The Hoboken Historical Museum and the Friends of the Hoboken Public Library initiated the Hoboken Oral History Project in 2000. The initial focus of the Project was to capture, through the recollections of longtime residents, “Vanishing Hoboken”—the working-class identity and tradition of multi-ethnic living that has been disappearing as the city has gentrified over the past twenty years.

Interviewees told stories about mom-and-pop shops, the city’s many movie palaces, vaudeville performances, political campaigns, ethnic traditions, and factory jobs. A second series in the Oral History Project was introduced, “Hoboken Memoir,” when it became clear that there were notables in the city willing to talk about their personal experiences in addition to the topics mentioned above.

Some transcripts were edited into short texts that were published into small booklets called “chapbooks,” illustrated with images supplied by the Museum, the interviewees, and the Hoboken Public Library.

A more detailed explanation of the Hoboken Oral History Project and the origins of the word “chapbook” may be found at the end of each of the booklets.

We hope you enjoy reading these Hoboken stories online. Click on cover to open an online reader for each chapbook. Use the arrows to advance through the book, click on a page to magnify it. There is a link below each reader window to a downloadable PDF of the chapbook.

If you enjoy these stories, please consider supporting the oral history program. Click here to make a donation!