Press
    1898 – 1901.
  • Asbury Park Journal
    1876 – 1880, 1887 – 1891, 1896 – 1901. Missing years still being researched.
  • Ocean Grove Times
    1875 – 1988, 1991 – 1996, 1998 – 2004. Missing years still being researched. 

Click here to begin your search in the newspapers overall; or by year, issue, or subject.

Sanborn Maps

The Sanborn Maps are described in detail in the Library section (scroll up). Here is a website link to the digitized version of the 1890 and the 1905 Sanborn Maps at Princeton University Firestone Library for research of Ocean Grove buildings. The interface is easy to use, you can zoom in on a property; and you can bookmark, send, and download what you find. 

Videos

The HSOG has a collection of its own periodic videos on our official HSOG YouTube channel.

There you can watch many inspiring and humorous videos on Ocean Grove history, and ones that rekindle memories.  

Blog

In the past, the HSOG supported a blog called, “Curiosities of Ocean Grove.” It contains fascinating articles on specific, sometimes odd, aspects of Ocean Grove’s past, often using artifacts from the HSOG collection to help tell stories.

Here’s a link to the collection of posts.

Articles

The HSOG has written a number of articles in the past that include a series called, “Then and Now,” which compares historic Ocean Grove buildings from how they used to look to how they look today.  These articles focus on the history of the buildings, and their often intriguing owners too. They’re an insightful window on what and who helped shape Ocean Grove. Also, there are articles that use artifacts from the collection as a launching point to describe interesting aspects of Victorian life.

Here’s a link to the collection of articles.

Interactive History Map

This project is the history of Ocean Grove residents and businesses. Its launch in summer 2020, with a grant from Kearny Bank, focuses on those living there from 1870-1900. Ultimately, visitors will use a touchscreen computer to access property lots throughout town. When you select a lot, a dropdown screen will provide a biographical sketch with images and original data of those who leased the lot(s) in that time frame. Visitors will have access to their property history, and optional links to commercial properties on Main Avenue and the stories of their fascinating early residents and proprietors.

Research for the project is being completed through newspapers, census reports, military records, city directories, birth/marriage/death records and general searches on Google and Ancestry.com.

This research is extensive, with the end project a comprehensive narrative with available photographs and documentation. The research and development of this project will document ownership of over 1,000 lots in Ocean Grove from 1870 – 1900. A narrative will highlight those who lived in Ocean Grove during its formative years. The long-term goal is to continue in 30 year increments to complete the remainder of the project up to the present day.