Middletown on My Mind

Middletown is on a lot of students’ minds too—Considering the Campus (ARST 441), Exploring Middletown’s History (HIST 171) and Middletown Materials (ANTH 227) are looking at Middletown from different perspectives.  Special Collections & Archives staff have shown these classes some resources that will be helpful to their work.  We’d like to use the next few Special Collections & Archives blogs to share our suggestions with others who have Middletown on their minds.

Main Street, Middletown, 1876

There are some good histories about Middletown available—but no single comprehensive history—in Special Collections & Archives and in Olin’s circulating collection.   Of course every resource has its bias and perspective, so let the reader beware!  Some starting points for Middletown history include:

Hall, Peter Dobkin. Middletown: Streets, Commerce, and People, 1950-1981. [Middletown]: Wesleyan University, 1981. Call Number: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS Wesleyan Wses no. 8   Call Number: F104.M6 H22 1981

  History of Middlesex County, Connecticut, with Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men. New York: J. H. Beers & Co., 1884. Call Number: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS Middletown H673M545 1884   Also available online via: Browse American County Histories CT

The 2001 reprint of this title is also available:  Call Number: F102.M6 H6 2001

History of Middlesex County title page

Warner, Elizabeth A. A Pictorial History of Middletown.  Norfolk: Donning Co., 2001, c1990. Call Number: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS Middletown W27 P5 2001  Call Number: F104.M6 W37 2001

Within the larger context of Connecticut history, one might also look at Connecticut bibliographies.  Some of the more heavily used ones are:

  Connecticut, A Bibliography of its History Prepared by the Committee for a New England Bibliography. Edited by Roger Parks.  Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, c1986.  Bibliographies of New England history; v.6.  Call Number: Z1265 .C66 1986  Also online via: http://ctbib.uconn.edu

And the updates:

New England, Additions to the Six State Bibliographies Prepared by the Committee for a New England Bibliography. Edited by Roger Parks.  Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, c1989.  Bibliographies of New England histories; v. 8. Call Number: Oversize + (Floor 3A) Z1251.E1 N454 1989

Bibliographies of New England History. Further additions, to 1994; edited by Roger Parks.  Hanover: University Press of New England, c1995. Bibliographies of New England History; v. 9.  Call Number: Oversize + (Floor 3A) Z1251.E1 N454 1995

Collier, Christopher. The Literature of Connecticut History. Middletown: Connecticut Humanities Council, 1983. Call Number: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS Office Z1265.C643   Call Number: Z1265.C643

Main Street, Middletown, 1950s

In Special Collections & Archives, we frequently turn to the Vertical Files Collection when a question is presented.  The Vertical Files are a good “jump off” point for research. They may contain newspaper clippings, brochures, compiled lists, or photocopied photographs about the specified subject—and there are hundreds of subjects covered.  The topics range from the Beman family to Business and Industry to Cemeteries to Wesleyan-Middletown Relations.  The Vertical Files contents may provide dates, names, or other details to dig for further research.  (Why are these subject or clipping files called “vertical” files? The term refers to where the files have traditionally been stored, a vertical filing cabinet.)

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