About the Document & Map Archives

The Document and Map Archives

The Document and Map Archives contain local copies of curated resources focused on Hopewell Valley history, organized by the type of material. The Book and Map Index pages each have a table listing the available resources for that type.

See also Property Reports for documentation on specific properties.

The Archives include historic materials, typically over 100 years old (pre 1920) and out of copyright, plus public materials such as municipal tax maps. Some of these materials have been digitized and shared by organizations including the Library of Congress and university libraries. Others have been manually photographed or scanned as part of this project.

The goal is to provide readable materials that are easy to download and view. As a result, they are reduced in size as possible to still be readable, and interesting sub-sections are extracted as separate files (e.g., for specific boroughs). The focus is on readable materials, not the highest-quality scan. The goal is to make accessing the files on this site over the Web as reasonable as possible. Follow the links to the original sources to access the full files, and for additional information on the materials.

When researching physical documents in various archives, it is not possible to make high-quality scans of what are often old and damaged and curled papers. Instead, the images are captured as possible on site by hand-held cameras, in relatively uncontrolled lighting, and from side angles. These images then are manually improved by image processing, especially by straightening the angles and cropping extraneous materials off the side (but not with extensive image enhancements). The result is intended to be readable, and useful for understanding the information available from the document in question.

About the Reference Guides

The main Index pages for the Document and Map Archives contain Reference Guides that are intended to help start exploring a new area, addressing key questions including “what kinds of maps are available?” and “what are the basic books on local history?” Then they help dig deeper into a topic or interest by providing links to other materials and sources.

The Guides are provided as printable PDF files, and include Galleries with images and catalogs of available sources and materials, Chronologies with listings of all the materials in the archives (plus other interesting related material) with additional information, and Source Guides with references (especially digital).

About the Document Archives

The Document Archives includes historic books from the mid 1800’s and early 1900’s and other types of documents.

See also the Document Collection viewer for a simpler list of the available documents (and About the History Project Collections).

The documents are grouped into different types:

  • Books – Book-length publications – Histories, unpublished manuscripts, Atlases, etc.
  • Pamphlets – Brochures / flyers – Distributed for events (dedications, anniversaries) or organizations (church, school, fire dept.), etc.
  • Reports – Professional formal reports, often government-sponsored – Site Survey, Master Plan, National Register Nomination, etc.
  • Notes – Articles (published) or historical investigations
  • Briefs – Investigations for the History Project site – Histories of local organizations, areas, timelines, etc.

The historic documents are selected because they have significant coverage of local history, communities, and people. See the Reference Guides for more information on other local documents, and on sources for researching documents.

The historic documents typically are more than one hundred years old, and therefore are out of copyright in the U.S.

Some of the books have been scanned and digitized by Google Books scans or the Internet Archive scanning project. The books typically are scanned from university collections, and then made available as free downloads, in PDF, plain text, and /or various eBook formats. Other books have been manually scanned as part of this project.

However, the book scanning process is focused on rapid capture of the book contents into a PDF file, and not on creating a packaged book. As a result, the scanned PDFs typically are further manually processed to clean up extraneous pages, organized to provide a clean structure to the book, analyzed with OCR to produce an associated text layer to search and copy, and then reduced in size as possible. Companion copies of the book in plain text also may be provided for quick searching and copying, albeit with OCR scanning errors.

The site also includes “Preview” versions of various books (including more recent books) that have not been digitized. Instead, the previews provide an overview of the book, including the cover, title page, contents, and introductory material.

Click the Source link in the table for more information on the book and to find other versions.

The resulting book PDF files can range from around 4 MB for basic books in grayscale to 10 MB for longer titles, to 120 MB for a large atlas with detailed color maps. These larger files are annotated with the size in the listings, since they will load slowly, so it is typically best to directly download them and then view them locally.

About the Map Archives

The Map Archives section of the Hopewell Valley History Project site includes three different types of maps – Historic maps of the region, Municipal maps (e.g., tax maps), and Aerial photographs.

See also the Map Collection viewer for a simpler list of the available documents (and About the History Project Collections).

The maps are grouped into different types:

  • Historic maps – include early maps of New Jersey back to 1700, official state maps from the first half of the 1800’s, Mercer County from the mid 1800’s, and town maps from the late 1800’s (including aerial panoramas and fire maps). The pre-1920 maps are out of copyright in the U.S. They typically have been digitized and shared by the Library of Congress and various universities.
  • Municipal maps – include official township and borough government maps (e.g., Tax and Zoning Maps) from around 1915. These are public property, created by various levels of government, and either shared by the government or manually photographed at government archives. 
  • Aerial maps – can be from government projects or archives, or are available commercially.

These maps are selected to help show the development of the local area over time, in terms of roads and settlements, and properties in the communities. See the Reference Guides for more information on other local maps, and on sources for researching maps.

Single maps are posted as JPEG images, for one-click viewing and optional downloading. Map sets such as municipal tax maps are packaged into a single larger PDF file for viewing or download. Some collections such as aerial images with supporting documents are packaged into ZIP files for download.

Larger original Map image files are typically reduced in size for more convenient viewing (to around 2000×2000 to 4000×4000 pixel resolution, or 2 to 4 MB in size). These still retain enough resolution to read the annotations on the map. In the case of a high-res map of a large area such as New Jersey or Mercer County, additional map images of smaller regions such as the township or boroughs also are manually extracted by cropping sections from the high-res original. PDF files can be larger (10 – 20 MB), but still reasonable to download and view online.

Click the Source link for more information on the map and to access the full-size original.

For maps that are only available from commercial or restricted sources, any image used for this site is a lower-res preview image as displayed by the source site, which also may be watermarked. Contact the source if desired to obtain high-res versions or prints.

Using the Archive Tables

The Document and Map Archives uses table to display rows of information about the currently available files or posts. This can be the full list of all available files, or a subset of the list by the material Type (e.g., Municipal Maps) or Town. Since the full lists can be long, the table breaks up the lists into pages, which you then can step through, or search, sort, and filter for specific entries.

  • To View an Entry in a Row
    • Click the View image thumbnails (left column) to view/download the full image/document.
    • Click the Title text to see a more detailed description of the entry. Click the thumbnail in the description page to view the full entry.
    • Click the Source abbreviation link (right column) to open the web page for the original source, with more information.
  • To Scroll thorough Entries
    • Select the Show drop-down to specify the number of entries to show on each page of the table.
    • Use the Page list to select the Previous / Next page, or a specific page number.
    • Click Reset to remove any table settings and return to the original display.
Archives Table
Archives Filters – Type & Town
  • To Find Entries in the Table
    • Click the column headers to sort by the column value, ascending or descending (e.g., Type, Town, Year, Title, Source).
    • Click the Types Filter drop-down to show only entries with the selected Type and subtype, or all (e.g., all Docs, all Maps, or just Maps > Historic).
    • Click the Town Filter drop-down to show only entries for the selected Town (area) or all (e.g., all Towns, or just HwTwp).
    • Type in the Search field to show only entries with matching text in the fields (e.g., “Fire”, “Tax”, or “184” for 1840’s).
    • Click Reset to remove any table settings and return to the original display.

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