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Manuscript Collections


Collection 40

William B. Bamford (c. 1878 - 1945)

Collection, 1876 - 1945 



Processed by Lois R. Densky

Edited by Gregory J. Plunges

Monmouth County Historical Association
70 Court Street
Freehold, New Jersey 07728

August 1981


The William B. Bamford Collection, also known as the Bamford Historical Collection, is a subject collection regarding the history and development of Belmar, a resort community on the New Jersey shore. The collector, William Brokow Bamford (ca. 1878 - 1945 April 10), the son of Charles Youmans Bamford (1848 - 1915) and Catherine Jane Exton, was born in Trenton. A graduate of Princeton University (1896 - 1900), he was an architect, consulting engineer, and writer, who formed his own company in 1907. Mr. Bamford was a veteran of the Spanish-American War and World War I.

Mr. Bamford's association with Belmar, NJ was a long and well regarded one. He was prominent in the Borough's civic and political affairs, and held a variety of town positions. These positions included: board of trustee member of the Belmar Free Public Library (1913), Belmar Borough Council member (1915 - 1916), Tree Shade Commission member (1918 - 1919), Belmar Board of Trade member, and Mayor of Belmar (1920 - 1923). As mayor, he developed a system for the arrangement and retrieval of the Borough's public records. His activities in Belmar always reflected his desire to promote the Borough as a premier summer resort.

Mr. Bamford was a noted authority on building contracts and specifications, and his technical writing reflected this expertise. He participated in a variety of professional organizations. His research in local history and family genealogy not only culminated in the creation of the Bamford Historical Collection, but also resulted in manuscripts on the Bamford, Disborough, Covert, Johnstone, and Heathcote families.

In 1872, when some members of the Ocean Grove Association decided that that community was becoming too crowded, the bought land south of Avon. They incorporated as the Ocean Beach Association in 1873. They developed this property as a summer resort, which was reincorporated in 1890 as the Borough of Belmar. Belmar continues today as a summer recreation area for the people of New Jersey.




The William B. Bamford Collection contains the record of the collection in the Belmar Public Library, some personal papers, reports, newspaper clippings, and a large group of photographs. History and biography books, pamphlets, maps and postcards, which were a part of the original collection, are still on deposit at the Belmar Public Library. The bulk dates of the collection are from 1890 to 1945.

This collection will be extremely useful to researchers concerned with the problems of beach erosion and jetty construction. The reports and photographs extensively document this important Monmouth County subject area. Other material helps document the history and development of Belmar.

Collections housed at the Monmouth County Historical Association which relate to these papers include the Yard Collection, the James A. Bradley Papers, and the Morris Collection. As noted above, a part of the collection is located at Belmar Public Library. Related material which concerns William B. Bamford will be found at Princeton University. These include letters from William H. Goodyear and Bamford's manuscript notebooks entitled, "Random Scientific Notes Seeking the Essentials in Place and Space." Mr. Bamford's genealogical manuscripts are located at the New Jersey Historical Society.



1. Record of the Bamford Historical Collection in the Belmar Public Library, 1917 - 1937

This is a typed manuscript copy which provides the early provenance record of this collection. It includes a listing of documents and maps which are located at the Belmar Public Library.


2. Personal Papers, 1940 - 1945
Arranged chronologically

Series contains miscellaneous research notes and, of note, a probated copy of Bamford's will which also provides information on the provenance of this collection.


3. Reports, 1921 - 1940
Arranged chronologically

Series consists of typed preliminary manuscripts by Bamford and others which include: "Index to Minutes of Borough of Belmar and Ocean Beach Association from 1872 to 1921", "Proceedings ... Sept. 26, 1926... Concerning Shore Protection at Belmar and Elsewhere", "Coastal Restabilization and Rebuilding or Protecting at Belmar ... " (Pt. I & II), and two copies of "Over Sixty Years and its Aftermath in Belmar..."


4. Newspaper Clippings, 1876 - 1945
Scrapbook placed first, then loose clippings arranged chronologically

Series contains a scrapbook of clippings entitled, "Historical Data Concerning Belmar, NJ" compiled by WB Bamford, and miscellaneous clippings. The 1945 clipping is a copy of his obituary notice.


5. Photographs, 1890 - 1942, n.d.
Arranged first by size or form, then chronologically

Extensive series which illustrates Belmar people, places, events, and houses. Most photographs document storm damage and beach erosion. Some photographs are of Sea Girt, NJ. Some illustrations are photographs of maps, plans, blueprints, and surveys. There are a few map negatives. The majority of photographs are dated and identified.



Restrictions: None.

Size of Collection: 1.5 Linear Feet



Box # / Folder # / Contents

1 / 1 / Record of the Bamford Historical Collection in the Belmar Public Library, 1917 - 1937

1 / 2 / Personal Papers, 1940 - 1945

1 / 3 / Newspaper Clippings, 1876 - 1945

1 / 3 / Report - "Index...", 1921

1 / 3 / Report - "Proceedings...", 1926

1 / 3 / Report - "Coastal...", Pt. I (ca. 1926?)

1 / 3 / Report - "Coastal...", Pt. II (ca. 1926?)

2 / - / Report - "Over Sixty...", 1940 (2 copies)

2 / 1 / Photographs, 1938

2 / 2 / Photographs, 1939, n.d.

3 / - / Photograph Scrapbooks, 1921 - 1932

4 / - / Photographs, 1890 - 1942, n.d.



1. Holmes, Frank R., ed. History of Monmouth County, New Jersey 1664 - 1920. V. II. NY: Lewis Publishing Co., 1922

2. "Obituary Notice" Asbury Park Press 1945 April 11

3. Wilson, Harold F. The New Jersey Shore... V. I & II. Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1953



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This page last updated 14 July 2008.

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This website was funded by the Marion Huber Trust

Museum & Library, 70 Court Street Freehold, NJ 07728
Monmouth County Historical Association received a general operating grant from the the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.
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