Danforth Memorial Library

Danforth Memorial Library, also known as the Paterson Free Public Library, is located in Paterson, Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. The library was built in 1905 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 1, 1984.

Danforth Memorial Library
Danforth Memorial Library is located in Passaic County, New Jersey
Danforth Memorial Library
Danforth Memorial Library is located in New Jersey
Danforth Memorial Library
Danforth Memorial Library is located in the United States
Danforth Memorial Library
Location250 Broadway, Paterson, New Jersey
Coordinates40°55′5″N 74°9′52″W / 40.91806°N 74.16444°W / 40.91806; -74.16444Coordinates: 40°55′5″N 74°9′52″W / 40.91806°N 74.16444°W / 40.91806; -74.16444
Area1.5 acres (0.61 ha)
ArchitectHenry Bacon
Architectural styleClassical Revival
NRHP reference No.84002782[1]
NJRHP No.2371[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPMarch 1, 1984
Designated NJRHPJanuary 4, 1983

The Library houses the city's art collection, mostly of painting 19th century paintings donated to the city.[3][4]


The Paterson Free Public Library was established in 1885. It is the oldest public library in New Jersey, and citizens of Paterson created it. Danforth Memorial Library is the current location of the main library branch, and is located at 250 Broadway after the Great Fire of 1902 destroyed the first two libraries. Mary Elizabeth Danforth Ryle funded the historical building in memory of her father, Charles Danforth, a leading industrialist in Paterson. By 1995, there were three (3) additional library branches in the Paterson Public Library system. These branches are the Totowa Branch, Southside Branch, and Northside Branch. Danforth Memorial Library opened the Community Learning Center in 1986, and it has increased its African American and Spanish language collection. Thanks to the Philippine ambassador to the United States, a Filipino collection has been established in this branch. In 2002, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated 35 computers.[5] The Danforth Memorial Library is a member of the PALS Plus consortium.[6]


The Danforth Memorial Library architecture is described as Classical Revival. It is a two-story building with four monumental columns made with gray limestone material on a granite foundation.[7] It was designed by Henry Bacon, who also designed the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.[5] The property owner is the Board of Library Trustees of the City of Paterson.[7] In 2020, the Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, granted $734,812 to rehabilitate the historic landmark; this fund came from the Library Construction Bond Act. According to the library administration, the rehabilitation project will cost $1,469,624; the current mayor, André Sayegh, and his administration need to cover the matching amount. The rehabilitation project consists of renovating the Children's Department and the Community Literacy Center, modifying the elevator to American with Disabilities standards, replacing the library's roof, and repairing the retaining wall.[8]


As of March 2022, the Paterson Free Public Library director is Corey Fleming.[5]

Board of Library Trustees of the City of Paterson.Edit

As of March 2022:

  • Herman Irving, Alt to Superintendent
  • Debra Bracy, Mayor’s Alternate
  • Errol Kerr
  • Tracy Pearson
  • Irene Sterling, Secretary/Treasurer
  • Derya Taskin, Vice-President
  • Charisse Taylor
  • Dennis Vroegindewey
  • André Sayegh, Mayor
  • Eileen Shafer, School Superintendent


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places - Passaic County" (PDF). New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection - Historic Preservation Office. April 1, 2010. p. 19. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 19, 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
  3. ^ http://www.northjersey.com/news/passaic_morris/Paterson_looking_to_promote_its_16M_art_collection.html?c=y&page=2[bare URL]
  4. ^ http://www.northjersey.com/news/education/the-name-dropper-library-bears-industrialist-s-name-thanks-to-daughter-1.1292088[bare URL]
  5. ^ a b c d "Paterson Free Public Library". patersonpl.org. Retrieved 2022-03-19.
  6. ^ "Member Libraries | PALS Plus NJ". www.palsplus.org. Retrieved 2022-03-20.
  7. ^ a b National Register of Historic Places Inventory—Nomination Form. (1984). United States Department off the Interior National Park Service. https://npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/0f592bbf-0354-4642-a5c1-aaf2de98a882
  8. ^ Rahman, J. (2020, November 24). Paterson gets almost $735,000 to repair Danforth Memorial Library. Paterson Times. https://patersontimes.com/2020/11/24/paterson-gets-almost-735000-to-repair-danforth-memorial-library/