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Articles by chsprojectarchivist:

Abduhl Rahhaman’s Story

August 14, 2012 · Collections, Manuscripts

One of our long term projects involves making sense of the many documents boxed together (years ago) and labeled “Miscellaneous Letters.” This morning I found another gem in the collection.  It does not have an accession number, nor do we have any idea as to its provenance. Regardless, it is quite an interesting read. Click…
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Dear Sir

July 10, 2012 · Collections, Manuscripts

Between 1865 and 1868, naturalist John Burroughs maintained correspondence with S.W. Adam of Canaan, Connecticut. The collection, now among our manuscripts (Ms 78678), is primarily letters from Burroughs to Adam, with a few written by Adam. While the bulk of their conversation pertains to birds, Burroughs managed to unwittingly stumble into a side conversation. As…
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From Connecticut to Hawaii

June 26, 2012 · Collections, Manuscripts

Aloha from Sarah Oliver, Summer Archives Intern at CHS! I started my internship at the Connecticut Historical Society in late May, just two weeks after completing my freshman year at Vassar College. Having never worked in a research center before, I had no idea what to expect. I was greeted by smiling, welcoming faces, then…
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May 25, 2012 · Collections, Manuscripts

Barbara and I have been cataloging our backlog for close to four years now. We are on our second, two year grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). I have lost track, but I believe our goal for the first grant was to catalog 900 manuscripts and account books. We surpassed that…
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Bicycling in Hartford

May 16, 2012 · Collections, Manuscripts

Hartford has a long history of bicycling, both that of its citizens riding and of manufacturing. To celebrate National Bike Month I thought we would take a look at some of the bicycling related manuscripts in the CHS collections. Colt Bicycle Club At the meeting of the Colt Bicycle Club on February 29, 1892, uniforms…
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What is his name?

April 3, 2012 · Collections, Manuscripts

In 1752, William Hooker purchased a Negro Man from Willis & Stocker. An image of the bill, which is part of our collections, is shown below. Can you make out the name of the Negro Man? The last four letters are “ford.” We have some thoughts, but are uncertain about the first five. Leave a…
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New Fort for New London Harbor

February 21, 2012 · Collections, Manuscripts

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the War of 1812. That summer, as the war got underway, Secretary of War William Eustis wrote to Capt. C. D. Wood in New London, Connecticut. “Sir, You will immediately commence the repairs of the magazine at Fort Trumbull and the block house at Fort…
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Civil War Substitutes

February 15, 2012 · Collections, Manuscripts

During the Civil War, men in certain states, who did not want to fight, were able to pay for a substitute. This is what F. Bill, a Connecticut resident, had in mind when he wrote home to H.C. Holmes. (Click the above images to enlarge) Bill was writing from Cleveland, Ohio. He intended to buy…
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Making Connections: Ann Frances (Darling) Ibbotson

January 24, 2012 · Collections, Manuscripts

Though I have not specifically mentioned our NHPRC funded project lately, it certainly continues. Yesterday we completed our 2400th record. That leaves us with 600 to complete in the next seven months, definitely an achievable goal. Since we began this project in September 2008, over 5400 collections have been cataloged (3000 during the first two-year…
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Gold Street and the Ancient Burying Ground

January 4, 2012 · Collections, Manuscripts

“But for you Gold Street would still be a blot on our beautiful city, and we all owe you a debt of gratitude. Now if those stables could go, there would be nothing to offend the eye when the street is finished.” These words were written to Emily Seymour Goodwin Holcombe by Elizabeth Hart Jarvis…
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Bevin Bells

December 27, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

East Hampton (them Chatham), Connecticut has long been known as Belltown. Beginning in the 19th century, many bell manufacturers set up shop there. All but one of those factories, Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Co., has shut down. Bevin, the only American company still producing only bells,  has been making the news recently. Last year there was…
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Brainard Field

December 13, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

If you live in Hartford and want to take an airplane flight, chances are pretty good you will find yourself departing from Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks. However, long before Bradley, Hartford’s Brainard Field was the only municipal airport between New York and Boston. The dedication of Brainard Field was held on June 11,…
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November 29, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

The word Wohelo stands for Work, Health, and Love. Per the Camp Fire USA website, when Camp Fire was founded in 1910, “Wohelo was coined as the organization’s watchword.” Three years after Camp Fire was founded, in Vermont, it had made its way to Hartford. Louise Blair was a member of the Suckiag Camp Fire…
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South School Gang

November 15, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

If you had attended the South School in Hartford, Connecticut during the 1880s, you were eligible to join the South School Association of the Eighties. The concept was not new, and an association for those who attended the school in the 1870s already existed. The eighties group met for the first time, in the Assembly…
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A letter from William Gillette

October 27, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

William Gillette was a native of Hartford, Connecticut, growing up in the Nook Farm neighborhood. An actor, playwright, and stage manager, Gillette is best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. By the 1930s, when this letter was written, he had retired to a home in Hadlyme, Connecticut. Today his house is known as Gillette’s…
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The Book Club with No Name

September 27, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

On January 18, 1935 the following ladies met at the home of Mrs. Rex Ganter to discuss the formation of a book club: Mrs. J. Quinter Miller, Mrs. William Hamm, Mrs. Burdette J. Buck, Mrs. L.M. Dawson, Mrs. J.H. Westbrook, Jr. Mrs. R. J. Schramm, Mrs. Rex Ganter Miss Alice Barlow Mrs. Ganter requested Miss…
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This week’s curiosities

August 17, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

Every week there are one or two items that, while I find them incredibly interesting, hardly warrant their own blog post. So this afternoon, with a few minutes to spare, I thought I’d share some of my recent finds. Ms 76796: Marriage certificates were as necessary in the early 1800s as they are today. What…
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Who was Albert Sharp?

August 4, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

Ebenezer Punderson, Roger Risley, Albert Sharp, James Terry…any of these names familiar? Whether they are or not, you may now read more about these men via our finding aids. Finding aids are guides to collections. They are more in-depth than an online catalog record might be, helping researchers to locate the material in a collection…
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“We saw Main St. as we never saw it before.”

July 28, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

Many of the great programs offered today by one of our sister institutions, the Hartford Public Library, are rooted in the work of Caroline M. Hewins. During her 50-year tenure as librarian at the Hartford Public Library, Hewins ran many programs for Hartford children, including the City History Club. In 1910, at least two of…
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Best tin pail…67 cents

July 19, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

Lucy Skinner was born in Granby, Connecticut in about 1801. Twenty years later she married Alexander H. Griswold (1792-1881), also a native of Granby. The only other detail about Lucy’s life I have been able to find is that she died in 1845. For women’s history, this is fairly average. Women’s history may be hidden,…
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July 12, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

Sir you will gow to room Number three & as you gow in, on your right – hand you will find an old pillow on an under birth Where you may find concealed the contents, etc – etc  Between the case & tick that holds the feathers. This unsigned note is one of several documents,…
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Cold Water Army

June 29, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

The drink, that’s in the drunkard’s bowl, Is not the drink for me; It kills his body and his soul; How sad a sight is he! But there’s a drink that God has given, Distilling in the showers of heaven, In measures large and free; Oh, that’s the drink for me. ~H. Reed The verse…
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Holly Ball: Hartford’s Debutantes are Presented

June 21, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

“The Holly Ball was originated in 1950 by a small group of congenial friends for the purpose of honoring their daughters at a formal and private dance, with no commercial or civic obligations.” That sentence intrigued me as I stumbled upon the records of the Holly Ball (Ms 73446). I continued to read and soon…
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Mary and Stephen Tilden: Marital Woes in the 1730s

June 14, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

“I do believe he hath committed ye sin of fornacation [sic] with Sarah Ellis,” explained Mary Tilden in a letter to the pastor of the First Church of Lebanon, Connecticut. Tilden wrote of her husband, Stephen, with whom she refused to live following his transgression. A committee of church members had been formed to advise…
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From selling socks to insurance: Lucius J. Hendee

May 3, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

One of the aspects of my job that I truly enjoy is the unpredictable nature of the materials I work with. The other day I was skimming through the Hendee Family correspondence (Ms 69688).  Though in a relatively new box,  the folders were old, and I knew it had been some time since the collection…
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March in the Archives: Part II

April 12, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

When I reviewed the catalog records from March, there were just too many worthy of being mentioned. This is a great problem to have! I therefore decided to split my report in two. If you missed the first part, about Civil War documents, you may read it here. Catalog entries for these, and many more…
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March in the Archives: Civil War collections

April 8, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

It has been a while since I wrote a [Month] in the Archives post, but with the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and the number of related collections we cataloged in March, it seems like a good time to return to the series. Scholars of the Civil War may already know of these collections; most…
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Transportation and the Imagination

March 24, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

Morgan Bulkeley Brainard (1879-1957) was a prominent Hartford resident. The Bulkeley and Brainard families have been established in the area for generations. A successful businessman, Brainard was President of the Aetna Life Insurance Company, a company founded by his grandfather,  Eliphalet Adams Bulkeley, for over 40 years. During that time, Brainard also served a term…
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Friday Fun: Newgate?

March 11, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

Newgate Prison, in East Granby, Connecticut, began as a copper mine in the 1700s. It became a prison during the Revolutionary War, and continued in that capacity until 1827. In 1976 Newgate became a National Historic Landmark,  and remains a very popular museum in the state. Perhaps you can imagine my surprise when I found…
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Happy International Women’s Day!

March 8, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

Lately I have had the opportunity to catalog several friendship albums. These journals, kept by women in the nineteenth century, contain poetry and stories written for them by their friends. Though the albums were owned by women, the contributors were both male and female. The owner of the album shown below is unknown. However, the…
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Friday Fun: Did you get your invitation?

March 4, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

One hundred forty-six years ago today (or if you’d prefer, sevenscore and six), President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural ball was held in Washington, DC. Among those invited was Miss Mary Curtin of Connecticut. Unfortunately, my search to find any information in the Courant about state residents who attended proved fruitless. Anecdotely, though, I know Miss…
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Friday Fun (or why I love the archives)!

February 25, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

Today I was finishing up a catalog entry for the papers of Captain Christopher Riley. During the War of 1812 Riley served with the 37th Regiment U.S. Infantry. As I flipped through a letter book he kept, I found a draft for an advertisement to be placed in the Connecticut Courant: Just for fun, I…
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The Paradox of Scrapbooks

February 16, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

Archivists collect things, therefore we must love scrapbooks, those bound collections of ephemera from our lives, right? Not exactly.  Many times the books have been constructed of brittle paper that loses bits and pieces each time a page is turned. Glue and tape dry up, scattering yellowed newspaper clippings. Preserving them requires more resources than…
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January 20, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

We have several collections in our archives pertaining to the prominent Hart family of Old Saybrook, Connecticut. This poster may be found in the papers of Rev. Samuel F. Jarvis, Jr (Ms 68815). Rev. Jarvis was the son of Sarah McCurdy Hart and Rev. Samuel F. Jarvis, Sr.; grandson of Capt. Elisha Hart; and nephew…
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Connecticut Wide-Awakes

January 6, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

In 1860, Republicans across the country were eager to have one of their own elected President of the United States. Those in Hartford and Waterbury, Connecticut were no exception. In both cities, clubs were formed to support this goal. Republicans in Waterbury first met on February 21, 1860, naming themselves the Red, White, and Blue…
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New ways to explore our collections

December 23, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

Things have been busy for the CHS staff this month, so blogging has been light. However, I wanted to make sure you are aware of two great new tools available through our website. Diane, our Collections Manager, worked long and hard to bring us eMuseum. Over 8000 of our museum objects may be viewed on…
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Making Connections

December 10, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

Every Friday I take the list of  records we have created over the past week as part of our continuing NHPRC grant-funded project, and search our collections database (The Museum System) to see if we have any museum objects attributed to the creators of the manuscripts. Often I will not find anything, but today I…
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November in the Archives

December 3, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

November is always a month of elections and Thanksgiving. Going with that theme, this month’s “in the Archives” post is going to focus on the papers of a politician and of a Native American. Of the 130 catalog records we created in November, three relate to the papers of Roger Sherman. Sherman, a native of…
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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

This and every year we are thankful to have you visiting our Museum and Research Center, following us on Facebook and Twitter, and reading this blog!

“Rate Your Date”

November 17, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

I like to tell people that I read other people’s diaries for a living. Today our cataloging project led me to the diary of Eleanor R. Munroe. Quickly glancing over the diary, I have not been able to find that Ms. Munroe had any connection to Connecticut. Her first entries are from the Cambridge, Massachusetts…
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