The Kellenberger Room houses the Local History and Genealogy Collection of the New Bern-Craven County Public Library. The room is named in memory of May Gordon Latham Kellenberger. Mrs. Kellenberger was instrumental in the restoration of Tryon Palace, and upon her death, she left a large trust fund to finance local history projects in New Bern and Craven County. It was with funds from the Kellenberger Foundation that this room was built and furnished in a remodeling project completed in 1992. Materials in the collection consist of books, microfilm, photographs, vertical files, oral histories, and online databases.
The Kellenberger Room collects books that are fundamental to the study of local history for New Bern and Craven County. We also collect books about the counties surrounding Craven County, as many of those counties were formed from Craven County.
Genealogy books concentrate on Eastern North Carolina and Tidewater Virginia, though there are some materials on other areas. In addition, the library contains hundreds of books about individual families and on the records of specific counties.
Microfilmed materials comprise a large part of our collection. In dealing with local history, the newspapers present a wealth of information about the culture and times in which they were written. The first newspaper printed in North Carolina was printed in New Bern, and the library has on microfilm some of those early newspapers. The newspaper collection contains newspapers from New Bern dated from 1751 to the present, with some years missing.
Microfilmed genealogical materials include census records and county records. County records include such items as court minutes, deeds, wills, and estate papers. The counties we concentrate our microfilm collecting around are Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico, and Pitt.
Photographs and Vertical Files
The Photographic Archives houses numerous photographs of Craven County and New Bern. Some of these photographs are copies of originals housed in institutions around the country, such as the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the State Archives, and several universities. Other photographs are copies of originals loaned to the library for the Photographic Archives. The library contains a small number of original photographs. Some of these original photographs have been scanned and placed on the Craven County Digital History exhibit.
The Vertical Files contain clippings from newspapers and magazines, as well as uncatalogued pamphlets and booklets. Most of the materials deal with New Bern and Craven County. There are also a few genealogical files of family names associated with New Bern and Craven County. A listing of the vertical files (updated July 2017) available in the Kellenberger Room is available as a PDF file.
The New Bern-Craven County Public Library houses a major collection of oral interviews: "The Memories of New Bern". The Memories of New Bern is a collection that contains hundreds of hours of taped interviews, and typed transcripts of those interviews, of New Bernians discussing life when they were growing up. Topics include downtown living, racial relations, the Great Fire of 1922, and other interesting topics.
The library also houses oral interviews conducted by the James City Historical Society that cover African-American life in Craven County; interviews conducted by Duke University in the Behind the Veil Project; and interviews conducted during the African American Voices Between Two Rivers Oral History Project.
Remote access to HeritageQuest Online is available, thanks to NC LIVE. You will need the current NC LIVE password for access (your CPC Library Card Number). Follow the above link to the Remote Access link to HeritageQuest.
NC LIVE also allows access to Historic North Carolina Digital Newspaper Collection, a collection of 3.5 million pages of digitized content from over 1,000 NC county newspapers.
The library also subscribes to Ancestry Library Edition (in-house use only) and Fold3 Library Edition (in-house and remote use).