Collections

Library & Archival
While the vast majority of either collection deals with multiple facets of the Revolutionary War era, both collections are strong in the non-military realm as well. The collection ranges over five hundred years of western European and American history. Of note are over four hundred manuscripts from George Washington, over one hundred from Thomas Jefferson, nearly one hundred from the Adams family, and smaller groups of documents by nearly every figure who can be called a “founder.” Nearly every signer of the Declaration and Constitution is represented. Over four hundred legal manuscripts document nearly every United States Supreme Court Justice and also chronicle the early legal development of New Jersey. The collection represents historical figures from Ferdinand & Isabella to Calvin Coolidge. These manuscripts document the social, political, military, cultural, and domestic developments over the past five centuries. Beginning with the voyages of exploration and culminating with the founding of the American republic, and for over a century after, the story of the developing of the North American continent is a vast and moving tale.

Within the archival collection are a complete set of Hessian records (21,000 pages in German) consisting of correspondence, journals, orderly books and other records of German military units, which served with the British in the Revolutionary War. It is one of the handfuls of complete Hessian collections known to exist in both the original German, and in English translation. The archival collection also contains some of the earliest maps showing the western coast of what is today the United States. The map collection ranges in date from 1510 to 1800 and also includes many military maps. The library collection numbers nearly 50,000 volumes ranging from incunabula to modern monographs and narratives as well as current journals and newsletters from other repositories and institutions.


Manuscript Collections*
  • Lloyd W. Smith Archival Collection
  • The Park Collection
  • Lidgerwood Hessian Transcriptions
  • The Ford Papers
  • Early New Jersey Iron Industry Papers
  • Washington Associaton of New Jersey Archives
*Finding Aides for these materials are available upon request.



The Park Collection
This collection includes the original Washington Association library plus additional materials purchased for or donated to the library by the Washington Association members, friends, and the National Park Service. The collection numbers over 1400 manuscripts and thousands of rare books. Manuscript materials primarily consist of correspondence and other items relating to the Revolutionary era. The collection contains military records, civilian journals, diaries and account books. Printed works include contemporary bibles and prayer books, histories, journals and personal narratives, political monographs and religious tracts.

Lidgerwood Hessian Transcriptions
William Van Vleck Lidgerwood was a founding member of the Washington Association. While living in London between 1906 and 1914, Lidgerwood arranged for the transcription of records of German military units, which served in the Revolutionary War. These records include correspondence, journals and order books of units from the principalities of Hesse-Cassel, Hesse-Hanau and Brunswick. Most of the transcripts have been translated into English, although either version may be consulted.

The Ford Papers
These papers contain personal and business correspondence, accounts, and ledger books of the Ford family, who built and lived in the Ford Mansion (Washington’s Headquarters) from 1774 to 1873. The collection contains approximately 2,000 manuscripts, relating primarily to legal and business matters concerning the family’s interests in the Morris County iron industry.

Early New Jersey Iron Industry Papers
The library’s holdings also include the Oram Collection, Moses Tuttle Papers, Tuttle-Hoff Papers and the Cobb Collection. These collections cover the mid-18th to mid-19th centuries and include the personal and business papers of prominent family owned iron-works located in Morris County, NJ. The original documents in these collections were recently returned to MNHP after being on long-term loan to the Joint Free Public Library of Morristown-Morris Township for some years. Photocopies and microfilm of the original documents, as well and indexes and finding aids, are available in the park library.


Reference Material
The library’s collection includes reference works covering 18th century American military, domestic, commercial and religious history. Considerable material is also available on archaeology, cartography, costume, decorative and fine arts, religion and music.


Microfilm Collection
The library’s 1,000 reels of microfilm include the papers of Guy Carleton (British Headquarters Records), the Continental Congress, and Revolutionary War related manuscript materials from the Library of Congress, National Archives, Pennsylvania State Archives, and other repositories. Contemporary newspapers are also available on microfilm.


Periodicals
The library subscribes to an array of current periodicals covering archaeology, history, historic preservation, material culture and museum studies. The park also subscribes to Rotunda, the online version of the Washington Papers.



Museum
Between 1873 and 1933, the Washington Association of New Jersey collected artifacts associated with George Washington, the Ford family, Colonial America and the Revolutionary War. 
Most of these objects came from family collections in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The collections were acquired from the Association in 1933 and additional artifacts relating to the Revolutionary War, 18th century American life and George Washington have been added through the years by gift, field collection and purchase.

The collection now number more than 40,000 objects. The collection is particularly strong in fine, decorative and useful objects made or used in the 18th century New Jersey.

The park’s collection of Revolutionary War military weaponry and equipment is recognized as one of the finest in public hands. Roughly 10,000 excavated artifacts recovered during archaeological investigations at the park over the past fifty years are a material extension of both military and civilian life in Revolutionary War Morristown.

Researcher desiring access to museum collections should contact the park curator for an appointment (973-539-2016 ext 204 or 203). The museum galleries are open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. five days a week. Tour info HERE.

No appointment is required to view the galleries and the historic furnishings in the Ford Mansion, located adjacent to the museum. Admission to the Ford Mansion however is only by guided tour.


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