Curiosity comes naturally to an engineer, and that is what sparked Lester Smith’s passion for history. A former trustee of the Connecticut Historical Society and now the historian and curator for the Suffield Historical Society, Lester has dedicated decades to research and the preservation of Suffield’s history.
Although his initial curiosity veered towards cartography (his research took him to university libraries including Yale and Harvard), his exposure to other aspects of historical preservation has given Lester a broader set of skills. Besides being Suffield’s town historian, he volunteers at the Kent Memorial Library, where he is assisting with the temporary storage of the Historical Room contents. The articles he contributes to The Suffield Observer (a monthly newspaper) keep him aware of current local issues. Up until last year, Lester was active with the Boy Scouts, where he served in various capacities over the years.
Having served as curator at the Suffield Historical Society since the late 1980s, he knows Suffield inside and out. And though he gets assistance from other volunteers, he is aware of the need for more individuals interested in local history. In addition to the need for volunteers, the Suffield Historical Society would benefit by a transition from hand-written catalog cards to a digital system that would make it easier to assist local students and researchers.
“I was taught by the Connecticut Historical Society the value of collecting relatively recent objects that show what is happening in society.” – Lester Smith
When you listen to Lester speak about his work it is easy to be inspired and want to get involved. Lester Smith is an example of the type of member we are fortunate to have at the Connecticut Historical Society. Our members believe it is important to preserve, share, and inspire others to get involved in Connecticut history.