State Archives

Bradley Field World War II Activities, 1942-1945 (PG 048)
On January 23, 1941, Governor Robert A. Hurley sent a proposal to the Connecticut General Assembly requesting the state buy land to lease to the United States Army for an air base. The U.S. Army had earlier indicated to state officials that it wished to have a base for fighter planes in or near Connecticut as part of the nation's defensive grid though the attack on Pearl Harbor had not yet occurred. In response, the state acquired 1,700 acres most of which was then a tobacco plantation. The tract was purchased and then leased to the federal government for $1.00 a year for twenty-five years. The field, which at the time was named the Windsor Locks Army Air Base, became ready for airmen and troops early in the summer of 1941. The air base was later officially renamed "Army Air Base, Bradley Field, Connecticut," on January 20, 1942, but more familiarly called Bradley Field in honor of Army Air Corps Second Lieutenant Eugene M. Bradley. Lt. Bradley's P-40 fighter plane crashed after he went into a routine dive during training and failed to come out on August 21, 1941. Bradley hailed from Pushmataha County (according to multiple sources either Antlers or Dela) in Oklahoma, and arrived at the air base three days before his fatal accident. He was the first of many pilots to die in training accidents at the field. This collection of 217 black and white photographs was presented to the State of Connecticut by the public relations officer from Bradley Field at the end of the war and is a representative survey of the aspects of military life and training on the base from 1942 to 1945. All the photos are numbered, identified, and stamped "Official U.S. Army Air Corps photo" on back. Activities represented include, among others, the Sixth War Loan drive, an open house for the public, redeployment, multiple training exercises, the training of Chinese fighter pilots, day-to-day life, and medal presentations to servicemen or the families of those missing in action.
Connecticut State Library, 1850-2015. (RG 012)
The State Library provides a variety of library, information, archival, public records, museum, and administrative services to state government, libraries and library organizations, town government officials, students, and the general public. The Library began as two law collections at the two state houses (New Haven and Hartford) and was placed under the oversight of a legislative committee in the 1840s. It was not until 1854, however, that the General Assembly created the post of State Librarian. The most important State Librarian in the agency's history was George Seymour Godard (1900-1936), who was of critical importance in getting the building at 231 Capitol Avenue constructed and occupied. He also expanded the library's services into new areas. Records include such formats as letterpress books, paper files, sound recordings, films, discs, photographs, architectural drawings, ledgers and logs, and ephemera. The group also includes materials of the Connecticut Friends of the Library organization, 1979-1984. Records document the work of the State Librarian and division heads, the State Library Board, the Library's many divisions, and defunct units such as the War Records Department. One of the largest series of this record group documents grants assistance given to public libraries through the Division of Library Development.
Connecticut Work Projects Administration, 1935-1944 (RG 033)
Connecticut State Library, In 1935, the Federal government established the Works Progress Administration as the central agency in control of relief projects for the unemployed in the nation. When the Federal Emergency Relief Administration closed in late 1935, the WPA replaced it. In 1939, the agency’s name changed to Work Projects Administration. In Connecticut, main offices for the WPA were in New Haven and district offices were in major cities. It was abolished on June 30, 1943 and liquidated a year later. This group primarily documents the Writers’ Project and associated “white collar” projects. It contains correspondence, working papers, research reference materials, directives, circulars, manuals, completed survey forms, contracts, maps, photographs, clippings and scrapbooks, drafts of interviews and reports, field notes, scripts of radio programs, administrative and financial records, and manuscripts of unpublished works. Areas of activity include Connecticut: A Guide, ethnic histories, town and city histories, histories of city parks, Historic Buildings Survey, Church Records Survey, Manuscripts Inventory, the Federal Art Project, American Imprints Inventory, history of the Hartford Flood of 1936, and a variety of guides.
Department of Children and Families, 1855-2000. (RG 178)
In 1969, the General Assembly passed P.A. 664 that centralized “the state’s efforts to prevent delinquency and treat juveniles” in a new agency known as the Department of Children and Youth Services. The new agency absorbed the Connecticut School for Boys (established 1854) in Meriden and the Long Lane School for Girls (established 1870). The agency currently is the Department of Children and Families and its program areas include services in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, protection for children and youth under 18, foster care, adoption, education and juvenile justice and “funding to community service providers.”, Connecticut State Library
Dudley Photograph Collection of Hartford During World War I (PG 034)
Most of the photographs in the Dudley collection are of war-related activities in Hartford during 1917-1919. All are believed to have been donated by William G. Dudley, a commercial photographer located on Main Street, Hartford during the war years. The subjects of the World War I photographs include the induction and embarkation of Connecticut soldiers, prominent Hartford citizens, military reviews, parades, Liberty Loan bond drives, Red Cross activities and armistice celebrations. Material of similar content is found in the Crocker Collection (RG69:002). Photographs attributed to Dudley can be found in the Crocker Group, while some pictures in the Dudley Collection were taken by another Hartford photographer, Frank Chudoba. Crocker, Dudley and Chudoba were all associated with the Hartford Courant. Many of the photographs in the Dudley Collection can be found printed in the Hartford Courant and citations are provided where applicable. In 1977 all of the negatives were placed in acid-free envelopes and 460 of the 573 glass plate negatives were printed. There were also 244 nitrate film negatives of Connecticut soldiers on the Mexican Front in 1916 which were digitized in 2014.
Environmental Protection, Department of, 1908-2006. (RG 079)
The Department of Environmental Protection was created in 1971 to address "the profound impact on the life-sustaining natural environment" by "the growing population and expanding economy of the state." The new Department consolidated powers and duties of a number of small state boards and parts of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. These included the Park and Forest Commission, the Commission on Forests and Wild Life, the State Board of Fisheries and Game, the Water Resources Commission, the Boating Commission, the Shell-Fish Commission, Marine Resources Council, State Soil Conservation Advisory Committee, the State Board of Pesticide Control, the State Geological and Natural History Survey Commission, and the Clean Air Commission.
Floods and Hurricanes in Connecticut (PG 160)
Consists of aerial photographs and b&w prints depicting scenes from a number of Connecticut towns. Aerial photographs make up the bulk of the collection and include mosaic, vertical and oblique views. There are 524 views of the 1936 flood photographed by the 8th Photographic Section, US Air Corps for the US Engineer Office in Providence, RI and 132 views of the September 1938 flood and hurricane in Connecticut and Rhode Island, photographed by the 118th Photographic Section of the US Air Corps. Noteworthy are the numerous shoreline views. Also includes 58 photographs of Naugatuck in the Flood of 1955 collectively titled "Black Friday", compiled by the Naugatuck Daily News, as well as several smaller collections. Photocopies of photographs in the Prescott Bush papers transfered to Archives & Special Collections at The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut in August 1991. Also includes approximately 444 digital photographs which document damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene on August 27-28, 2011.
Herbert Randall Survey of New Haven and Environs, 1880-1920 (PG 380)
Herbert Randall (1850-1926) was born in Massachusetts and lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan before opening a studio in New Haven in 1894. He served as a contributor and later as president of the Connecticut Magazine and sought to promote public awareness of the history of Connecticut. Randall was also an accomplished writer who had many poems published in newspapers and magazines across the country. This collection consists of approximately 141 black and white photographs of New Haven and the surrounding area from 1880-1920. Most of the photographs are street scenes from the downtown area. The photographs in this collection are derived from 1,210 of Randall's glass plate negatives which he donated to the State Library. There are two different sets of negatives in the survey, one 8 x 10 in., the other 5 x 7 in. In 1977, both sets were printed and the negatives transferred to acid-free envelopes. Addresses for buildings and businesses were obtained from the Sanborn Insurance Maps of New Haven, 1901, the New Haven City Directory, 1880-1920, and captions from the negative envelopes. Addresses from 1880-1920 may not corroborate with matching addresses today as names of streets in New Haven have changed. This is particularly noticeable in areas that have been used for highway construction and other urban development. From time to time the Connecticut State Library hopes to add to this collection.
Manuscript Collections, circa 1631-2000. (RG 069)
The Manuscript Collections consist primarily of collections of personal and family papers, although some contain official records. See Manuscript Collections A-Z. Additional manuscript material can be found among the Classified Archives. Researchers should check the card catalog in the History and Genealogy reading room.
Mills Photograph Collection of Connecticut, 1895-1955 (PG 180)
Primarily views of old Connecticut school houses, but also 18th century houses, historic sites, public buildings, bridges, farm scenes, mills and points of interest. 478 photographs.
Town and Borough Governments (RG 062)
Includes town meeting records, tax lists, grand lists, assessment books, deeds and land records, accounting records, school records, vital records, election returns, lists of electors, indentures, roads and highway records, justice court papers, and other materials.
Transportation, Department of, 1894-2003 (RG 089)
The genesis of the Transportation Department dates back to 1895 with the establishment of the State Highway Commission. The modern Department was formed in 1969. This record group primarily contains records of the Highway Department, Connecticut Transportation Authority, and the Transportation Accountability Board. Included are turnpike and bridge construction photographs; bridge construction minutes; reports of transportation studies; aerial survey photos of Connecticut, 1934, 1951, 1970, 1980; and boundary perambulation records, 1966, 1976, 1986, 1997.
Watson Watercolor Sketchbooks, 1875-1916 (PG 930)
Miniature watercolors and pencil drawings of places in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Vermont. 13 sketchbooks. Amelia Montague Watson (1856-1934) was born on March 2, 1856 at East Windsor Hill, Connecticut to Reed and Sarah (Bolles) Watson. She attended private schools and became a painter of New England, Canadian and Southern scenery. She exhibited at the NeW York Water Color Club, the American Water Color Society, and the Boston Art Club. She taught painting at the Martha's Vineyard Summer Institute for several years. She illustrated Thoreau's "Cape Cod" (1896) [see sketchbook no. 7], made the cover and frontispiece in colors for Margaret Warner Morley's "The Carolina Mountains” (1913) and John Muir's "A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf" (1916). She also provided a portrait frontispiece and picture of Chicera Wood for Elizabeth A. Pringle's "Chronicles of Chicera Wood" (1921). Watson remained single. She died in Orlando, Florida on January 20, 1934. Edith Watson donated the sketchbooks and five oversized watercolors. The paintings are executed on 5” x 8" pages. With the exception of the first sketchbook, the notes and captions are attributed to Watson. Sketches are of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and New England. A folder also contains letters from George Warner of Hartford to Watson regarding her work and a letter from Edith Watson to state Librarian James Brewster., Connecticut State Library