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Atlantic City History: Atlantic City History

Using primary and secondary sources, discover more about Atlantic City's unique history and heritage.

Archival and Research Collections

Primary source materials for research, as well as secondary sources, are part of the library's Atlantic City Heritage Collections. Some of the materials can be found by searching the library catalog. Ask the Atlantic City Heritage Collections staff for assistance in determining what materials will inform your research.

Archival Collections list

Use the Atlantic City Heritage Collections

If you are interested in doing historical research about Atlantic City, consider using the Atlantic City Free Public Library's Atlantic City Heritage Collections.

Because some of the items in the collection are fragile or irreplaceable, the Alfred M. Heston Research Room is a closed-stack area with access provided only by Library personnel by appointment only. Researchers must register and present a form of photo identification to see materials. Researchers must also agree to follow certain rules for the use of archival materials, which will be explained when the researcher arrives.

To request an appointment, contact the Atlantic City Heritage Collections staff by email or phone at least 1 business day in advance and receive confirmation of the appointment before arriving.

Premium eResources

Heritage QuestHeritage Quest: See Atlantic City information for United States Population Census returns, and electronic books and periodicals genealogy research. Requires a valid Atlantic City Free Public Library card to access from outside the Library building.

Newsbank: full-text newspaper articles from The Press of Atlantic City (1988-present) and The Philadelphia Inquirer (1981-present). This database is only available inside the Library building.

The Online Local News Index (OLNI) is published by the Atlantic City Free Public Library and is continuously updated. Full-text of the articles is NOT available through the index. If you would like to see the full-text of an article, please visit the Library to use the microfilm collections, print resources, or NewsBank.

Books - General Histories of Atlantic City

Atlantic City Experience

Visit the Atlantic City Experience at Boardwalk Hall to learn more about the rich history and heritage of this one-of-a-kind seaside resort. 

The Atlantic City Experience® is a project of The Atlantic City Free Public Library, a service of the City of Atlantic City. The Atlantic City Experience encompasses the best historical and cultural resources of Atlantic City. From diving horses to dancing girls, from the Boardwalk to the Northside, from casinos to churches, from Prohibition to the present, Atlantic City, New Jersey is a unique American city with a rich history. This website presents virtual exhibits and information. The Atlantic City Experience includes the extensive resources contained in the Atlantic City Heritage Collections of the Atlantic City Free Public Library.  This collection contains books, photographs, postcards, audio, video, digital files and memorabilia about the history of Atlantic City, New Jersey. 

Visit the new Atlantic City Experience at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall.

DVDs - Atlantic City History

These movies are available for checking out. Other movies - historical documentaries, biographies and for entertainment - can be found by searching the library catalog. Some of the movies are only available in the library's Heston Room in the Atlantic City Heritage Collections.