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The George Moss Collection at Monmouth University: Collection Overview

George H. Moss, Jr. Collection Overview

By Alexis Martin, Introduction to Public History, Spring 2018

The George H. Moss, Jr. Collection at the Monmouth University Library contains a treasure trove of material collected by noted Monmouth County historian George H. Moss, Jr. and donated to Monmouth by the Moss family in the Fall of 2017. The collection consists of stereograph cards, post cards, newspaper articles, advertisements, and other documents, illustrations, and ephemera, all reflecting life in Monmouth County in the late 19th and early 20th century. 

The collection is currently organized in binders and archival boxes, as pictured below. This reflects how it arrived at the University when donated in the Fall of 2017.

There are six binders in the collection. These binders are well organized and indices outlining the contents of each are available. One binder contains prints from newspapers and magazines, along with ads from local businesses. Four contain postcards and photos from Red Bank, Long Branch, Monmouth Park, and other Monmouth County towns.  One binder addresses a period of Monmouth County history that we might like to forget-- the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan. This binder chronicles the growth of the Klan via mailings, articles, flyers, newspaper clippings and newsletters, and other things like small booklets (for example, Constitution and Laws for Women of the Ku Klux Klan). This is a prime representation of the kind of not just nostalgic but also powerful material that can be found within the George H. Moss, Jr. binders, and also a good reminder that we as a society have an obligation to remember our past shortcomings in the hopes that we never repeat them. See our "Difficult History" page for more on this topic.

The aforementioned archival boxes contain stereograph cards that are used as another visual aid and provide a different glimpse into the past. The collection is home to approximately 777 Pach Brothers stereoview card images of beaches, shore homes, hotels, and other surrounding locations. These cards are basically images that provide both the left and right eye visuals and, when viewed properly, create a three-dimensional portrayal of these past events. Similar to the post cards and photos in the collections binders, the stereocards are yet another way to provide a glimpse of Monmouth County in the late 1800s/early 1900s. See our "What's a Stereograph?" page for more information.

Locals observing the collection will note that a lot of places pictured are still standing, and it is interesting to see how these certain locations have evolved over time. Monmouth University, for example, makes appearances in the collection by way of the original Shadow Lawn Estate and the Guggenheim Cottage. This happy coincidence only reinforces the feeling that Monmouth's campus is the ideal location for the collection. See our "Monmouth County Then and Now" page for more information.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and if that’s the case than the George H. Moss, Jr. Collection has plenty to say. The combination of photographs and other ephemera have many stories to tell. We hope you enjoy exploring the collection via this site, and visit the Library to use it if it will prove beneficial to your research.

Further Reading:

http://dx.doi.org/10.14713/njs.v4i1.109