Raritan's Historical Archives Project
The Raritan Library and this author are together digitizing
Raritan’s historical photos and other documents.

This collection, in addition to photos, will include newspapers, letters, books, maps, and more.

As these documents and photos are digitized the public will be able to view them on the
internet at www.raritan-online.com and
on a terminal in the soon to be built community room at the Raritan Library.
What specifically will be in this collection?

World War II Letters –
During World War II Raritan soldiers wrote over 600 letters home
to Raritan Tavern Owner Tony Orlando.
These letters thanked him for the packages that he had been
sending them and told of their wartime experiences.

This part of the project is complete!

Now all 600 letters can be found online at
www.raritan-online.com and in binders in the Basilone Museum at the Raritan Library.

Click to see letters - all 600 letters online for the first time

Click for "highlights" of letters - (article from 2012)

Historical Photos
Previously scattered about collections of photos of Raritan will be
consolidated, scanned, and categorized.
From (approximately) 1936 – 1951 Raritan had its own newspaper called The Raritan Valley News.
While we have many issues of this newspaper, many others we do not have.
So we are asking the public if they have any old copies of this newspaper.
Even a single newspaper from a missing year would be a valuable addition.
We have all The Raritan Valley News newspapers from the years:
1937, 1945, 1946, 1948, 1950
But we are missing all the issues from the years:
1936, 1938 through 1944, 1949, 1951

When the project is complete, in addition to the newspapers being online and on a terminal,
copies of these newspapers will be in a set of binders at the Raritan Library.
Books –
Some Raritan books are scheduled to be put online soon. They include:
“The First History of Raritan” by Don Esposito
“A Friendly Town of Friendly People” by Eleanor Barrett
“Raritan’s Finest Hour – The Story of Raritan During World War II” by Bruce Doorly
“Raritan’s Hero” – The John Basilone Story by Bruce Doorly
Eulogies –
This collection will indeed consist of a variety of things.

Deacon John Pacifico of St. Ann’s has given dozens of Eulogies
of prominent Raritan people over the years.

The written versions of these survive today and we feel
these tributes should not sit a filing cabinet.
Maps -
did you know that there are maps of
Raritan from 1860, 1873, 1891 and 1943.
These will be online soon.
For this project we are asking the Raritan Senior Citizens to go through
their old photos to see if they have a few photos that would be good for the collection.
And we are asking the children and friends of the Raritan Senior Citizens to encourage them
to go through their photos and help them copy (or scan) and deliver the photos to us.

Appropriate photos would be of Raritan’s buildings such as churches, stores, taverns, or factories.
Photos from special events are certainly welcome – such as any St. Rocco Celebrations,
the 1943 Basilone Welcome Home Parade, and other events.
Any prominent Raritan people should also have their photo in the archive.
In this digital era precious historical photos should not hide in one person’s scrapbook,
but be available on the internet for all to see.

Those who have photos/newspapers for this collection can pass them to the collectors
by whichever methods they are most comfortable with.

Computer savoy users can email photos to bdoorly@verizon.net.
Photos / Newspapers can also be brought to the Raritan Library.
Friends of Peter Vitelli can call him at (908) 722-6017 to arrange pickup.
Friends of John Pacifico can drop things off at his house.
While originals will be returned, those donating photos should try to give copies.
Volunteers Wanted
There are over 6000 newspaper pages that need to be scanned in.
For this project the Raritan Library has a work area setup
with a new computer and a large (11 * 17 ) scanner.
We are looking for volunteers with computer skills to come
to the library to help scan in some of these newspaper pages.

Software Expert Wanted
After the newspaper pages are scanned in an index and table of contents needs to be created.
Hundreds of newspaper issues online are not very useful
without an ability to search for a particular topic or name.
Anyone who has experience in OCR “Optical Character Recognition” Software who would like
to serve as a consultant for this project please contact Bruce Doorly at bdoorly@verizon.net.
This is an exciting project for Raritan.

The sign as you enter the town says “Historic and Patriotic” and this author,
along with the Raritan Library, is confident that all of us will come together and donate
both photos/documents and time to see this wonderful project through to completion.