Local History

The Library collection includes over 3,000 titles on South Jersey, Camden County, and Collingswood history. It also has an extensive collection of photographs of Collingswood people, buildings, and events. Since much of this collection is fragile in nature, it is shelved in the George A. Palmer New Jersey History Room. Please ask for assistance in using this collection, either in person or by calling (856) 858-0649 and asking for the Director.  In order to best serve your unique research needs, we recommend that you make an appointment with staff.

For current Collingswood information, visit the Borough of Collingswood’s official website.

The Wikipedia page for Collingswood NJ provides detailed statistics and historical information. It also provides a look at the town’s government, politics, education, and community life.

Currently the Collingswood Library has searchable, digitized copies of the local newspaper the Retrospect from the year 1902 until 2003.
If you would like to look through any of The Retrospect issues from these years, please contact the reference department at 856-858-0649 or email reference@collingswoodlib.org.

This blurb gives a brief overview of Collingswood history from pre-1600 to 1893.

This passage, presented by the Collingswood website, offers a glimpse into the town as it matured east of the Delaware River. It provides insight into the first settlers of the town, the town’s early formation and struggles, and notes some of the town’s founding fathers and families.

On Monday, January 11, 1911 the Collingswood Public Library opened.  It was located at the new store building of N.B.T. Roney’s, 725 Haddon Ave., Collingswood.  Originally, membership was by paid subscription. A West Collingswood Branch of the Collingswood  Public Library was opened on Saturday, February 20, 1913 in the office building of G. Franklin Davis, on the corner of Collings and Richey Avenues.  It opened with a collection of 400 books.

On December 15, 1917 the Carnegie funded library building opened on the present site at 771 Haddon Avenue, at the corner of Haddon and Frazer Avenues.  Only the site had to be purchased by the Borough Commissioners.

The present Collingswood Public Library building was opened on June 7, 1975.

Collingswood Library History Pamphlet (1911-1936)

Library History (excerpt from The Collingswood Bicentennial Book, 1976) 


An ongoing project, our Flickr Stream is a collection of images from the Collingswood Public Library’s New Jersey Collection, along with donations from area volunteers, donors, and historians. Please add comments or tags if you know more about the image than we’ve provided in its description.

A great page to go to if you are looking for images of historical Collingswood. Provides both color and black-and-white photos of various places around Collingswood, as well as past events like the Flag Raising on Labor Day 1906.

The Collings-Knight House is a historical site located on the corner of Collings Avenue and Browning Road. It was built in 1824 by Edward Zane Collings for himself and his widowed sister on farmland that had been passed down within their family since 1682. It is now on the New Jersey Register, as well as the National Register of Historic Places. The website details the building, history, and preservation of the house, as well as future plans for the house and volunteer information.

1. CITY DIRECTORIES: In our NJ Reference collection we have three city directories: 1940 and 1947 Polk’s Camden City Directories, and the 1950 Clark’s Collingswood Directory. In addition, there are the smaller (and very fragile) Polk’s Collingswood City Directories: 1931 – 1932; the 1920-21 Street, Business and General Directory of Collingswood; and Watkinson’s Directory of Collingswood and the extension 1914. In these directories, you can find the name of the owner or tenant, a spouse, his or her profession, and the number of people in the household.  You may also be able to discover if there were multiple units at one address.

2. The Camden County Historical Society at Park Blvd. and Euclid Ave. in Camden, NJ (856-964-3333) has many more City Directories. Their hours are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 10 – 4:30 and Sunday from noon until 3. https://www.cchsnj.org/

3. NJ ROOM COLLECTION — STREET FILES : We have file folders on a number of the streets in town. They have limited information, but it is worth a try to see if there is anything of interest.

4. HISTORICAL SURVEY: There are photos and details about a sampling of the historical homes in town, but generally limited to style of the home with no mention of those who have lived there. There are some photos of the streets too.

5. DEED SEARCH: You may search deeds at City Hall in Camden. County Clerk’s office (856-225-5300), select the prompt for County Property Records. 520 Market St., Rm. 102.
Hours are Monday – Friday, 8:30 – 3:45. Someone will assist you in searching the deeds.

6. There are a number of homes in town that are Sears Kit Homes. If you would like to check to see if your home is one of the models, see here.

7. If you would like to see Sanborn Maps detailing Collingswood and every  other part of New Jersey, Princeton University has a digital collection available online at http://libweb5.princeton.edu/visual_materials/maps/sanborn/sanborn-web.htm

The Camden County Historical Society’s official website provides users with in-depth information about everything from the founding of the Camden County Historical Society (1899) to programs and tours that they host. They also provide access to extensive historical archives.

Camden County College presents this website and uses it to “recognize the role the arts, and local history [have] in making our communities dynamic places to live and work.” The commission goes on to list their central beliefs and purposes, as well as events, programs, locations, and social media links.

An amazing web resource, this links to Gloucester City Library’s digitized version of the First Settlement on the Delaware River, a history of Gloucester City, New Jersey. The page provides individual pdfs that correspond with each chapter of the book, as well as the best way to go about downloading and enjoying the book.

Westmont Scrapbook Postcards from Westmont, NJ from 1910’s-1960’s