October in the Archives

The Connecticut Historical Society’s website is http://chs.org 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 manuscripts. Another 130+ records will be making their way into our online catalog in the next few days. Some interesting, or at least out of the ordinary, items cataloged in October include:

Insurance company documents (Ms 55835) This is a collection of assorted insurance policy documents from various Connecticut companies. The companies represented include The Hartford Fire Insurance Co., Travelers Insurance Co., Connecticut Mutual Insurance Co., Hartford County Mutual Fire Insurance Co., and Windham County Mutual Fire Insurance Co. Unusual policies include those issued by the Hartford Live Stock Insurance Co. for race horses and a dog. The collection has some correspondence as well.

Edgar Welles autograph book (Ms 30237) Edgar Welles of Hartford, Connecticut kept an autograph book that contains signatures from people around the country. These include Lydia Sigourney of Hartford, Washington Irving, Theodore Woolsey of Yale College, John Underwood of Clarke Co., Virginia and J.R. Doolittle of Racine. Some are in Asian characters.

Edwin Parker sermon (Ms 31342) Ties to England have always been strong in this country, as evidenced by the sermon Rev. Edwin Parker gave in Hartford, Connecticut on the death of England’s Queen Victoria.

Samuel Pease diaries (Ms 33866) The diary entries kept by Samuel Pease, a farmer in Enfield, Connecticut were sewn into almanacs, one page per month. Pease noted weather conditions, some social occasions and town events. Even without the diary entries, the almanacs would be a worthy collection. Included are The New-England Almanac by Anson Allen (Hartford: Andrus and Judd), Middlebrook’s Almanac by Elijah Middlebrook (New Haven: S. Babcock), Green’s New England Almanack by Nathan Bowditch (New London: Samuel H. Green and Hartford: Gurdon Robins, Jr.), and The Farmer’s Almanack by Robert Thomas (Boston: Jenks & Palmer).

Frederick Stanley correspondence (Ms 32252) A collection of letters, most of which were sent to Frederick Stanley of New Britain, Connecticut. Correspondents include New Britain native, philanthropist, and social activist Elihu Burritt and well-known entertainer P.T. Barnum. Stanley is known for founding The Stanley Works.

Hartford Public High School class day book (Ms 35620) This notebook contains the Hartford Public High School’s Class of 1872 class history, by Hattie Bissell and Emma Tarbox; class poem, by Jeannie Stickney; class essay, by Louise Rowles; class prophecy, by James Bryant; class oration, by William Hyde; programs from the class day exercises and anniversary exercises; and a listing of classmates, their addresses, and occupations in 1876. With the exception of the programs, everything was handwritten.

Civil War letters and diary Civil War material is always popular with CHS researchers, even more so with the approach of the 150th anniversary. This month I cataloged letters by Lucien Dunham (Ms 38335)  to his brother, Dwight, in Warehouse Point, Connecticut, and to his sister Ellen.
Orra B. Bailey (Ms 40880) sent letters from Beaufort and Morris Island, South Carolina, Fernandina, Florida, and Washington, DC. Bailey enlisted and was mustered-in a Private on 23 August 1862. He was transferred to the Sixth Regiment, Veteran Reserve Corps, Company A, on 27 January 1864 and was discharged 3 December 1864.
Elizur Belden diaries (Ms 41878) Belden, of Rocky Hill, Connecticut kept these diaries while serving in the Civil War with the Sixteenth Connecticut Infantry, Company C . An unmarried farmer, Belden enlisted 11 August 1862 and was mustered-in 24 August 1862. He was captured 20 April 1864 at Plymouth, NC, and died in captivity at Florence, SC, on 2 November 1864.

Weather records It was hardly a coincidence that I mentioned weather as I introduced this post. Often local weather personalities quote highs, lows, and other significant figures from official records. Here we have some of the un-official records.
Trinity College records of precipitation (Ms 31343) were kept in part by Samuel Hart. The records cover 1871-1899.
The Battell family weather records (Ms 35955) are temperature records, taken three times a day in Norfolk, Connecticut. They include occasional notes on wind speed and precipitation. Per a note attached to the first volume, the records were begun by Mrs. Joseph Battell and continued by her son Robbins, daughter Anna, and later granddaughter Mrs. Carl Stoeckel.
In Hartford, the Hoadley weather records (Ms 36119), kept by Jeremy and Charles Hoadley, recorded temperatures at sunrise, noon, and sunset. Also noted were the wind direction and general remarks about the day’s weather.
Lastly, we have the William Collins weather records (Ms 38144). Collins, of Hartford, Connecticut diversified his entries with newspaper accounts. In later years his entries are in regard to the Civil War.

All of the above are available for research. Come visit!

Though all the material in our collections is exciting in one way or another, I admit the piece I will “sign off” with the one that excited me the most this past month.

John Hancock signature, Morris Family papers, 1732-1834, Ms 34744. Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, CT