Looking back at Hartford parks

Labor Day 1921: Dancing in Colt Park. Credit: Hartford History Center.

On Monday, the Hartford History Center of the Hartford Public Library will unveil an online exhibit of vintage photographs celebrating the city’s park system.

The exhibit, called “Hartford Springs Into Summer,” will go live at 7 ..m., via an online presentation on Zoom and Facebook Live. Bookmark the exhibit here: https://hartfordparks.omeka.net/exhibits/show/springintosummer/title

The exhibit features newly available material from the HHC’s Parks Collection, according to a Library news release. HHC Historical Research Specialist Maureen Heher will outline how the photographs were selected, which Archivist Jennifer Sharp will discuss the new material.

The Parks Collection sat in storage at City Hall until a city councilor discovered them in the 1980s. It then went to the Hartford History Center. Recently, Sharp began working with the thousands of images and documents, cataloguing them and creating “finding aids.”

“There is another half of the collection that has pretty much never been touched,” she said.

CHS director moving on

The Hartford Business Journal reports that Jody Blankenship, CEO of the Connecticut Historical Society since September 2013, will leave in January to become president and CEO of the Indiana Historical Society. The CHS board of trustees will conduct a national search for his replacement, according to the Journal.

Established in 1825, CHS is the state’s official historical society and one of the oldest in the nation. Its headquarters at 1 Elizabeth Street in Hartford includes a museum, library, and the Edgar F. Waterman Research Center–all open to the public and funded by private contributions. The CHS collection includes more than 4 million manuscripts, graphics, books, artifacts, and other historical materials. It is a Smithsonian affiliate.


More old newspapers to go online

Congratulations to the Connecticut State Library for winning a third grant for its Connecticut Digital Newspaper Project. This allows the Library to digitize another 100,000 pages from the microfilm it holds from old Connecticut newspapers. Those pages will be added to the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America newspaper database.

The latest selections, scheduled to be online by the fall of 2019, include some Hartford-based publications; they’re listed below according to category, with their years of publication. The complete list is here.

African American:

  • Hartford-Springfield Chronicle, 1940
  • Hartford Chronicle, 1946-1947
  • Connecticut Chronicle (Hartford, Conn.), 1948
  • New England Bulletin (Hartford, Conn.), 1949


  • The Examiner (Hartford, Conn.), 1881-1888
  • The Weekly Examiner (Hartford, Conn.), 1890-1901
  • Hartford Labor, 1894
  • The Labor Standard (Hartford, Conn.), 1910-1922
  • The Connecticut Craftsman (Hartford, Conn.), 1932