The Library's Beginnings

Dublin Core


The Library's Beginnings


Items from the early years of the library, from its founding in 1890, the current building's completion in 1897, and the beginnings of the Industrial School which once shared the building with the library.


Hoboken Public Library

Collection Items

Early Library Floor Plan, Undated
An undated but early floor plan of the library building showing the locations of rooms in the library and Industrial School. Note the separate reading room for women and the former use of the Sinatra Room as a kitchen!

Two Letters from Richard Stevens, 1895
Two letters from Richard Stevens, son of Martha Bayard Stevens, the primary benefactor of the current library building. These letters concern the nature of the family's donation to build the library and to include the Industrial School.

Finding Aid, 1891
The library's first finding aid, produced in English and German in 1891. Notably, it was compiled by Nina Hatfield, here listed under her maiden name of Koester.

Articles of Agreement to Construct the Library Building, 1896
Articles of Agreement between the Mayor and Council of Hoboken by the Trustees of the Free Public Library and Heatherton Brothers of Jersey City, the contractors selected to build Albert Beyer's final design. The agreement was signed on January 28,…

Copy of the Deed Granting the Land for the Construction of the Library, 1896
A photocopy of the deed granting the land to the City of Hoboken for the construction of the library at its current location on the corner of 5th and Park. Martha B. Stevens donated the land for the project.

Architectural Renderings for the Hoboken Public Library
Copies of a collection of mockups drawn by architect Albert Beyer and other architects bidding on the library before selecting the final design for the library. The final design can also be seen on this site.

Main Delivery Room, 1897
Hoboken Public Library initially had closed stacks and would retrieve the books for patrons. Nowadays, patrons can freely browse the shelves themselves (except during a pandemic). This photo dates to around the opening of the current building in…

Inter-Church Movement Women's Group, Library Steps, c. 1915-1920
The Inter-Church Movement Women's Group on the front steps of the library building between 1915-1920.

Russ Law Library
Edward Russ, Esq. with the law books he donated to the Hoboken Public Library to create the Russ Law Library. The books were donated in September 1912. Photo dated to between 1912-1925.

Postcard, c. 1910
A postcard sent in 1910 depicting the library building.
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