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The City of Dreams: The Atlantic City Experience

The Atlantic City Heritage Collections Digital Repository

City of Dreams is the first stage in creating “The Atlantic City Heritage Collections Digital Repository,” providing a new level of online access to the library’s extensive archival collections. This new project greatly improves research services for residents, students, teachers, authors, archivists and researchers throughout the world. The City of Dreams: the Atlantic City Experience project was been made possible in large part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.

The Atlantic City Heritage Collections staff digitized 25 African-American collections as part of the “The City of Dreams: The Atlantic City Experience” project. The library received a grant of $122,957 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to implement the project and create the digital repository.

As part of City of Dreams project, the library’s Heritage Collections staff added approximately 12,000 items and 4,800 photographs to the digital repository. The digital repository also includes collections of videos, audio, scrapbooks and artifacts on an internet platform for unlimited access. It will be available to the public beginning Oct. 17, 2022 at the library website.

Alma Fay Horn

1940’s. Alma Fay Horn Photograph Collection. Ruth Brown performing with band.

The first collection in the new repository focuses on the African-American community.

Beginning in the 1870s, African-Americans were attracted in significant numbers to fill hotel recreation jobs in Atlantic City. By the late 1800s, 95% of the hotel workforce was African-Americans. By 1915, they represented 27% of the population that resided on the “other side of the track” which was also known as “The Northside.” In response to the insensitivity and discriminatory practices imposed by the institutions and residents on the Southside, the Northside residents’ established churches, social organizations and agencies, and businesses to serve the varied needs of the African-American community and as result provided a vibrant social and cultural life that still thrives today.

- Excerpt from Dr. Richlyn Goddard Papers, “The Other Side of the Boardwalk: The African American Experience in Atlantic City, N.J. 1880 to 1940”


Bacharach Giants of Atlantic City, a Negro league baseball team

The Bacharach Giants were a Negro league baseball team that played in Atlantic City, New Jersey (1916 – 1929). The Bacharachs became a top independent team within a few years, featuring shortstop Dick Lundy, third baseman Oliver Marcell, and pitchers Dick Redding and Jesse "Nip" Winters. John Henry ‘Pop’ Lloyd was a coach for the Giants in the 1920s.