The Litchfield Historical Society
7 South Street, P.O. Box 385
Litchfield, CT 06759
phone: 860-567-4501
fax: 860-567-3565

Executive Director ~ Catherine Fields
Curator of Collections ~ Alexander Dubois
Curator of Library and Archives ~ Linda Hocking
Curator of Education ~ Kate Zullo
Education Assistant and Visitor Services Coordinator
Assistant Curator of Library and Archives

Please visit us!
The Litchfield Historical Society is located on the Green in Litchfield,
Connecticut at the junction of routes 63, 118, and 202
The Tapping Reeve House and Law School are located at 85 South Street in Litchfield.
The Litchfield Historical Society is located at 7 South Street, Litchfield, CT.
For more information about research, our collections, or our museum hours,
please call (860) 567-4501 or see www.litchfieldhistoricalsosciety.org.

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Crafternoons at the Litchfield Historical Society
(Grades 1-7)
 Thursday, December 14 ~ 3:30-5:00 pm
Litchfield History Museum

Lighting the Darkness
Bring light to the darkest month with crafts that
illuminate the old traditions and new technologies

Unplug and spend the afternoon crafting and creating!
The Litchfield Historical Society's Crafternoons will explore a new theme
in history with hands-on crafts and games that encourage students
to look away from the screen and tap into their own imagination.
To learn more about the month's topic, visit the Historical Society's
online calendar for a list of suggested readings. Crafts and readings
are recommended for children in first through seventh grade.

Registration is required.
Payment is required at time of registration.
Crafternoons are $7 for members and $10 for non-members.
To register, call (860) 567-4501
For more information about this or other programs,

The Litchfield Historical Society is located at 7 South St., Litchfield, CT.
The exhibits are currently on view through November 2017.
The Litchfield Historical Society receives no funding from the town.
In an effort to better serve our community, the Litchfield History Museum
and the Tapping Reeve House & Law School offer free admission for all.
Participate in our shared history. Free admission for 2017 is underwritten
 with generous support from Ericson Insurance Advisors.

***************
Lecture on Gerrymandering
Sunday, January 14 ~ 3:30 pm
Litchfield Historical Society
The League of Women Voters,
the Litchfield Historical Society and the
League of Women Voters of Litchfield County
 invite you to a discussion about gerrymandering
- the manipulation of district boundaries.

Historian John Dasher will be presenting this talk at the
Historical Society on Sunday, January 14 at 3:30 p.m.

Dasher will lead a discussion about how gerrymandering came about,
 its evolving use over the years, and its development as a political tool.
This is a timely talk because Connecticut’s ten-year  census period
 is wrapping up and there might be a redrawing of voting district lines.

This program is free and open to the public.
Refreshments will be served.
Space is limited and registration is required.
To register, call (860) 567-4501
For more information about this or other programs,

The Litchfield Historical Society is located at 7 South St., Litchfield.
The exhibits re-open in April 2018.
The Litchfield Historical Society receives no funding from the town.
In an effort to better serve our community, the Litchfield History Museum
and the Tapping Reeve House & Law School offer free admission for all.
Participate in our shared history.

***************
Gina's Journey:
The Search for William Grimes
Sunday, February 4, 2018 ~ 12:00 pm
Visual and Performing Arts Center at Forman School.
12 Norfolk Road, Litchfield, CT 06759
Film Screening
One woman's journey to discover and trace the steps of her ancestor,
who traveled along the Underground Railroad to freedom, and authored
the first fugitive slave narrative in U.S. history, written while in
Litchfield, Connecticut.
Please join the Litchfield Historical Society in welcoming Regina Mason,
 international speaker, author, playwright, and producer, for
a screening of her award-winning documentary,
Gina's Journey: The Search for William Grimes.
he screening will be held at Forman School's Visual
and Performing Arts Center. It is free and open to the public.

The film follows Ms. Mason's path as she traces the steps of her ancestor,
William Grimes, who traveled the Underground Railroad from Georgia
to freedom in Connecticut. Grimes spent time in Litchfield, owned
several businesses and worked for many Litchfield Law School students.

The film conveys not only Ms. Mason's long road to uncover past,
but also the unimaginable conditions that Grimes faced as he struggled
to free himself from slavery. With the help of Litchfield residents Grimes
was eventually able to purchase his freedom. In 1825 Grimes published his story,
the first fugitive slave narrative in U. S. History, written while in Litchfield.

Locations in the film include the Tapping Reeve House and Litchfield Law School.
View the trailer and learn more about the Regina's project here www.ginasjourney.com.
This event is FREE and is generously sponsored by
Connecticut Community Foundation.

***************
Annual Pet Parade and
Turn-of-the-Century Fest
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Litchfield Historical Society
~ BZ photos
 

 

 

   


 

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Walking Tours
The Litchfield Historical Society’s Saturday morning
walking tours are exploring new sites in town.

Each tour lasts about an hour—make sure to
bring a bottle of water and wear comfortable shoes!
We meet at the Litchfield History Museum
 at 10:00 a.m. for each tour.
Registration is required for walking tours.

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Litchfield Historical Society
Recipient of Digitizing Grant
The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce it is the
 recipient of a $42,380 Access to Historical Records: Archival Projects
grant from the National Archives, given through the
National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

The project will create a detailed finding aid for the papers of
Elijah Boardman of New Milford CT. The papers will then be digitized
and available online as a primary source for studying early America.
 Documentation of Boardman's business, political, and family activities
has not been accessible to historians, until recently when they were
 donated to the Historical Society from private collectors.

Elijah Boardman papers, Collection of Litchfield Historical Society,
Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library

His papers provide evidence of not only a significant figure in the
 early national period, but also document lesser-known aspects
and people of the era. His business ledgers reflect the local agricultural
community in Northwest Connecticut, as well as the rural market's
participation in foreign commerce and the influence of foreign goods
on rural Americans. Additionally, education, the settlement of Ohio,
northern slavery, African American life, textile history, family life,
 social networks, and American art during the early national period
 is all reflected both in correspondence and accounting.

Established in 1934, the National Historical Publications and
Records Commission awards grants for preserving, publishing,
and providing access to historical documents. The grant awarded
to the Historical Society for this project will provide access to Boardman's
papers and enrich our nation's understanding of the time period
when the Constitution was first interpreted and
many of our national institutions were established.

The Litchfield Historical Society is located at 7 South St., Litchfield, CT.
The exhibits are currently on view through November 2017.
The Litchfield Historical Society receives no funding from the town.
For more information about this or other programs,

In an effort to better serve our community, the Litchfield History Museum
and the Tapping Reeve House & Law School offer free admission for all.
Participate in our shared history. Free admission for 2017 is
underwritten with generous support from Ericson Insurance Advisors.

***************
Litchfield Historical Society
Prepares for Town's 300th Anniversary Celebration
The town of Litchfield, Connecticut will be celebrating its 300th Anniversary
 in 2019. Litchfield encompasses the center village, Bantam, Northfield, Milton,
East Litchfield, and Morris (pre-1856), and the Litchfield Historical Society
seeks to document all areas of town. A Common Heritage grant awarded
to the Society by the National Endowment for the Humanities
will fund these projects held to prepare for the anniversary.


Have questions about the events or unable to attend the digitization day?
Want to check if your item(s) can be digitized?
Call the Historical Society at (860) 567-4501.

Additional programming will be held throughout the next
 two years to prepare for the anniversary celebration in 2019.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment
for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature,
philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected,
peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information
about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant
programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

For  more information please contact:
Megan Olver Siok, Education Assistant and Visitor Services Coordinator

to learn more about these and future programs and events.
The Litchfield Historical Society is located at 7 South St., Litchfield, CT.
 Free admission sponsored by Ericson Insurance Advisors.

***************
Ericson Insurance Advisors
Sponsoring Free Admission
for Litchfield Historical Society
The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce that Ericson Insurance Advisors
will once again sponsor free admission for all to the Litchfield History Museum
and the Tapping Reeve House & Law School. We invite members of the
community and visitors to participate in our shared history and celebrate
the stories that helped make Litchfield the town we know and love.

The Museums open for the season on Saturday, April 22
and will be on view through Sunday, November 26.
Hours are Tuesday through Saturday,
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.

Ericson Insurance Advisors, a premier Litchfield County-based
provider of insurance solutions and independent advice to
both businesses and families, sponsored free admission in
2016 and has committed to doing so for the 2017 season.

"Ericson is so proud to continue our ongoing support
of the Litchfield Historical Society's important mission to enrich
 the cultural life of our community by bringing our region's extraordinary
 history to life for everyone," said Ericson Vice President Nat Worden,
a Litchfield resident who can be reached at (203) 405-2657

The Litchfield History Museum will feature a new exhibition,
Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy,
which explores Miss Sarah Pierce’s school, the role it played in shaping
 later educational, social, and economic opportunities for women in the
United States and highlights newly discovered information about the
students and their legacies. Also on view will be America’s Pastimes:
Sports and Recreation in Litchfield, which highlights the role of
sports and recreation in town, and showcases the
 stories and experiences of Litchfield residents.

At the Tapping Reeve House & Law School visitors can take a journey
through the life of a real student from the early 19th century.  
Explore timeless issues of travel, communication, education,
and community as you visit this award-winning exhibit.

The Litchfield History Museum is located at 7 South St., Litchfield, CT.
The Tapping Reeve House & Law School is located at 82 South St., Litchfield, CT.
 For more information about the museums, exhibits, or upcoming programs,
please visit  www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org or call (860) 567-4501.

***************
Revolutionary Litchfield Walking Tour
Megan Olver (blue bag) talks about Litchfield during the Revolutionary War
on the Litchfield Green on Saturday, July 9th. She is the Visitor Services Coordinator
and Education Assistant at the Litchfield Historical Society.  ~ BZ photo

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New Landscape Project and Exhibit
at Litchfield Historical Society
The exhibit, Reimagining the Reeve House Landscape, will display the landscape
architectural plans and a history of gardens and interesting landscapes in Litchfield.
Artwork completed in Litchfield depicting various landscape elements, including
 needlework embroidery of apple trees done by a Litchfield Female Academy
and an oil painting of Litchfield’s Primeval Oak, will be on display. Also on view,
an assortment of artifacts found during landscaping projects around Litchfield.
Additionally, maps, landscape designs, and historic photos of public
gardens and green spaces in Litchfield will be featured.

The Historical Society has re-imagined the six acre Tapping Reeve site, not as a
strict interpretation of a time period, but rather as a community resource with
 landscape elements that would have been found on the site, and in Litchfield,
from the 18th to the 20th centuries. The project will use elements of the
historic landscape as an educational tool and includes a children’s garden,
education pavilion, small orchard, a chestnut grove, a wet meadow, stone walls
and traditional fencing. The Society has designed the project to provide the
community and visitors with opportunities for learning, relaxation and reflection.

For more information on the landscape project,
The Litchfield History Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday
 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m.

The Litchfield Historical Society is located at 7 South St., Litchfield, CT.
On view: America’s Pastimes: Sports and Recreation in Litchfield.

In an effort to better serve our community, the Litchfield History Museum
and the Tapping Reeve House & Law School now offer free admission for all.
Participate in our shared history. Free admission is underwritten
 with generous support from Ericson Insurance Advisors.

***************
Litchfield Historical Society's New Furniture Donation
The Litchfield Historical Society has recently accepted a donation
of late-1930s furniture made by the Warren McArthur Corporation, a furniture
 company that specialized in pieces made of aluminum. Among the
ixteen pieces donation are two sets of matching armchairs, a settee,
two floor lamps, and a custom-made set of children's furniture. The collection
was donated by Cara Blazier, in honor of her father, Dr. John Houlihan.
He ran a medical office in Torrington, CT and used the McArthur pieces to furnish
his waiting room. They were purchased from the company's factory in Bantam.

Warren McArthur (1885-1961) studied mechanical engineering at Cornell University.
He then spent several years designing and patenting lamps before moving to
Phoenix with his brother Charles in 1913. The brothers opened several car
dealerships and even owned Arizona's first licensed radio station. In the 1920's,
McArthur started designing furniture for his father's vacation home and the
grand Arizona Biltmore Hotel. Leasing space with a local steel fabricator,
 McArthur created numerous pieces using aluminum,
which was a relatively new material in the furniture industry.

The Warren McArthur Corporation opened in Los Angeles in the early 1930s
and specialized in aluminum designs, which gave his pieces a unique,
 sophisticated appearance and he became known for the signature metal
rings that joined the furniture. His work soon appeared in the homes of stars
 like Marlene Dietrich and Clark Gable, the offices of the Chrysler Corporation
and the dining cars of the Union Pacific Railroad. Financial troubles forced
a relocation to Rome, NY, and then to Bantam, CT. In Bantam, production
of his aluminum furniture was made in a vacant ball bearing factor.
Beginning in 1938, McArthur became the leading producer of aircraft
seating for the U.S. Government.  Unable to adapt to the postwar market,
 the Warren McArthur Corporation declared bankruptcy in 1948.
Warren McArthur died in 1961, after producing
as many as 1,500 designs in his forty-year career.

The Litchfield Historical Society is so pleased to have such
a generous donation of iconic furniture that is not only
 important for its design, but also for its role in Aerospace history.

The Litchfield Historical Society is located at 7 South St., Litchfield, CT.
In an effort to better serve our community, the Litchfield History Museum
and the Tapping Reeve House & Law School now offer free admission for all.
Participate in our shared history. Free admission is underwritten
 with generous support from Ericson Insurance Advisors.

***************
A History of the Litchfield Hills Road Race:
In Smallness, There Is Beauty
By Lou Pellegrino
A new book about the race, covering the rich history of the LHRR, and the
 traditions, stories, and local legends that make it one of Litchfield's favorite events.
Lou Pellegrino lives in Litchfield with his wife and three kids. He is a social studies
teacher at Avon High School and runs the race each year with his family and friends.
Forty years after two friends brought the joy and excitement of the 1970's
 running boom to their hometown of Litchfield, Connecticut, the Litchfield Hills Road Race
continues to challenge and delight world-class runners, first-timers, and everyone
 in between. In celebration of the race's 40th anniversary, the Litchfield Historical Society
 is releasing the first comprehensive history of the event This book captures the
spirit of a beloved community event and the quintessential New England town
which embraced it, and serves as a tribute to the race's creator Joe Concannon,
a sportswriter for The Boston Globe who wanted nothing more than
 to share his hometown and his love of running with the world.
 Photo from 1988 Road Race
Copies of the book are available!
E-mail us to place an order
or stop by the Museum Shop today.

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America’s Pastimes:
Sports and Recreation in Litchfield
Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it
to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play
important roles in our lives. They help us form connections with family,
friends, and neighbors. Activities encourage us to move, to think,
and to interact with our surroundings.
Opening Saturday, April 16, the Litchfield Historical Society’s
new exhibit America’s Pastimes: Sports and Recreation in Litchfield,
highlights the role of sports and recreation in town, showcasing the stories and
experiences of Litchfield residents, players, coaches, fans, and enthusiasts.

Alexander Dubois ~ Curator of Library and Archives

Envisioned from the beginning as an exhibit to highlight the stories of
the Litchfield community, America’s Pastimes includes numerous
photographs, objects, and memories submitted by residents of Bantam,
East Litchfield, Litchfield, Milton, and Northfield. Objects loaned for the
exhibit include a megaphone used by the Litchfield Hills Rowing Club;
an original, snail-shaped mile marker from the Litchfield Hills Road Race;
field hockey gear from the Marvelous Mothers team; and much more.
The exhibit incorporates several hands-on interactives for visitors to enjoy.

America’s Pastimes: Sports and Recreation will be on view through November 26, 2017.
The Litchfield History Museum’s hours are Tuesday through Saturday,
11:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Sunday, 1:00 to 5:00 pm.

A series of programs will be held in conjunction with the exhibit.  
In our continuing efforts to better serve the Litchfield community
 we are pleased to announce that admission to the Litchfield History Museum
and the Tapping Reeve House & Law School is now free to the public.

The Litchfield History Museum is located at 7 South St., Litchfield, CT.
For more information about this or other programs,
or call (860) 567-4501.

***************
Looking to Volunteer?
Join the Litchfield Historical Society!
Do you love history? Do you enjoy talking to new people and telling them
about Litchfield and the surrounding area? If so, the Litchfield Historical Society
 would love to hear from you! We are looking for additional people to join
 our dedicated corps of volunteers at the Litchfield History Museum.
The History Museum opens for the season on Saturday, April 16, 2016.
Volunteers at the Litchfield History Museum are the first friendly faces visitors
see when they enter the museum. Front desk volunteers orient visitors to the
building and exhibits, help them in the gift shop, and answer any questions
they might have about Litchfield and its history.

Volunteers are needed for two-hour shifts,
Tuesday through Thursday.
The Museum is open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Volunteers must be at least 14 years of age.
For more information, please contact the Historical Society
by calling (860) 567-4501
The Litchfield History Museum is located at 7 South Street, Litchfield, CT.
For more information about our programs, please call (860) 567-4501

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Official Historian of Major League Baseball
talk by John Thorn
on Litchfield resident Louis Fenn Wadsworth,
the least known of baseball's founding fathers
Sunday, April 24, 2016
John Thorn, Official Historian of Major League Baseball, gave a talk
about former Litchfield resident Louis Fenn Wadsworth, the least
known of baseball's founding fathers on Sunday, April 24, 2016
at the Litchfield Historical Society.





The lecture was presented in conjunction with the new exhibition
 America's Pastimes: Sports and Recreation in Litchfield, which highlights
 the role of sports and recreation in town from its founding to today,
showcasing the stories and experiences of Litchfield
residents, players, coaches, fans, and sports enthusiasts.

Louis F. Wadsworth grew up in Litchfield and graduated from Hartford's
Washington College (today's Trinity). He is the least known of baseball's
true fathers (apart from the false claims made for several others including
Abner Doubleday and Alexander Cartwright). Wadsworth is the man
responsible for baseball being nine innings with nine men to the side.

John Thorn, who spent thirty years researching baseball's
 earliest period. Some of the story is told in Thorn's book,
Baseball Garden of Eden, but the rest will be unveiled in this talk.

John Thorn is the Official Historian of Major League Baseball. Apart from his
creation, with Pete Palmer, of Total Baseball, he is often visible on TV and
the web as a sports authority and commentator. He was also a major on-screen
presence in and chief consultant to Ken Burns's PBS film  Baseball, and is now
reprising that role with Florentine Films for Race Man: The Life and Times of
Jackie Robinson (PBS, 2016).  Thorn co-wrote The Hidden Game of Baseball,
which established alternative statistics later recognized
 and adopted as official by Major League Baseball.

His many baseball books over the past four decades also include
Treasures of the Baseball Hall of Fame, The Game for All America, and Our Game,
and Baseball in the Garden of Eden: A Secret History of the Early Game.  

He appears irregularly in the Boston Globe, New York Times,
Wall Street Journal, and New York Times Book Review.
He is editor of BASE BALL: A Journal of the Early Game, a scholarly annual.
This event was generously sponsored by CT Humanities.

***************
New sports and recreation exhibit is in build mode
Litchfield.bz (01-31-16)
The Litchfield Historical Society's new exhibit, “America’s Pastimes,
Sports and Recreation in Litchfield,” will be unveiled in April, but the public was
able to get an initial look Saturday at some of the items that could be part of it.
 
It was an opportunity for the public to share items, photos and memories with
the new curator of collections at the historical society, Alex Dubois.

 
Alex Dubois is the new Curator of Collections
at the Litchfield Historical Society. - BZ photos
Dubois joined the staff of the historical society in August. He earned
a masters degree in museum studies in May 2015 from the State University
of New York at Oneonta. His first major project at the historical society is
the exhibit documenting the history of sports and recreation in Litchfield.

 
On Saturday, Dubois invited local residents to stop by and share experiences
and provide items that might be displayed in the new exhibit. He has already
 gathered a sizeable collection and is anxious to expand it.
 
Dubois has been to the Village Restaurant to chat with locals about the
Litchfield Hills Road Race and Litchfield High School's boys basketball state
championship teams. He has also collected information about swimming,
soccer, baseball, field hockey, golf, tennis, horse and pony shows,
 rodeo events, rowing and cross-country.

 
Litchfield Historical Society members will get a sneak preview of the
exhibit before it opens. Click here to learn more about membership.
Dubois can be reached by email at adubois@litchfield historical society.org.

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Litchfield Light-Up Night
Crafts at the Litchfield Historical Society
Sunday, November 29, 2015 ~ bz photos
 

 

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Free Family Day
Saturday, November 7, 2015
photos by Megan Olver


****************
Looking to Volunteer?
Join the Litchfield Historical Society!
Do you love history? Do you enjoy talking to new people and telling them about
Litchfield and the surrounding area? If so, the Litchfield Historical Society
would love to hear from you! We are looking for additional people to join
our dedicated corps of volunteers at the Litchfield History Museum.


Volunteers at the Litchfield History Museum are the first friendly faces
visitors see when they enter the museum. Front desk volunteers orient
visitors to the building and exhibits, help them in the gift shop, and answer
any questions they might have about Litchfield and its history.

Volunteers are needed for two-hour shifts, Tuesday through Thursday.
The Museum is open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Volunteers must be at least 14 years of age.
For more information, please contact
the Historical Society by calling (860) 567-4501

The Litchfield History Museum is located at 7 South Street, Litchfield, CT.
For more information about our programs, please call (860) 567-4501

****************
Annual Pet Parade and
Turn-of-the-Century Fest
  Saturday, July 4, 2015
The Litchfield Historical Society hosted the annual Pet Parade and Turn of the Century Fest on July 4th
to celebrate Independence Day with a long standing Litchfield tradition established during colonial days.
 

   

 

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1st Northwest CT CultureMAX Awards
November 18th @ Infinity Hall
hosted by the NW CT Arts Council
Before now, there has been no regional recognition event for those involved in the cultural
community in northwest Connecticut. The aim of the CultureMAX awards is to recognize individuals
 and businesses who exemplify excellence in the cultural field or in serving the cultural community
within the Council’s 25-town service area. The CultureMAX Awards event offers an opportunity
 to celebrate, recognize and be inspired by the stories of those being recognized, whose
positive impact in their fields has elevated art and culture in the region.

The first recipients to be recognized through the new annual CultureMAX awards were
Sharon Dante, Founder of The Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts in Torrington in the Artist category;
Catherine Fields, Executive Director of the Litchfield Historical Society in the Heritage Professional category;
Janet Rathbun of Colebrook in the Volunteer category; Five Points Gallery in Torrington in the Cultural Organization
category; and The North End Store in Barkhamsted in the culture-loving Business category.

L-R: Sharon Dante of Nutmeg Conservatory (Artist award), Janet Rathbun of Colebrook (Volunteer award),
Judith McElhone of Five Points Gallery (Cultural Organization award),
Dennis Bialek (award sculptor), Catherine Fields of Litchfield Historical Society
 (Heritage Professional award), and Brenda Pelletier of the North End Store
 in Barhamsted (Business award). ~ photo contributed

 
Cathy Fields (left) addresses the audience after receiving the 1st CultureMAX Award for the
Litchfield Historical Society in the Heritage Professional Category. She attended the awards
ceremony with her husband Jay and LHS Board member Rod Oneglia (right). ~ photos contributed

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Artists donate work for historical society event
Litchfield.bz (06-01-14)
Ray Gibney of Litchfield with, from left, Rosie Furniss, Trish O'Reilly and Ella Crampton Knox
during Saturday's fundraiser at the Litchfield Historical Society. ~ BZ photos

A big crowd turned out Saturday evening for the Litchfield Historical
Society's inaugural Spring into Litchfield fundraiser.

The works of 40 local painters, photographers, and woodworkers were auctioned
off to raise money for the historical society's education mission.

Participating artists created artwork for a silent auction showing Litchfield’s natural beauty
and historic architecture. Two paintings, one each by renowned painters Ella Crampton Knox
and Curtis Hanson, were sold during a live auction and raised more than $3,000.

Knox was on the organizing committee for the fundraiser along with
Rosie Furniss, Trish O'Reilly, Mike Quagland and Susan Spencer.
Chip Spencer, with help from historical society
Executive Director Cathy Fields, conducts the live auction.
Cathy Fields rings a bell to get everyone's attention.

****************
Litchfield Historical Society Archives
Acquires Exciting New Items
October was American Archives Month and one way we celebrated at the Litchfield Historical Society
was to welcoming some fabulous new collections! The first was an incredible addition to an earlier
donation of ninety-seven ledgers documenting the business activities of Litchfield County merchant
and U.S. Senator Elijah Boardman given to the Society in 2012. In October, we received more than
twenty additional ledgers, and several boxes of family and business correspondence, from Boardman
descendant Caroline McDaniel Lamphier. The papers document an intricate pattern in which local
agricultural goods, received in trade or purchased, were shipped to New York and sold at a premium.
Boardman brought back rum, molasses, and a large variety of textiles to sell in the local market.
They also provide a window into politics, race, education, and other issues of the era.

That same month, Tracy Griswold donated papers of her mother, Anne Lyon Haight. An aficionado of
air travel, Haight was a passenger on several of Charles Lindbergh’s flights. The papers document
the interesting manner in which she managed to secure her place on board, and include clippings,
photographs, and articles she wrote about the experience.

One other item of interested added in October was a fantastic broadside that proclaimed,
“Sportsmen! Help Us Fight Pollution!” It was printed by the Litchfield County League
of Sportsmen’s Clubs in 1951 and given to the Society by Guy Livolsi.

Later in the year, we were able to add to our documentation of modern Litchfield with two
significant donations. Thomas Hogan, who served on the Litchfield Board of Selectmen,
donated his collection of records from his time serving in that capacity. While town hall is
required to preserve minutes of that board, the extensive collection adds to that documentation
with Hogan’s notes, clippings, and other related material. It joins the Thomas Hogan
Litchfield Schools Planning Committee papers which document the Committee's work
to formulate options for the renovation and expansion of Litchfield's
intermediate and high schools which was donated in 2003.

The second collection came from Harry Colvocoresses, who also donated records documenting
his service to the town. His collection of Litchfield County Housing Authority Records includes
meeting minutes, his notes, and other documentation of the activities of the Housing Authority.

As if that were not enough to fill our shelves, we also happily accepted Stoddard genealogy files
given by Caroline Epp; a variety of Litchfield papers including those documenting the Adams
and Coe families from Malcom Bramley; and a large collection of Charles D. Buel’s diaries
and ledgers given by Peter Buell Archer. The Society also added several letters written by
Litchfield Female Academy student Maria Cooke Smith, wife of Truman Smith,
which were bequeathed with a portrait of Smith.

We are fortunate to have so many generous donors and are busily working to create description
and proper housing for these collections. As always, if you have documents or artifacts you are
interested in donating, please contact Linda Hocking, curator of library and archives, at 860-567-4501.
Remember, the recent past will one day be the distant past!

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Holiday Ornament Making
Sunday, December 1, 2013
 

****************
Day-long Symposium
Groundbreaking Women: Garden Design and the Colonial Revival
Monday, October 28, 2013
@ Litchfield History Museum
L-R: Susan Williams, Jenny Rose Carey, and Judith B. Tankard

As part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Litchfield Garden Club, the Litchfield Historical
Society sponsored a one-day symposium, "Groundbreaking Women: Garden Design and the Colonial Revival,"
on Monday, October 28th. The speakers focused on the Colonial Revival gardens and garden design,
looking at the role of women and the ways in which they used gardening as a means of extending
their concerns and activities from the private, domestic sphere to civic beautification and conservation.

The guest speakers are well-known in the fields of
American and horticultural history, botany, and journalism.

Judith B. Tankard-landscape historian, author, and preservation consultant
discussed influential, early 20th-century garden designers Beatrix Farrand
and Ellen Shipman and their contribution to the history of landscape architecture.

Mac Keith Griswold, journalist, garden historian, and director of archival research at the
Sylvester Manor Project, Shelter Island, New York, delivered a talk based on her new book,
The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island, and Cornelia Horsford,
the first woman in her family's history to own this property.

In "Learn to Grow:- 'the trained hand with the trained mind,'" Jenny Rose Carey,
director of the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University, explored the Victorian study
of nature and botany morphed into the struggle by women to study horticulture
and landscape design in the early twentieth century.

Susan Williams, professor of U.S. history at Fitchburg State University,discussed the deep
messages within Alice Morse Earle's popular early twentieth-century books on gardening.
While Earle discussed garden design, she also reflected her deeply held faith in the
educational and therapeutic power of gardens and gardening.

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New Fall Fest to Celebrate
the Changing of the Seasons in Litchfield
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Tapping Reeve House Lawn


 

   

 

   

 

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Search the Litchfield Historical Society's Collection Online!
The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the launch of Collection Space,
a new online searchable database that makes viewable to the public information
about items held in the museum collection.

Only a small percentage of the museum's rich collection can be on view in the museum at one time
and this new tool allows users to explore the wide array of objects preserved at the Historical Society.
Through the keyword and advanced search functions, users can search through thousands of objects
from the Litchfield Historical Society collection, including clothing, furniture, needlework, paintings, prints,
drawings, household objects, and more. This 6,000 item database represents a third of our total collection,
so please be sure to check back in often, since staff is adding new records and additional information every day.

To explore the Historical Society's collections through Collection Space,
please see our website at www.litchfieldhistoricalsosciety.org
and click on the online collections link.

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New Exhibit Opens at Litchfield Historical Society:
"Coloring the Past: Lantern Slides of Litchfield's Gardens"
A new exhibition highlighting lantern slides of Litchfield's gardens
opened at the Litchfield History Museum on September 3, 2013.  

At the close of World War I, the Garden Club of America took the beginning steps of a
project that would document their members' gardens through photographic slides and help
unify member clubs from around the country. As participants in this project, members of the
Litchfield Garden Club had colored lantern slides of their gardens made in the 1920s and 1930s.
These beautiful images not only document the gardens of Litchfield's past, but also showcase the
skilled artistry that went into every hand-colored slide during the early years of garden photography.
Drawing on the Litchfield Garden Club collection in the Historical Society's Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library,
the exhibition will feature enlarged slides allowing the viewer to step into Litchfield's beautifully colored past.
Visitors will also learn more about the history of the lantern slide project, Litchfield's local garden club,
and local Litchfield photographer Gladys Mattson.

"Coloring the Past: Lantern Slides of Litchfield's Gardens"
will be on view at the Litchfield History Museum through December 1.
For more information visit www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org ,
or call (860)-567-4501.

The Litchfield History Museum is located at 7 South Street, Litchfield, Connecticut.
The History Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm,
and Sunday, 1:00 to 5:00 pm.
Contact: Kate Baldwin, Curator of Education

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Civil War Experience
Friday, August 16, 2013
photos by Elizabeth O'Grady
 

 

 

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The Litchfield Historical Society
Wins 2013 AASLH Award of Merit
NASHVILLE, TN-June 2013-The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announces that the Litchfield Historical Society is the recipient of an Award of Merit from the AASLH Leadership in History Awards for their new book, Litchfield: The Making of a New England Town by Rachel Carley. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 68th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.  

Published by the Litchfield Historical Society, Litchfield is the first comprehensive documentation of the town to appear since 1920. In documenting the building traditions that define the community's distinctive sense of place, this important book makes a compelling case for preserving a remarkably rich cultural inheritance, while presenting a perceptive portrait of a Connecticut town whose story resonates far beyond its borders.     

Litchfield: The Making of a New England Town is a lively exploration of the town's history and architecture, not only during the colonial period but also during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The book is generously illustrated with maps, photographs, and paintings of this quintessential New England town, including many that are published for the first time.

Rachel Carley, a preservation consultant and architectural historian, holds a masters degree in historic preservation from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture and Planning. Her previous books include Building Greenwich, Architecture and Design, 1640 to the Present; The Visual Dictionary of American Domestic Architecture; Cuba: Four Hundred Years of Architectural Heritage; Cabin Fever; A Guide to Biltmore Estate; and Wilderness A to Z. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times and Architectural Record. Ms. Carley is a resident of Litchfield.

This year, AASLH is proud to confer eighty-eight national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, books, and organizations. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history.  The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States.  The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also brings public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena.  For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at 615-320-3203, or go to www.aaslh.org.

The American Association for State and Local History is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history.  From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH provides leadership, service, and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful in American society.  AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, and monthly newsletter.  The association also sponsors regional and national training workshops and an annual meeting.

In addition to the AASLH award, Litchfield won the Historic New England 2012 Annual Book Prize, the 2012 Linley Award from the Association for the Study of Connecticut History, and was named Best in Category at the 55th Annual New England Book Show, an annual juried show that recognizes the year's most outstanding work by New England publishers, printers and graphic designers.

Litchfield: The Making of a New England Town is available for purchase from the Litchfield Historical Society.  For more information call 860-567-4501 or visit www.litchfieldhistoricalsaociety.org

Contacts:     
Catherine Fields, Director, Litchfield Historical Society, cfields@litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org, 860-567-4501
Bethany Hawkins, AASLH, hawkins@aaslh.org, 615-320-3203

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The Art of Advertising
Taking a walk through Litchfield's center you can't help
but notice the businesses lining West Street.
Brightly colored window displays catch your eye.
Perhaps you smell lunch being served in a nearby restaurant.
To distinguish themselves from each other, each business
has a sign hanging outside the door.
While many things have changed over the past two hundred years, one thing has remained the same:
Litchfield is dotted with signs. The Litchfield Historical Society's new exhibition,
The Art of Advertising: Signs around Town, will explore these symbols that
mark the retailers, museums, schools, and establishments that make up the community.

These beautifully crafted objects let us know what can be found behind
each door, and each has something to reveal about the establishments
that have helped create the community in which we live.

Come see 19th- and 20th- century signs from the museum collection and learn more
about the businesses that helped shape Litchfield's past.
This exhibit will be on view through the end of June, 2013.

The Litchfield History Museum is located at 7 South Street, Litchfield, CT.
The History Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm,
and Sunday, 1:00 to 5:00 pm.
For more information, please call (860) 567-4501

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New Acquisitions: The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
Most everyone has heard the nursery rhyme "The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe,"
but have you seen her? The Litchfield Historical Society is delighted to announce
the addition of a unique new folk art item to its museum collection.
Handmade by Betsey Brace, the small leather shoe seen here depicts
 "The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe,"
 complete with all ten children and the old woman inside.
Betsey was the wife of Abel Brace--a nephew of Sarah Pierce.

Family tradition holds that Betsey attended the Litchfield Female Academy as a young woman.
This charming decoration was displayed in a place of prominence in Betsey and
Abel's parlor throughout the maker's life until it was passed to a granddaughter.
The shoe remained in the family well into the twentieth century
and was recently acquired by the Historical Society.

Interested in seeing the shoe in person? Stop in when the museum opens in
April to see the shoe on display in the Liggett Gallery alongside other
objects related to the Litchfield Female Academy.

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Pet Parade and Turn-of-the-Century Fest
Thursday, July 4, 2013






 

 









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Lecture Series:
History and Crème Brûlée
Sunday, January 27, 2013
@ St. Michael's Community House
Author Thomas J. Craughwell, author of the new history Thomas Jefferson's Crème Brûlée.
Craughwell discussed how Jefferson and his slave James Hemings changed the way we cook.
Because of his love of fine cuisine, Jefferson brought Hemings with him across
the Atlantic to master the art of French cooking. The two men brought back new
foods with them-including French fries, macaroni and cheese, pasta, and crème brûlée-
to America. In exchange for his intense training, Hemings received his freedom.
Join us as we learn about this fascinating time in American food history.
Thomas J. Craughwell is the author of numerous books, including Stealing Lincoln's Body
(which also became a History Channel documentary), Saints Behaving Badly, and
The Rise and Fall of the Second Largest Empire in History:
How Genghis Khan's Mongols Almost Conquered the World.
His articles have appeared in the New York Times,
the Wall Street Journal, and the American Spectator.

Thomas Jefferson's Crème Brûlée has already won an award for Best Culinary History (US)
from France's Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, and is a contender for the world prize,
to be awarded at the Louvre in February. Craughwell is a resident of Bethel, Connecticut.

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Book by Litchfield author receives
Historic New England Book Prize award
L-R: Jessica Jenkins (Curator of Collections), Linda Hocking (Curator of Library and Archives),
Rachel Carley (receiving award), Clo Tepper (presenting award) and Catherine Fields (Executive Director)

On Saturday, November 3rd, Rachel Carley received an award for
Litchfield: The Making of a New England Town
as Historic New England’s eighteenth Book Prize.
Litchfield: The Making of a New England Town is a lively exploration of the
 town’s history and architecture, not only during the colonial period,
but also during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The book is generously illustrated with maps, photographs, and paintings
of this quintessential New England town, including many
that are published for the first time.

Carley is a preservation consultant and architectural historian.
Her previous books include:
Building Greenwich, Architecture and Design, 1640 to the Present;
The Visual Dictionary of American Domestic Architecture;
Cuba: Four Hundred Years of Architectural Heritage;
Cabin Fever; A Guide to Biltmore Estate; and Wilderness A to Z.
She is a resident of Litchfield.

About Historic New England’s Book Prize
The Historic New England Book Prize recognizes works that advance the
understanding of the architecture, landscape, and material culture of New England
and the United States from the seventeenth century to the present.

This includes works in the decorative arts, archaeology, historic preservation,
and the history of photography. To qualify, works need not deal exclusively
with New England but must make a significant contribution to our
understanding of New England and its relation to the wider world.


About Historic New England
Historic New England is the oldest, largest, and most
comprehensive regional heritage organization in the nation.

We bring history to life while preserving the past for everyone
interested in exploring the authentic New England experience
from the seventeenth century to today.

Historic New England owns and operates thirty-six historic
homes and landscapes spanning five states.

The organization shares the region’s history through vast collections,
publications, public programs, museum properties, archives, and family stories
that document more than 400 years of life in New England.
For more information visit HistoricNewEngland.org.

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Eighteenth Annual Borough Days
Sunday, September 9, 2012
on the Litchfield Green






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Photos from the Civil War Experience
Our eighteen soldiers had a great time last week learning
about the causes of the Civil War, making crafts and hardtack,
playing games, and meeting a reenactor from
the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery.

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TEA TIME: Deming Family Silver on View!
The Litchfield Historical Society is excited to announce that
Julius Deming's silver tea service will now call our museum home.
This extraordinary piece of local history was recently
donated to the Historical Society through the generosity of Mrs. Ellen Deming Small
and is now on display in the Litchfield History Museum.

The five piece silver tea service, made by Marquand and Company
of New York City between 1833 and 1838, was purchased by Mr. Deming late in his life.
Upon Mr. Deming's death in 1838, his daughter Lucretia took possession of the family silver,
and she then gave it as a wedding gift to her nephew, J. Deming Perkins, in 1868.
The tea service passed down through the family, most recently being cared for by Mrs. Small
who donated it to the Litchfield Historical Society at the end of April.

These silver tea services, made by talented silversmiths,
were considered an upscale improvement on ceramic tea sets.
Like many 18th and 19th century tea services, Mr. Deming's beautiful set includes
the typical teapot, matching coffee pot, sugar bowl, creamer, and waste bowl for used tea.
As a thriving politician and merchant dealing in imported goods from Europe and China,
Julius Deming communicated his success and prominence even through his choice in silver.

To view pieces of the Deming silver tea service
drop by the museum during our open hours
on Tuesday - Saturday, 11 am to 5 pm, or Sunday, 1 pm to 5 pm.

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The Hour of Conflict,
Litchfield Historical Society’s
Civil War Exhibition
The Litchfield Historical Society’s exhibition
The Hour of Conflict examines the ways in which the American Civil War
impacted the residents of Litchfield, Connecticut in the 1860s.
Although no battles occurred in Connecticut, local Litchfield families
were directly affected by the events of the Civil War.

Men departed town to enlist in the Union army,
leaving their families behind to worry and wonder,
waiting for a letter to make its way from a campground or battlefield.
Women spent their time sewing clothing, wrapping bandages,
and sending packages to their loved ones on the front lines.
How did Litchfield families deal with the anxiety of war?
How did they mourn, celebrate and cope?

The Litchfield Historical Society invites visitors and families
of all ages to examine these questions through letters,
diaries, photographs, and artifacts from the Historical Society’s collections.
Articles carried by local soldiers, everyday objects used by Litchfield’s children,
and items related to Dr. Josiah Gale Beckwith and the Litchfield Peace Movement
are just some of the collection pieces that will be highlighted.
Visitors will also have the chance to view Civil War uniforms
thanks to the Museum of Connecticut History and the Cornwall Historical Society.
The exhibit will also incorporate hands-on activities
and the opportunity to experience camp life as
Litchfield’s men did more than a century and a half ago.
Students of the Litchfield Montessori School will act as Junior Curators
to research, design, and create a special portion of the exhibition.

The Hour of Conflict will run through the 2012 and 2013 seasons
at the Litchfield History Museum, located at 7 South Street in Litchfield.
For more information visit www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org or call (860) 567-4501.

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Pet Parade and Turn-of-the-Century Fest
July 4, 2012

Video by Spencer Poulin

bz photos
bz photos
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Photos from Adventures in
Early America
The week-long Adventures in Early America was a success!
From a Litchfield walking tour, to learning code with Benjamin Tallmadge,
to ice cream making, our young participants had a great time!
Click here to see photos from the week on ye olde Facebook.

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Family Day visitors relive the past
Litchfield.bz (05-21-12)
Family Day at the Litchfield Historical Society on Saturday
provided a free afternoon of experiences, entertainment and information
to learn more the rich history of Litchfield.

Activities included a bandage rolling race, music, Civil War era refreshments
and a historical scavenger hunt around Litchfield center.

Visitors discovered what life was like in Litchfield and on the battlefield
during the Civil War in conjunction with the new exhibition,
“The Hour of Conflict.” Re-enactors from the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery
were on hand to tell tales about Civil War camp life and answer questions.

Throughout the afternoon, local musical group “Free Thought”
performed British and Scots-Irish songs adapted by American soldiers during the Civil War.

The Litchfield History Museum is located at 7 South Street in Litchfield, CT.
For more information about this or other programs, please call (860) 567-4501

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Junior Curators from Litchfield Montessori School
Play Important Role in New Civil War Exhibition
A small group of students from the Litchfield Montessori School
have joined with the Litchfield Historical Society’s Junior Curator program
to curate the death and dying component of the Society’s new
Civil War exhibit, The Hour of Conflict.

Guided by their teachers and staff members at the Historical Society,
the three Junior Curators spent weeks scouring into soldier’s letters
and advertisements of the time period; delving into contemporary readings
on mourning customs and the Civil War; and gaining hands-on research experience
in the archives and collections storage, where they learned how to use
a microfilm reader and gathered the best artifacts to convey Civil War-era
mourning customs to museum visitors.
Finally, the Junior Curators composed museum labels
and will install their portion of the exhibit at the beginning of April.

Some of the pieces the Junior Curators found intriguing will be on display,
including a pocket watch carried by Sgt. General E. Goodwin Osborn
and advertisements for mourning clothing.
Junior Curator Brooke Hurst says that this experience
“improved (her) ability to research a topic
and then present the key information in a display for others to view”
and that she “learned a tremendous amount of Civil War history
by taking part in activities, such as transcribing letters
and researching information about the culture of mourning.”

The Hour of Conflict opened to the public on Saturday, April 14.

The Litchfield Historical Society is located at 7 South Street in Litchfield, CT.
For more information about this or other events, please call (860) 567-4501,

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Author of new book on Litchfield signs copies
Litchfield.bz (12-10-11)
Rachel Carley, author of "Litchfield - The Making of a New England Town,"
signed copies of her book at the Litchfield Historical Society on Friday.
Below, Martha and Kevin Phillips of Goshen wait for their copy to be signed. BZ photos
A big crowd filled the Litchfield Historical Society on Friday evening
for a book signing by Rachel Carley, author of the newly-published
"Litchfield - The Making of a New England Town."

The 304-page hardcover tells a story of Litchfield
beginning with its incorporation in 1715
and focuses on the town's historic buildings and landscapes.
It is the first comprehensive documentation of the town's history since 1920.

The historical society published the book, which is on sale for $75
and contracted with Carley to be its author. Carley lives in Litchfield
and is an independent preservation consultant and architectural historian.

Material Carley mined from the archives of the historical society
is combined with recent photographs of the town and its landscapes,
three of which were taken by Scott Petersen of Morris (below).
Above, photographer Scott Petersen of Morris
displays one of his three photos published in the book and below,
Carley signs a copy for Hugh Schoelzel of Litchfield. BZ photos


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'Litchfield: The Making of a New England Town'
It's here! The first history of Litchfield to be published in nearly 100 years,
this lively portrait of the town is sumptuously illustrated
with rarely seen maps, photographs, and paintings.

Architectural historian, preservation consultant, and local resident Rachel Carley
engages readers with an expansive view of the town's rich heritage
through its buildings and landscapes in Litchfield Village,
Bantam, Northfield, Milton, and South Farms.

The book is now available in the Museum Gift Shop

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'Make Your Own Gingerbread House'
Tuesday, December 13th @ Litchfield History Museum
photos by Elizabeth O'Grady



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Borough Days celebrates 1800's in Litchfield
Litchfield.bz (09-12-11)
A sample of what life was like in Litchfield during the 1800s
returned to the Green on Sunday when the Litchfield Historical Society
held is annual Borough Days celebration.

There were old-time craftsmen and musicians and a demonstration
by the 5th Connecticut Regiment, a Civil War reenactment group.

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Children experience lesson in Civil War history
Litchfield.bz (08-20-11)
Litchfield's Green provided the backdrop for a lesson on Civil War history
from the likes of Paul Cerruto, above, and other re-enactors from the
2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery Regiment.

Cerruto was and the group were part of the Litchfield Historical Society's
"Civil War Experience," a weeklong program for children that
focused on the history of the war and how Litchfield was involved.

The 2nd Connecticut consisted of men from Litchfield County
who trained at Camp Dutton in town and met on the Green
for a final farewell before leaving for Washington, D.C.

The regiment first guarded Washington and later fought
at the Battle of Cold Harbor in Virginia.

The appearance by Cerruto and other re-enactors
concluded the program. BZ photos


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Harriet Beecher Stowe's 200th birthday
The Litchfield Historical Society celebrated the 200th birthday of
Litchfield native Harriet Beecher Stowe with events
for children in the afternoon and a book discussion in the evening.

Jane Sabatelli of Torrington, a Harriet Beecher Stowe impersonator
was featured during the children's events.

In the evening, Jerry Geci of Litchfield
led a discussion of Stowe's book, "Poganuc People."

Stowe's most famous work among the more than
30 books she authored was "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

Harriet Beecher Stowe was born on June 14, 1811 in Litchfield
and spent her childhood in the Beecher family home on North Street.

Her father, Lyman Beecher, was an eminent reverend at the town's Congregational Church,
and Stowe and several of her siblings attended the Litchfield Female Academy.

Though most well-known for writing the anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin,
Stowe penned over 30 books, including Poganuc People,
an autobiographical novel based on her own childhood in Litchfield.

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Event pays tribute to Litchfield's role in Civil War
Litchfield.bz (05-15-11)


photos by John McKenna
Re-enactors from the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery leave Camp Dutton in Litchfield
 on their way to the Green for a Civil War remembrance. Photo by John McKenna

A celebration held on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War
drew more than 50 uniformed re-enactors playing the roles of Union soldiers,
local residents and town and state officials to the Green in Litchfield on Saturday.

Litchfield's entry into the war came in 1862 when the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery
mustered at Camp Dutton and received a farewell on the exact spot
on the Green where Saturday's festivities were held.

Paul Cerruto of Morris, a re-enactor with the 2nd Connecticut, came up with the idea
for the celebration and signed up the Litchfield Historical Society as a sponsor.
Cerruto and his fellow re-enactors even camped out at Camp Dutton on Friday and Saturday nights.

The re-enactors marched from Camp Dutton to the Green to reprise the farewell ceremony,
which saw William Curtis Noyes, a Litchfield lawyer played by Willi Runk of Bristol,
address the troops and present colors.

Selectman Paul Parsons played the role of Litchfield First Selectman Issac Morris.
Re-enactors also played Gov. William Buckingham, Litchfield's own Harriet Beecher Stowe,
Julia Tallmadge Noyes, and Bantam resident Howard Bissell.

The 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery was initially assigned to guard Washington, D.C.
But in June of 1864, the regiment was called to the front line by
Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and fought at the Battle of Cold Harbor in Virginia.
By then the regiment had been re-named the 19th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry.

Below, Litchfield Selectman Paul Parsons, left, as Civil War era First Selectman Isaac Morris,
and Willi Runk of Bristol, as William Curtis Noyes of Litchfield. Photo by John McKenna

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Litchfield Borough Days
September 12, 2010

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Collection Documents the Revolutionary War through the Colonial Revival
The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the availability of an

Emancipation papers, commissary accounts, international trade,
the Countess Mary von Waldersee- this one has it all.
The collection documents several generations of Litchfield residents
from the late 18th to early 20th centuries.

The patriarchs earned wealth through their activities as merchants,
traders, and investors, enabling them, and members of subsequent generations,
to live lives free from financial concern, if not outright luxury.
The collection also provides evidence of their servants and slaves.
Julius Deming
Portrait Miniature
Invitation to a ball to
Julius Deming's daughter Dorothy

The papers of Julius Deming (1755-1838), born in North Lyme, Conn.,
highlight his work during the Revolutionary War in the commissary department
with his uncles Henry and Epaphroditus Champion.

A detailed account of the attack on Stony Point in 1777
challenges the account provided to General Washington.

In 1781, Deming married his first cousin, Dorothy Champion (1759-1830)
of Colchester, Conn., and relocated to Litchfield.

Following the war, Deming became a leading merchant
during the town's most prosperous period.

He was also politically active in his town and in the new nation.
The papers of the Deming children are also included.
Son Charles was plagued by bad health.

Correspondence in the collection details his many doctors' visits,
treatments, and even a respite in the West Indies,
accompanied by his sister Lucretia, in the 1830s
culminating with a harrowing trip back to the United States.
Engraving of Julius Deming
Charles Deming House, Litchfield

Charles's sister Clarissa married Charles Perkins,
a graduate of the Litchfield Law School.

Perkins family papers include documentation of voyages
of a sea faring family, including Captain Andrew Perkins
account detailing "two negroes" as part of his cargo.

Charles Perkins also kept a journal of a sea voyage
he embarked on as a 15 year old boy, and a voyage with his sister
as a younger child is documented as well.

Clarissa Deming Perkins
Portrait Miniature
Mary Perkins Quincy

While the papers of Charles and Clarissa's children have not yet been processed,
they comprise a significant collection of materials and are listed in the finding aid.

Charles and Clarissa's daughter, Lucretia Deming Perkins,
married John Williams Quincy.

The papers of their daughter, Litchfield grande dame Mary Perkins Quincy (1866-1921),
comprise the remainder of this remarkable collection.

Quincy's papers reflect her extravagant lifestyle and include
correspondence, ephemera and mementos of her domestic and international travels,
genealogical records, and items relating to her affiliations with memorial institutions.

Her correspondences with family, diplomats, and members of several royal families
span the globe, documenting Prussia, Canada, Switzerland, Austria-Hungary,
Great Britain, Russia, France, Italy, Morocco, Greece and Egypt.

She co-authored a privately published book
entitled Pages of Azure and Gold with Sarah Gardiner.
Ardley, Mary Perkins Quincy's
Litchfield Home
Julius Deming House, Litchfield

The remarkable papers, notable for both the span of time
they encompass and the considerable writings of women they include
addressing everything from issues of religious conversion, race relations,
and political matters to family affairs, are now open to researchers.

Papers created prior to 1840 have been thoroughly processed,
and all of papers in the collection have been listed in this finding aid.

Staff will continue to add description for later materials.
Processing this collection has been made possible by several granting agencies
including the Council on Library and Information Resources,
the Connecticut Humanities Council,
and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

The Litchfield Historical Society is dedicated
to collecting, preserving, and interpreting
the history of Litchfield, Connecticut.

Its Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library is open year round,
Tuesday through Friday, from 10 AM-12 PM and 1 PM-4 PM.

Litchfield History Museum
Collections
There are two ways to learn about the collections online.
To read a description, go to Scope of the Collections.
To view images, choose Highlights of the Collections.



The Reeve House and Litchfield Law School
Tapping Reeve House & Law School takes visitors on a journey
through the life of a real student from the early 19th century.
Through role-playing, hands-on areas, and interpretive exhibits,
each visitor explores timeless issues of travel, communication, education, and community.

Visitors meet the students as they watch the introductory video Coming to Litchfield.
They discover the students' stories as they try on clothes that a student might have worn,
make decisions about what supplies to buy, and vote on issues of the day.

More about the Litchfield Law School

The Reeve House & Law School is open mid-April through November.
Click on the link above for complete information about hours, fees and directions.

In 1773, the newly married Tapping Reeve and Sally Burr Reeve
settled in Litchfield where Reeve promptly established a legal practice.

The following year, Sally's brother Aaron Burr
came to live with them and Reeve began to instruct him in the law.

Several prominent residents of Litchfield also sent their sons to Reeve
for legal training, establishing his reputation as a teacher and forming the nucleus
of what was to become America's first formal school of law.


More than 1,100 students attended the school before it closed in 1833.
The Litchfield Historical Society has compiled a list of them.

Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library
THE HELGA J. INGRAHAM MEMORIAL LIBRARY
is open free of charge and year round to all researchers.

Materials may be used in the library reading room, but do not circulate.

Staff members are always available to help researchers.
A photocopier and a microfilm reader/printer are available for patron use.

The library is located on the ground floor of the Litchfield History Museum
and often hosts programs and workshops for adults and children.

Please call ahead or check our calendar to see
if there is an event the day you plan to visit.

Description of Holdings
The Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library houses information
about Litchfield's 280 years of growth and change as reflected
through the papers, publications, photographs, and ephemera of
local residents, homes, businesses, institutions and organizations.

The Society's library also serves as the official repository
for the records of many local institutions including the Garden Club,
the Litchfield Red Cross, the Junior Women’s Club
and the Mary Floyd Tallmadge Chapter of the DAR.

Official birth, death, and marriage records,
as well as land and probate records,
are located in the town halls of each town.

Information on contacting town halls
can also be found in the Guide to Local Resources.

Other Resources

The Details

Litchfield's History
Litchfield is a small town of approximately 8,000 people
located in northwestern Connecticut.

Founded in 1719, Litchfield has a rich history.

The town was the home of the first law school in the United States
as well as an early school for girls.

At the end of the 19th century, Litchfield residents
became leaders in the Colonial Revival movement.

Today, carefully preserved 18th and 19th c.
homes share space with innovative 20th c. architecture.

Travelers from all over the world visit Litchfield
to enjoy its architecture, shops, restaurants, and natural beauty.

Favorite pastimes include outdoor sports such as hiking, boating, and cycling.

The town is one hour from Hartford and New Haven
and two and a half hours from New York City and Boston.

Litchfield During the Revolutionary War
Litchfield’s inland location on major trade routes
gave the town unique role during the American Revolution.

Because Litchfield’s inland location made it a “safe town” the community
was used to house important loyalist prisoners and as a supply depot for military stores.

The Society's 2006 exhibition The Tale of the Horse
presented information about both the activities of Litchfield's residents
during the war and their efforts to memorialize it in subsequent years.


After the Revolutionary War
The fifty years between 1784 and 1834
was a time of growth and prosperity for the community.

During these years Litchfield was an active growing urban center,
and by 1810 the town had become the fourth largest in the state.

During these years Litchfield was home to
two pioneering educational institutions,
the Litchfield Law School and the Litchfield Female Academy.


The Litchfield Law School
With more than 1,100 students attending
from every region of post-revolutionary America,
the Litchfield Law School, America’s first law school,
launched the careers of many well-known politicians, jurists, educators
as well as leaders in the nation’s emerging corporate,
mercantile, industrial and financial establishments.


The Litchfield Female Academy
The Litchfield Female Academy was one of a small group of schools
that played a critical role in shaping later educational,
social and economic opportunities for women in the United States.

Over its forty-one year history the academy attracted over 3,000 students
from fifteen states and territories, Canada, Ireland and the West Indies.


During the Colonial Revival
By the 1840's water power and railroads had become
critical components in the growth of manufacturing.

Industries by-passed Litchfield’s hilltop location in favor of
valley towns, and the village settled into a sleepy existence.


Modern Litchfield
Today, Litchfield is a vibrant community.
The town’s population continues to grow,
and residents and visitors alike treasure the
historic character of the architecture and landscape.


My Country
My Country Society, Inc. was founded in 1967 with the purpose of publishing
a journal, My Country, related to American history.

Initially, the journal was distributed throughout Litchfield County.

New and established authors were encouraged to submit manuscripts.

The Society also awarded scholarships to Litchfield High School students.

In 2008, the Society ceased its operation and merged its assets
with the Litchfield Historical Society intending that the Society
continue publishing articles specific to Litchfield's history on its Web site.

About the Litchfield Historical Society
The Litchfield Historical Society, founded in 1856, is dedicated to
collecting, preserving and interpreting the history of Litchfield County, Connecticut
through its museum, research library and historic house.

The Ingraham Memorial Research Library houses local business
and organizational archives, manuscripts and family papers,
reference books, and genealogical material.

The Tapping Reeve House, built in 1774, and the 1784 Law School
interpret the family and home life of Tapping Reeve
and his role in the development of American legal training.

The Historical Society is a private non-profit organization
supported by an active and growing membership.

Supporting the Society's Work
The Historical Society is a private non-profit organization
supported by a talented group of volunteers and an active and growing membership.
There are many ways that you can support the work of the society.

You can adopt an object in our collections and support its restoration,
you can donate a collection or the money to purchase a collection.

There are also opportunities for planned giving that benefit both you and the society.