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 Club. While cataloging today, I found their record book. It includes meeting minutes, their constitution, and a list of members. Some time later they decided to re-incorporate as a Wide-Awakes club. This required a new constitution, which is also included in the volume.
The Hartford Wide-Awakes group formed prior to the Waterbury group, as evidenced by the handwritten notes on the Hartford group’s constitution.
Sometime after the election, as people began to inquire about the history of the Wide-Awakes, the Hartford group published the following document.
In addition to these manuscript holdings, CHS maintains several Wide-Awakes artifacts in the museum collections, including this banner:
To learn more about the Wide-Awakes, study these and other collections, please visit!