By Sally Deering
Imagine a collection of written documents that date back to 1629 before America was even a country, or a series of photos chronicling Jersey City life in the 40s and 50s? Then there’s the “Douglass Map of 1841” the first of a genre of maps of Jersey City depicting property owners and their land lots. Cynthia T. Harris manages these treasures housed in the New Jersey Room of the Jersey City Free Public Library on Jersey Avenue in Jersey City. The New Jersey Room holds some of the most important documents in the history of New Jersey and specifically Hudson County and Harris its very own history detective.
As Manager of the New Jersey Room, Harris oversees the cataloguing – and deciphering – of documents and photographs housed in the archives on the top floor. There, Harris and her staff of librarians – John Beekman and Daniel Klein, library assistants and volunteers assist visitors, especially those researching their family trees and searching for clues to events that are extremely personal to their lives. Continue reading History Detective: Author and Historian Cynthia T. Harris Sees the Beauty – and Importance – of Dusty Old Pictures and Faded Yearbooks