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Atlantic City Heritage Collections

heston

Cover of Handbook of Atlantic City, New Jersey , 1894 by Alfred M. Heston.
From the Heston Collection of the Atlantic City Free Public Library.

About the Atlantic City Heritage Collections:

Information and research materials about Atlantic City’s unique cultural, economic, social and historical development make up the Atlantic City Heritage Collections of the Atlantic City Free Public Library. The collections include both published and unpublished works, as well as artifacts in the Atlantic City Historical Museum.

For current hours of operation for the Atlantic City Historical Museum, please check our website!

The mission of the Atlantic City Heritage Collections is to preserve and make accessible items documenting the history of Atlantic City. If you would like to donate any materials to our collection, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information about the Atlantic City Historical Museum and upcoming programs and events, please visit the Atlantic City Experience website! 

How to use our research collection:

If you are interested in doing historical research about Atlantic City, the Atlantic City Heritage Collections has many resources that you may find helpful. Here are a few examples of things you can use to research:

A helpful starting place would be to check out the materials in our library catalog. While not all materials in our collection are in catalog, materials are continually being added. This can serve as a good starting point for your research.

Microfilm resources may be used any time during regular library hours. There are also copies of many published works about Atlantic City that are in our general reference collection located near the Information Desk.

The use of photographs, postcards, files and all other archival materials requires the assistance of the Atlantic City Heritage Collections Staff in the Heston Room. Our open research hours to use the materials in the collection are:

Wednesdays: 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Thursdays: 9:30 am – 12:00 pm, & 2:00 – 4:30 pm

If you cannot visit the library during these hours,please contact the Atlantic City Heritage Collections Staff with your questions related to Atlantic City history, or to schedule an appointment. While it is not possible for staff to conduct extensive research for you, we will make every effort to answer your questions. There are fees for this service.

Because some of the items in the Atlantic City Heritage Collection are fragile or irreplaceable, the Heston Room is a closed-stack area with access provided only by Library personnel at certain times. Researchers must register and present a form of photo identification to see materials. Researchers must also agree to follow certain rules for the use of archival materials, which will be explained when the researcher arrives.

City Directories: Are you looking for information about where a family member lived in Atlantic City or where your family visited when they were here on vacation? We have a collection of city directories dating back to 1872. The City Directories include names of residents, home addresses, and professions, along with classified listings of businesses. Check out a listing of the years available in our collection.

Photographs and Postcards: Would you like to look for a photograph of how the piers and the Boardwalk used to look like? We have an extensive photograph and postcard collection for you to see unique images of Atlantic City ranging from photos of the Boardwalk to Atlantic City High School to entertainers that performed here.

Newspapers: Do you need to find an obituary or a birth announcement in the newspapers from the years that have gone by? We have several newspapers on microfilm including The Atlantic City Press, the Atlantic City Evening Union¸ Atlantic City Review Gazette, Atlantic City Sunday Gazette, and the Jewish Record. To view a full listing of what we have available on microfilm click here.

Casinos: Are you interested in learning more about the history of the development of casinos in Atlantic City, or the economic impact of casinos? We have a brief history about the history of casinos, as well as a list of some resources in our collection. Click here for more information.

High School Yearbooks: Do you want to browse through old Atlantic City High School yearbooks to look for family members and see what type of organizations they were involved in? We have an extensive collection of AC High School yearbooks in our collection. We also have yearbooks from Holy Spirit High School and the Atlantic City Friends School.

Biography and Subject Files: Are you looking for a good starting place for research on a subject relating to Atlantic City or a specific person? We have files that contain newspaper clippings, brochures, reports, pamphlets and other paper information on both people and subjects relating to Atlantic City! These files are not comprehensive, but can serve as a great starting place for your research.

Digital Collections: Interested in browsing some of our collections? We have a few virtual exhibits online on our Atlantic City Experience website. You can take a look at digital images from the Nucky’s Empire and the Prohibition Years, as well as the entertainment magic on Kentucky Avenue, or even images from the March 1962 storm. Check back for more virtual exhibits to be posted soon!

Atlantic City Historical Museum: Please visit the Atlantic City Historical Museum to see the exhibits and learn more about Atlantic City Heritage.