African American Resources at the CHS

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About This Guide

Original Print Introduction

Note: This introduction is reproduced from the Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin: Special Series Number 1, Hartford: Connecticut Society, 1994. Copies of this Bulletin are available for $10. Contact Jill Padelford ( to place your order

This guide to the Connecticut Historical Society's resources for the study of African-American history is the first such guide to its collections that the Society has published. In light of the importance and breadth of the Society's collections in this area for the study of the African-American experience in Connecticut and elsewhere, it was felt that a fairly comprehensive vehicle showing both Museum and Library collections was appropriate.

Some important restrictions apply to the use of this guide, however. Certain categories of Library material are not included, because their inclusion would have swelled the guide considerably. Among the categories not included are newspapers and almanacs. Those two types of material regularly contain much interesting and informative material about the Connecticut African-American experience, but it was felt that analysing their contents would have resulted in an index, of sorts, and that such a function was beyond the intended scope of this publication. Also, the Library has a card index for the Hartford Courant covering the years 1763-1820; thus, some guidance to the contents of the nation's oldest continously published newspaper is available. Another area not included, except very selectively, is the Library's periodical collection. Again, inclusion of this material would have resulted in a publication beyond our planned scope; many of these periodicals are indexed in other sources, such as Poole.

The guide does not include any call numbers or other locations for printed material. As the Library and Museum recatalogue their collections, call numbers and locations change, and the eventual result would have been a list of incorrect call numbers. It was therefore decided not to include the current ones at all. Shelf marks for manuscript material are included however.

Each entry contains a brief annotation to give the user some idea of why it was included. In the case of books the African-American content may be quite brief, and it was our desire to relieve the researcher of laboriously looking through dozens of volumes to find only scattered references. In the case of Museum materials, the objects are described in such a way as to indicate their relevence to the field.

This guide has been compiled by several people: Alesandra M. Schmidt, Head Reference Librarian; Judith Ellen Johnson, Reference Librarian and Genealogist; Martha Smart, Reference Assistant; Doreen McCabe, Reference Assistant; Gary Wait, Head of Cataloguing; Ruth Blair, Manuscript Cataloguer; David Ferola, Cataloguing Assistant; Jill Padelford, Editorial Assistant; Elizabeth Pratt Fox, Curator; Paige Savery, Curator of Prints and Photographs; Elizabeth Blakelock, Curatorial Assistant; Dawn E. Haggerty, Museum Intern, and Jessica A. Harris, Museum Intern.

The type was set and the indices were prepared by Jill Padelford; and Frances Hoxie, Library Associate, helped proofread the text.

—Everett C. Wilkie, Jr.

The web version of the Connecticut Historical Society's Special Bulletin Number 1, An annotated Guide to Sources for the Study of African-American History in the Museum and Library Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society was compiled wholly from the original text written in 1994.

Additional images have been added to enhance the web quide, and new African American resources that have been accessioned since the publication of the guide will be added as time permits.

Questions or comments concerning access to these resources, or requests for reproductions should be addressed to