City of Dreams: The Atlantic City Experience blog

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Thank you for visiting our blog about a new Atlantic City Free Public Library project, "City of Dreams: The Atlantic City Experience." The library received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to implement this project, which will focus on digitizing the library’s Atlantic City Heritage Collections related specifically to African American history in the city. Click here to read our announcement about the project.

Please continue to visit this blog as we provide updates leading up to the fall 2022, when we will unveil the project to the public.

The City of Dreams: the Atlantic City Experience project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.

Noteworthy thank youDamone2
Thursday, Dec. 22, 2021

Kate Rowland, the Digital Archives Assistant, scanned an interesting item the other day. It is a typed letter from singer Vic Damone to Mayor James Usry. He is thanking Mayor Usry for officiating his wedding to actress Diahann Carroll.

It is dated January 20, 1987, and signed by Damone and Carroll. This letter, as well as many other items from this collection, will be uploaded in the Library’s digital repository.

Dear Mayor Usry:

     We wish to thank you for officiating at our wedding on January 3rd and for sharing with us the solemnity and happiness of the occasion.

Diahann and Vic Damone

First items scannedJacqueline Silver Morillo and Kate Rowland

Friday, Dec. 16, 2021

A day after receiving the new scanner, staff began scanning the first African American collection as part of this project: the Mayor James L. Usry Collection. More than 33 boxes on the history of Atlantic City’s first Black Mayor, the Usry Collection entails his speeches, photographs, certificates and plaques, memorabilia, laws written, scrapbooks, videos and many more items.

Mayor Usry was elected in 1984 and served two terms. During his tenure, he led a redevelopment project in the Northeast Inlet, and created many daycare centers, housing complexes and youth centers throughout the city. He used his position as mayor to fight for the housing, education and health of the community, standing up to the wealthy casino and hotel owners whose interests usually seemed to count for more than those of the city's residents.

Pictured are Library Archivist Jacqueline Silver Morillo (foreground) and Digital Archives Assistant Kate Rowland (background).

Scanner unboxingUnboxing 12.15.21

Thursday, Dec. 15, 2021

Image Access visited the Main Library to unbox and instruct the library’s archival staff on how to use the new ScanTastik Bookeye 5 V2 Book Scanner that was acquired for this project. The book scanner will allow staff to scan books, photographs, scrapbooks, 3-D objects, maps, and other items of the 30-plus African American collections that will appear in the digital repository.