The Hoboken Historical Museum’s collections holds over 50,000 documents, maps, drawings, books, photos, slides and objects related to the history of our city. While the museum has been collecting since 1986, formal accessioning and cataloging began in 2001. Since 2006, the Museum has offered an online version of its collections catalog. Our mission is collecting materials related only to Hoboken, but some holdings do relate to the surrounding region or are part of our national heritage such as World War I Port of Embarkation, ocean liners or Stevens family activities. It includes tribute items related to one of Hoboken's most famous citizens, Frank Sinatra, but other materials name many other people. The people file has over 16,000 names and records include several tens of thousands in descriptions or images.
Objects can range from the very small - a Holland America Line sandwich or cocktail pick - to the very large - the twelve-foot high "Last Drop" that was part of the world-famous Maxwell House Coffee "Good to the Last Drop" neon sign that graced our waterfront from 1938 to about 1993.
Do we have everything about Hoboken? No, and never will. The scope and range of people's lives, commerce, government, schools and more will always outstrip our capacity to collect everything that can be considered historical. We must be selective in what we collect and preserve to eventually present to the public about Hoboken through exhibitions, publications, events and digitally. The Museum is very grateful for the people who through the years have helped to fulfill, and continue to support, our mission by the donation of Hoboken items of all kinds. Our catalog credits and the Gifts and Acquisitions pages are only a small token of recognition to the these people.
USING THE ONLINE CATALOG
Users can access a database containing more than 13,000-plus records with over 45,000 viewable images. It is an easy-to-use format with multiple ways to research Hoboken's past.
Searching the catalog ranges from the simplest methods (random images or keyword) to more involved search strings. A few minutes spent trying some of the options would be useful in finding your best strategy. If you are new to the catalog (and it can be fun anytime), try Random Images (our links to the catalog in this text open in a new window - just close the window to return to this page if you do not continue in the catalog or you can return to the Museum’s home page from the catalog at any time by just clicking on the Museum banner at the top of the screen or the HOME button in the top menu.)
Help is available in several places - check our FAQ page or click on this how-to pdf document. Also, there is a help button in the catalog's top menu that provides guidance. Here are some links showing other typical screens: Main Screen - a Keyword Search; Click & Search - showing a possible people query; Advanced Search - you have many options here including Boolean searches. You can print out many of your searches and images.
Due to limited staff and space, response to research inquiries by phone or e-mail may be delayed. Research on a project basis can be done on an hourly charge.