Starting on Monday, August 22nd the library will begin an upgrade of the hardware that supports our catalog and several other systems related to our daily operations. Library services will be limited during this time. All upgrades are expeced to be complete by the afternoon of Thursday, August 25th. For complete details on impacted services please click here or call the library at 732-873-8700. We are excited about this upgrade to our operations and look forward to continuing to serve your information and entertainment needs.

The Local History Collection

Search the Collection

To browse a subject in our historical collection pick a subject and click search:

As an alternative enter a search term here and click search:

Types of Material:

The collection is available to all interested persons whenever the Library is open. All the material in the Franklin Township Local History collection is for reference only and may not be checked out. A photocopier is provided in the Library for those who wish to make copies. A microfilm reader/printer is available to read and make copies of the newspapers on microfilm.

  • Books
  • Pamphlets
  • Maps
  • Newspapers. Digital versions of several local newspapers are available from computers at the library.
    • Record (1948-1958)
    • Franklin News (1954-1958)
    • Franklin News-Record (1958-1998)
    • Franklin Focus (1989-1997)
    • Spectator (1992-1998)
    • Strictly Somerset (1994-1997)
  • Photographs
  • Oral history tapes
  • Manuscripts

The New Jersey Collection

The New Jersey Collection contains materials dealing with all aspects of New Jersey life from history to social issues. The collection contains both circulating and non-circulating materials.

To browse a subject in our New Jersey Collection pick a subject and click search:

As an alternative enter a search term here and click search:


Local Genealogy

The following is a list of websites and documents that will aid the researcher in topics related to the genealogy and history of Franklin Township and its surrounding areas.

Click a link below to jump to the corresponding section.

Photograph Collections

Elton Wade Photograph Collection

About the Elton H. L. Wade Photograph Collection

View the Exhibit Elton Wade

Elton H. L. (Henry Lee) Wade was an amateur photographer who lived in the Middlebush area of Franklin Township for most of his life. The collection presented here is a small sample of the over 2,000 photographs taken by Mr. Wade during his lifetime. The collection, in the form of photographic negatives, was donated to the Franklin Township Public Library in 2009 by Mr. Wade's nephew, Robert Zimmermann.

Elton Wade was born on February 11, 1899 in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey. He lived for most of his life in the Middlebush area of Franklin Township, Somerset County, New Jersey. He married Sarah Totten. Mr. Wade worked at the New Brunswick Post Office for 46 years and rose to the position of chief accountant, and later Assistant Postmaster. He died on May 5, 1980 at the age of 81.

Most of the photographs in this collection were taken by Mr. Wade, although some were taken by family and friends. The collection captures images of Mr. Wade's extended family, as well as life in the Franklin Township area. Mr. Wade also took pictures during vacations and travels around New Jersey and nearby states.

Mr. Wade's most notable photograph was undoubtedly the picture he took on a summer day of his three nephews fishing and reclining on the banks of the Delaware & Raritan Canal. He entered that photograph in an Eastman Kodak international photo contest. Mr. Wade won the first prize of $100, representing New Jersey. His photograph appeared in a full-page ad on the back cover of the Saturday Evening Post July 2, 1932 issue.

Mr. and Mrs. Wade lived near many other members of the Wade and Totten families. Elton's older brother G. Harold Wade was married to Sarah's sister Marian Totten Wade. They were also residents of the Middlebush area of Franklin Township. The three boys in Elton's prize-winning photograph were Harold and Marian's children: George H. Wade, Jr., Alan T. Wade, and E. Leslie Wade.

Over time, Library staff will digitize the collection, catalog the photographs, and create exhibits of the photographs for display on the Library's website. Mr. Wade kept meticulous records about most of the photographs he took. He recorded information about the date of the photograph, the subjects, the lighting conditions, and more, and that information will be included in the Library's online exhibit. As additional photographs are added to the online collections, the Library will also provide genealogical information whenever possible to help document the extended family.

The Franklin Township Public Library is delighted to be able to share these photographs that document Mr. Wade's life and that of the Franklin Township community in the early 20th century. Please check back frequently as new photographs will be added monthly!

View the Exhibit

Franklin Township Public Library Photgraph Collection