Inside the CHS


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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Her grosgrain goune blacke

January 25, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts

This is the first item listed on the two-page inventory of the estate of Elizabeth Welles of Wethersfield, Connecticut, in 1683. We rarely come upon an inventory that dates this early, and even fewer that were of estates of women. Of course, it helps that she was the widow of Governor Thomas Welles. And in…
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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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Hannah Hadassah Hickok

November 9, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

It is almost like reading Jane Austen, but it dates from about 30 years earlier. That is what I like best about one of our latest additions to the collections. Hannah Hadassah Hickok was born in South Britain, Connecticut ,in 1767. Her diary No. 2, (I wish we had No. 1) which dates from February…
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October in the Archives

November 3, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

The Connecticut Historical Society’s website is Please visit to learn more about us! (Due to circumstances beyond our control the site is not currently listed on Google) And now back to our regularly scheduled blogging… The temperatures are dropping, which means it’s a great time to warm up in the Research Center with some…
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African-American Land Owners in 18th c. Simsbury

October 29, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

The Connecticut Historical Society’s website is Please visit the site to learn more about us! (Due to issues beyond our control the site is not currently listed with Google. ) And now back to our regularly scheduled blogging… One of the collections I cataloged this week is the Joshua Holcomb papers. Holcomb was a…
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October 22, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

“As this is my first attempt at an editorial…I of course tremble at the idea of having so great a responsibility resting upon me” Hattie Seymour and her Hartford, Connecticut schoolmates self-published a paper called Excelsior. Volume 1, number 4 was edited by Hattie, the previous three having been edited by others in the class….
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September in the Archives

October 8, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

Highlights this month: Town records, First Church of Windsor, and the Tyler family.

Roberts’ Opera House: Finest Place of Amusement in New England

September 30, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

In January 1869 the Roberts’ Opera House opened on Main Street in Hartford, Connecticut. In an article announcing the event, the New York Times called it the “finest place of amusement in New-England.” Today I was cataloging a ledger with listings of performances at the Opera House between 1871 and 1886. Each entry includes the…
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“…the War…with Great Britain, is extensively unpopular;”

September 24, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

“the War in which we are engaged, with Great Britain, is extensively unpopular”

Weather report for September 22

September 22, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

19th century weather records

Elizabeth Cady Stanton letter

September 10, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

Letter from Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Isabella Beecher Hooker

A previously unknown Connecticut furniture maker discovered

August 27, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

When the initial query came about our interest in an account book of a furniture maker, I was not overwhelmed. Until, that is, I received a scan of the very first page. The entry that caught my eye read “Eliza Punderson sampler frame 12 x 8 1/2”. Now that got my attention! One rarely if…
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Woman suffrage in Wyoming Territory: A letter to Mrs. John Hooker

August 25, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

“…and could not be induced to return to the old, barbarous system of disfranchisement of a portion of our citizens any more than our nation could be persuaded to return to allegiance to Great Britain.”

This Week in the Archives: Mary K. Talcott, Genealogist

August 17, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

Collection of genealogist Mary Kingsbury Talcott.

More to the story

August 5, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

We have a very extensive and well known collection of Civil War-related diaries and correspondence, so we made the decision last year to collect selectively in this area. So, why did we recently add to the collection the correspondence of Joseph H. Cummings of Waterbury, Connecticut? What makes this particular set of letters exciting and…
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Physicians Record Book

July 29, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

Includes detailed journal entries on women in childbirth.

Political satire in 1934

July 20, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

Do we ever really learn from history? Last week I found a satirical piece called “The 1934 Psalm” that blames President Roosevelt for the financial misfortunes of the country during the Great Depression.  It is actually quite clever. But I was struck by how today, depending on your political leanings, you could substitute Obama or…
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“As I have nothing else to do . . .”

July 8, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

Don’t you love holiday traffic when everyone seems to be on the same road, at the same time, going the same way? Imagine if you were at the mercy of the weather–or more exactly, the wind. Recently added to our collections is a poem, penned by Alexander Bushnell (1771-1838) while on a ship traveling from…
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June in the Archives

July 1, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

Another month, another 162 records added to the CHS online catalog! Earlier this week we reached the 1800th entry. Our original goal being 900, this was a fairly significant accomplishment. Here is a quick look at some of the items cataloged over the past month: We begin with an account book kept by Major John…
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Early book club

June 16, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

How long do you think book clubs have been meeting? Five years? Fifty years? Would you be surprised if I told you no less than 194 years? Early in 1816 a dozen ladies met in Colchester, Connecticut to form a reading class. Eliza L. Bulkley, Clarrissa Bigelow, Ann E. Bigelow, Sarah Clark, Frances A. Cleaveland,…
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First Church collections book

June 11, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

Recently I cataloged an account book kept by one of the collectors for the First Congregational Society in Hartford. It is a small volume, only partially filled, and was used for the fifth district.  The district’s limits were “North of, but not including State St, East side of Main St. & Windsor St., and all…
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May in the Archives

June 3, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

Account books and commonplace books.

Passports, Papers, and Politics

May 28, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

Col. Samuel Colt’s passports!

Calico Printing

May 20, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

Earlier this week I began working with a calico printer’s recipe book and a calico printer’s record. Though there are no indications either is from Connecticut, several of us at CHS have enjoyed paging through, looking at the various patterns and colors. The printer’s recipe book contains over 280 pages, each with approximately four different…
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Buy war bonds!

May 14, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

Scrapbooks chronicling women’s organizations that sold savings bonds during World War II.

April in the Archives

May 5, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

This past month found Barbara cataloging many, many sermons. There are too many to list,  but if you are looking for 18th or 19th century religious writings, definitely search our catalog. If you need any help, never hesitate to contact us (regarding sermons or any of our other research material). Another collection with a religious…
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Joshua Leffingwell

April 29, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

Joshua Leffingwell, a native of Hartford, Connecticut, seems to have enjoyed wintering in a warmer climate. Leffingwell was an architect and builder in Hartford. According to the Leffingwell Record (a genealogy published in 1897), Joshua and his brother, John, built a number of buildings, including the Hartford Bank, Center Church, and the Old State House….
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“Warm as you please, thunderstorm in eve.”

April 21, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story (“Twitter Updates, the 18th Century Edition,” April 13, 2010) about how the 140 character limit for a Twitter post would not have been a problem for diarists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  As luck would have it, some Connecticut related examples have recently crossed my desk….
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Who ya gonna call?

April 7, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

Today I found an account book from the Essex Central office of Southern New England Telephone Company. SNET was founded in New Haven, Connecticut in 1878, and this account book demonstrates that by 1890, telephones were still not found in every home and office. Phones were rented to customers for at least $5 a quarter,…
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March in the Archives

April 2, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts

March came in like a cataloging lion! Barbara and I managed to complete 177 records this month which, if not a record, is pretty close to it. Instead of lions and tigers and bears, however, please read on to learn about our collections related to governors and buttons and ships. Oh my! Barbara worked with…
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