Joan Barkman Collection

Joan Barkman Collection, 1976-2019

Collection Number:


Finding Aid Publication Date:

Published in 2020. ©Copyright Chester Public Library.

Descriptive Summary


Joan Barkman Collection


Joan Barkman


1976-2019, with gaps


7 linear feet (2 oversized boxes) and 13.1 GB of data


A lifelong Chester resident, Joan Barkman grew up in what previously been known as the Chester Institute building, and her father William Mangels was the town chocolatier. The collection includes video personal history interviews wherein Barkman gives a “tour” through her childhood home and talks about her family’s business, among other topics. Barkman also donated an oil painting of the building, as well as a photograph of the rear of the building. The collection’s value to researchers lies in the documentation of a significant Chester property, a long-term business in town, and the life of a Chester resident.

Language: English


Local History Department
Chester Public Library
250 W. Main Street
Chester, NJ 07930
Phone: (908) 879-7612
Fax: (908) 879-8695

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Use:

This collection is open for research.

Physical Access:

The items in this collection may be used by patrons who abide by the guidelines of the Local History Department. The Chester Institute oil painting is hanging in the Local History Office.

Technical Access:

Most of the items in this collection have either been digitized or created electronically. The Local History Librarian will make full-length interviews and digitized images available to patrons upon their request. Chester Library computers may be used to experience the collection.

Conditions Governing Reproduction:

Copyright restrictions apply. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials whose copyright is owned by the Chester Library or a collection creator must be submitted in writing to the Local History Librarian, Chester Public Library, 250 W. Main Street, Chester, NJ 07930.

Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], Joan Barkman Collection of Chester Public Library, Chester, New Jersey.

Collection Processed By:

Debra Schiff, Local History Librarian, in 2019.

Finding Aid Author:

Debra Schiff, Local History Librarian

Description Control:

Description based on DACS.

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Joan Barkman (neé Mangels) (1935- ) was 9 years old when her parents William (1990-1995) and Frieda (1905-1989) moved her and her brother Arnold (1931- ) to Chester, NJ from Brooklyn, NY. Prior to moving west, the Mangels had a luncheonette, and William made candy, specifically chocolates. Besides becoming Chester’s local candy maker, the Mangels bought one of the most notable buildings in town, the Chester Institute.

According to the Chester Historical Society (, Daniel Budd built the Chester Institute in 1868 as a home for his family and as a private seminary for girls. By 1900, it was no longer a seminary, but a boarding house. The Cox family lived in the house before the Budd family sold it to the Mangels.

The 26 acres of land extended to Fairmount and Seminary Avenues. One acre was in Chester Township, and the remainder were in the Borough. Mangels sold the one acre to Chester Apgar for Apgar’s Garage. The bulk of the property is now the Chester Springs Mall (Shoprite and other stores). The Mangels farmed the land, raising pigs, primarily, but also had horses, chickens, cows, geese, and ducks. Their land also included some pastures and an apple orchard.

Extended family members, such as Barkman’s maternal grandfather, a farmer named Fritz Blume (1882-1956), emigrated from Germany after World War II and lived with the Mangels in their very large home. Her aunt Frieda Blume and cousin, who also lived with them, escaped Germany prior to the war. She worked at the bakery in Chester. After her cousin left to serve in the Korean War, the Mangels rented his room to boarders. The family also hosted friends who visited from Brooklyn in the summers. During those periods, Barkman slept above the third floor in the house, in the cupola.

Mangels’ candy store operated out of the former Chester Institute before moving into a separate building on the land. Mangels would open up one of the big front rooms of the house during the Easter season, but mold the chocolates in the basement. The family ran the chocolate store from 1956-1971. Later, the Mangels sold the home to the Grogan family, and moved to 80 West Main Street. The Grogan family operated a nursing home called the Chester Retreat out of the building. They cleared the wooded area and created Grogan’s pond, a local swimming hole. For a short period of time, the Jerry Grogan had a golf range on the property. The building was demolished in 1974, and currently, the land is owned by Chester Springs Mall (otherwise known as the Shoprite shopping center).

Before selling the land, Mangels gave Barkman an acre of the land, where she and her husband built a house. Her brother also received a parcel of land and lived south of the Barkmans on Fairmount Avenue.

Barkman attended Roxbury High School, where she was active on the softball, field hockey, and basketball teams. She was voted “Most Athletic” during her senior year in 1954. A friend of her brother’s, a Chester farmer named John later became her husband.

John R. Barkman (1931-2006), who worked for Welsh Farms for 36 years, was a volunteer fireman in Chester. After high school, he served in the U.S. Army in Korea from 1953-1955. He and Joan were married for 51 years. He is interred at Chester Cemetery.

Barkman joined the Ladies Auxiliary and drove an ambulance for the First Aid Squad for five years during the 1970s. She also was an active member of the Chester Women’s Bowling League. The Barkmans had three children: John R., Jr. (1955-2008), Joy Palmer (neé Barkman) (1957- ), and JoAnn Griffith (neé Barkman) (1968- ).

Barman held many different jobs during her life in Chester prior to becoming a school bus for a local company owned by Bill and Bob Conover. She worked at Larison’s Turkey Farm restaurant after she first married. Barkman also worked at the Chester House for various catered events, including one for the Mennen family. She also worked at Cooperative Industries. She began driving a bus at the age of 25, delivering children to the elementary schools, and later to the West Morris Regional High School. She also delivered the mail, as well as deliver milk and pick up eggs for Welsh Farms.

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Scope and Content

The Joan Barkman Collection contains an oil painting, 17 photographs, and 7 video interviews. The painting and the photograph of Chester Institute were collected by Joan Barkman. The video interviews were conducted in the Local History Librarian’s office at Chester Library during one visit on September 16, 2019. The purpose of the interviews was to document Barkman’s “tour” through the home, as she knew it, prior to its destruction, as well as her father’s noted candy store. She goes into detail about the property her father owned in Chester, as well as her experiences growing up and living in Chester over time.  The photographs were lent to the Library for digitization and sharing.

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Organization and Arrangement

There is only one series, Visual Materials, divided into two subseries: Interviews and Images. The Interviews series comprises 12.5 GB of data in 7 high-definition videos, and are arranged in numerical order. The Images comprise 16 digitized images (scanned from photographs lent to the library for sharing with the public), 1 framed photo reproduction of the rear view of the Chester Institute, and 1 oil painting of the front of the Chester Institute. All of the digitized images are organized in numerical order.

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Index Terms

Corporate Names/Organizations Subject:

Apgar’s Garage
Chester First Aid Squad
Chester House
Chester Institute
Chester Retreat
Chester Springs Mall
Chester Volunteer Fire Company
Chester Volunteer Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary
Larison’s Turkey Farm
Mangels Candy
Roxbury High School
Welsh Farms
West Morris Regional High School


Bus driving
Candy making
High school sports
Historic homes


Apgar, Chester
Barkman, Joan
Barkman, John R.
Barkman, John R., Jr.
Blume, Frieda
Blume, Fritz
Budd, Daniel
Conover, Robert
Conover, William
Griffith, JoAnn (neé Barkman)
Grogan, Jerry
Palmer, Joy (neé Barkman)
Mangels, Arnold
Mangels, Frieda
Mangels, William


Chester Borough
Chester Township
Fairmount Avenue
Main Street
Morris County (N.J.)
Morristown Region (N.J.)–History, Local.
New Jersey.

Genre Terms:

Black-and-white photographs
Born digital
Color photographs
Oil paintings
Oral history.
Oral history interview
Video recordings
Visual resources

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Container List

Box 1, Chester Institute Photograph, Undated

Box Description Dates
1 Chester Institute photograph, b/w Undated