We have now completed the first month of our 2010-2012 NHPRC grant-funded cataloging project. In most ways, the 2010 project has picked up where the 2008-2010 project left off. Account books, diaries, and town papers remain high priority for cataloging, but if a manuscript collection contains more than just a single sheet, it is likely on our list.
No two collections of town papers and records are alike. Often they consist of tax documents (rates, bills, etc.), school records, and property deeds. Many times the collections comprise just a few documents, pulled (some might say haphazardly) from various other manuscript collections. Occasionally they are marked with the other accession number; most often they are not. Without any idea where they originated, it is impossible for us to return them. Creation of such collections is not a practice that actively continues at CHS. However, much of it is information we want to make sure our researchers are aware exists. In September I added records to the online catalog for the following towns/areas: Bozrah, Burlington, Canton, Chaplin, Chatham, Coventry, East Hampton, Haddam, Hampton, Kensington, Killingly, Killingworth, Manchester, Milford, Newington, Portland, Preston, South Windsor, Tolland, and Woodstock. Many towns have already been cataloged, so if you do not see the one you are looking for, make sure to check the online catalog.
Among the other collections making their online catalog debut are the papers of the First Church of Windsor and the Tyler family. The earliest pieces from the Windsor church’s collection are the following from a 1681 seating chart.The two, non-contiguous sheets display the assignments made by the town’s Selectmen.
Seating chart, Windsor Church records, 1681-1850, Ms 00079. Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, CT
The bulk of the material in the collection dates from the late 1780s and the tenure of the church’s minister, Rev. David Rowland. It includes a letter from Rowland accepting his position, a controversy concerning some of his methods, and agreements for his son, Rev. Henry Rowland, to co-lead the church.
The Tyler family collection is mostly military orders signed by John Tyler and Samuel Tyler. The most original piece is a report of the guards at a prison in New London, Connecticut.
"A Report of the Officer of the Day," Tyler Family papers, 1777-1811, Ms 23054. Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, CT
The report lists the prisoners’ names, regiment, name of the person who confined them, the crime, and number of nights confined. On this day there were ten men arrested for desertion and four who had been taken prisoner of war at sea. The piece also details the number of guards present at the prison and where they were stationed.
All of these collections are open and available for research. Come visit! Your admission will cover both the research center and to our galleries, particularly our newly opened Connecticut Needlework exhibit.
Please contact us if you have any questions about the CHS, our collections, and the learning opportunities we offer.