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Finding aid for the New Jersey Fisheries Development Commission Laboratory records, 1976, 1984-1995

Finding aid for the New Jersey Fisheries Development Commission Laboratory records, 1976, 1984-1995

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Finding aid for the New Jersey Fisheries Development Commission Laboratory Records

Lionel A. Walford Library
James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory
NOAA Fisheries
74 Magruder Road
Sandy Hook, New Jersey
Phone: (732) 872-3035


Profile Description

Creation: Machine-readable finding aid created by Angela Cook. Machine-readable finding aid derived from MS Word. Date of source: December 7, 2015.
Language: Finding aid written in: English

Descriptive Summary

RepositoryLionel A. Walford Library.
CreatorGrant, George C. 1929-2005, (George Clifford)
TitleFinding Aid for the New Jersey Fisheries Development Commission Laboratory records
Bulk Dates(1987-1991)
Collection Size4.5 linear feet (about 31 items and 106 files; 3 boxes).
AbstractThe collection consists of materials related to oversight of the site location, funding, construction, and leasing of the James J. Howard Laboratory buildings at its Sandy Hook, New Jersey location by George C. Grant, Executive Director of the New Jersey Fisheries Development Commission.
Collection numberpub_c_00300
Physical locationRare Book and Special Collection Room, Lionel A. Walford Library, James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory. Access via appointment.
Languages Languages represented in the collection: English


The Collection is arranged into three series: Series I: Files, 1976, 1984-1995; Series II: Printed Materials, 1986-1991; and Series III: Audiocassettes, n.d. Folders are organized alphabetically. Folder titles were assigned by Mr. Grant.

Scope and Content of Collection

The New Jersey Fisheries Development Commission Laboratory Records, 1976, 1984-1995 collection chiefly consists of correspondence. Additional items within the collection include notes, spreadsheets, proposals, press clippings, architectural drawings and schematics, reports and studies, one audiocassette, and other records pertaining to the Laboratory funding, design and construction.

The materials were sorted into three series: Project Files, 1976, 1984-1995 (Series 1); Printed Materials, 1986-1991 (Series 2); and Audiocassettes, n.d. (Series 3);

Files were filed alphabetically according to the folder titles assigned by Mr. Grant. A few folders were assigned titles by the Library when the adhesive label with the file title was missing from the folder. Assigned titles for folders filed in Box 1 are noted by brackets. Please note that all of the items in Box 2 were assigned titles and thus brackets were not deemed necessary. Items within Series 2 were filed according to date of issue or publication.

The only items removed from the collection were from the box containing loose files. There were multiple copies of individual items and these items were discarded. These items may have been part of a folder handout, but the Library was not able to determine use or intent because of the general disarray of the files within that particular box.

Organizations prominently featured in the Collection include Beyer Blinder Belle, Architects & Planners; National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration; National Park Service; New Jersey Division of Building and Construction; New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium; Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; and Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Within the collection, some notable persons with whom Mr. Grant corresponded and/or held correspondence include Governor Thomas Kean; Representative Frank Pallone; Representative James J. Howard; Senator Bill Bradley; and Senator Frank R. Lautenberg.

The materials in the collection span from 1976, 1984 to 1993, though the bulk of the material is from the years 1987-1991.

Biography / Administrative History

Dedicated September 1961, the Sandy Hook Marine Laboratory was the first Federal scientific laboratory devoted solely to research on marine recreational species. The original Laboratory campus was located on Officer's Row in the historic Fort Hancock section of Sandy Hook and overlooked the Sandy Hook Bay. The campus consisted of a three-story building that was once an Army hospital and three adjoining structures. The Laboratory was incorporated into the new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1970.

In September 1985, the Sandy Hook Laboratory was destroyed by arson. Most of the scientists' equipment, research files and documentation, as well as an extensive library were lost. The Laboratory staff relocated to temporary trailers or used space provided by the National Park Service to continue their work as NOAA investigated different proposals to move the Laboratory and its staff to Rhode Island or Delaware. Strong local, State, and Congressional support coalesced under the administration of Governor Kean with a proposal to retain the location in New Jersey. In September 1987, NOAA accepted the New Jersey proposal. While other New Jersey sites, such as Belford, had been under consideration, Sandy Hook was ultimately selected as the site for the new Laboratory. This plan involved the construction of a new 35,000 square foot Laboratory building with experimental seawater laboratories and the renovation of Building 74, a 38,000 square foot building that once served as Army barracks.

The Sandy Hook proposal for the Laboratory was spearheaded by the New Jersey Fisheries Development Commission, which coordinated the efforts of the various parties that pledged financial contributions for rebuilding the Laboratory. The State of New Jersey was the primary source of funds for the construction; it issued a construction bond for over eleven million dollars. A twenty-year lease was signed with NOAA to correspond with the bond maturation. This arrangement provided the funds for repayment of the bond, as well as Laboratory maintenance without placing undue financial burden on NOAA. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey also contributed $6.5 million for the Laboratory construction.

The land upon which the Laboratory building was constructed and Building 74 was renovated are within the National Park Service Sandy Hook Unit of the National Gateway Recreation Area. Public Law 100-515 authorized the Secretary of the Interior to enter into a ground lease with the State of New Jersey. The August 1991 lease expires in August 2090 and authorized the State to construct the Laboratory building and renovate Building 74 for "any marine science research purpose, including, but not limited to, research facilities, aquariums, laboratories and marine libraries." An additional constraint was the requirement for a design that was consistent with the character of the historic district Fort Hancock. The architectural firm of Beyer, Blinder and Belle Architects and Planners was selected to design the new Laboratory building and renovation of Building 74.

A groundbreaking for the project was held on October 11, 1989. At the ceremony, the Laboratory was renamed after the late James J. Howard, U.S. Representative of New Jersey's 3rd District, who led the political effort to support the Laboratory rebuilding in New Jersey. The construction of the Laboratory building was completed in 1993 and the renovation of Building 74 was completed in 1994. The completion of the Laboratory building was celebrated at an October 18, 1993 dedication ceremony. The approximate cost of the project was nineteen million dollars.

The unique challenge of designing a marine laboratory that meets technical, environmental and safety requirements and adheres to the design of a historic district, while coordinating and meeting the needs of various funders and stakeholders was the responsibility of the New Jersey Fisheries Development Commission and was undertaken chiefly by George C. Grant, its Executive Director.

The New Jersey Fisheries Development Commission was launched on June 28, 1984 by Executive Order no. 75. The Commission was tasked with fostering "economic growth and development while insuring the protection and maintenance of the commercial fishing industry in New Jersey" and "cooperation and coordination with the various State and Federal agencies and private industry in New Jersey." In 2010, the no longer active Commission was terminated by order of Governor Christie.

George C. Grant was appointed as the Executive Director of the Commission in September 1985. He was instrumental in the preparation of the New Jersey proposal to NOAA. After the proposal was accepted, Mr. Grant was stationed at Sandy Hook and oversaw all aspects of the project, including architectural design, construction, and budget. When Mr. Grant left the Commission in either 1990 or 1991 he was retained by the State as a consultant for the project to ensure continuity.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

Beyer Blinder Belle, Architects &Planners.
Fisheries -- Economic aspects -- New Jersey.
Fort Hancock (N.J.) -- Buildings structures, etc.
Grant, George C. (George Clifford), 1929-2005.
James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory.
Marine laboratories -- Finance.
Marine laboratories -- History.
Marine laboratories -- New Jersey.
New Jersey Fisheries Development Commission.
Northeast Fisheries Science Center (U.S.)
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Sandy Hook Laboratory
Sandy Hook Marine Laboratory
United States. National Park Service



There are no access restrictions to the New Jersey Fisheries Development Commission Laboratory Records, 1976, 1984-1995. However, to access the collection, an appointment must be scheduled with the Librarian. Items within the collection that are public domain and which do not contain confidential or sensitive information can also be digitized upon request.

Publication Rights

Restrictions may apply.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

New Jersey Fisheries Development Commission Laboratory records. pub_c_00300. Lionel A. Walford Library, Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Acquisition Information

These four file boxes of papers belonged to George C. Grant, the former Executive Director of the New Jersey Fisheries Development Commission and the facility/construction manager for the renovation and construction of the Laboratory buildings. The boxes were stored in the Library's storage space, Room 006: Lab Equipment. The Librarians relocated the boxes for processing on February 10, 2014 to the Library's Rare Book and Special Collections Room.

Processing Information

On February 11-12th, 2014 the Library transferred the files from decaying boxes to acid-free archival boxes. Original order of organized files was retained. Loose files were foldered according to source agency or individual name. During September 2014, the Collection underwent additional minimal processing, which included transferring some of the files to new folders, removing adhesive labels and transferring the title in pencil to the folder tab, reordering files to alphabetical order, and the removal of paperclips. While no additional processing is planned for this Collection, it may be appropriate to re-folder some of the material within Series 1.

Related Material

Researchers interested in this Collection may also wish to consult additional resources pertaining to the Laboratory history that are also held by the Library. These resources include over 200 newspaper articles; three scrapbooks; and over six thousand still images in print, slide, and negative format. These items are held in the Library'Rare Book and Special Collections Room.

The Library also holds the manufactured collection of correspondence, awards and certificates, internal and external press materials such as news releases and brochures, program reports, event invitations and programs, and ephemera related to the Laboratory facilities, staff, programs, research, and events. The Collection is titled "The James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory Institutional Papers, 1959-2012" and its identifier is pub_c_002000.

There are also several relevant websites that provide information about the current programs, staff and facilities of the Laboratory, as well as some information about the period of the Laboratory's history to which this collection pertains.

50th Anniversary Web Committee, James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory. [September 2011, cited April 2, 2014]. Sandy Hook 50th Anniversary [Internet]. Highlands, NJ: Northeast Fisheries Science Center; Available from:

James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory. [April 1, 2014, cited April 1, 2014]. James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory homepage [Internet]. Highlands, NJ: Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Available from:

Lionel A. Walford Library. [2011, cited April 2, 2014]. 50th Anniversary Legacy Research Gallery [Internet]. Highlands, NJ: Lionel A. Walford Library, James J. Howard Library via Contentdm. Available from:

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