The past few blog posts have identified some of the Middletown history resources available in Special Collections & Archives—general histories, theses and student papers, maps and directories. What about resources for social or intellectual history? Beyond the resources identified in prior Middletown on My Mind posts, there are a very large number of resources useful for gaining background. Some of the frequently used ones are:
Black Women’s League of Middletown. Black Perspectives on Middletown: A Collection of Writings about the Black Experience in Middletown, Connecticut. [Middletown, Conn.: s.n.], 1976. Call Number: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS Middletown B62 B52
Centennial Address by David D. Field; With Historical Sketches of Cromwell, Portland, Chatham, Middle-Haddam, Middletown, and its Parishes. Middletown, Conn.: W.B. Casey, 1853. Call Number: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS Middletown F45 C46
Cunningham, Janice, et al. Experiment in Community: An African American Neighborhood, Middletown, Connecticut, 1847-1930. Hartford, Conn.: Connecticut Historical Commission, 2002. Call Number: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS Middletown M629 E86 2002
Hall, Peter Dobkin. Middletown: Streets, Commerce, and People, 1650-1981. Middletown]: Wesleyan University, 1981. Call Number: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS Wesleyan Wses no. 8 Call Number: F104.M6 H22 1981
Middletown Tercentenary, 1650-1950. Middletown, Conn.: Scanlon Bros., 1950. Call Number: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS Middletown M629t 1950 Call Number: F104.M6 M54
Newspapers are one resource to locate social history information (among other topics!) Special Collections & Archives has a number of eighteenth and nineteenth century newspapers. However, for preservation reasons, we advise researchers to turn to the microfilm and online versions. The Wesleyan community may use the “Journal Locator” to gain online access to some of these titles. (Use the library’s search box at the “Journal” tab on the front page.) Following are some of the Middletown titles, with their call numbers, available on microfilm (located in Olin’s basement level, in the west wing.).
- Middlesex Gazette, 1785-1825 AN 2 A2 also online
- Middlesex Gazette, 1790-1831 AN 2 M52 additional years also online
- Constitution, 1842-1884 AN 2 C657 additional years also online
- Middletown News, 1851-1854 AN M535
- (News & Advertiser)
- Sentinel & Witness, 1868-1884 AN 2 S457 earlier years online
- Middletown Tribune, 1883-1906 AN 2 M538
- Middletown Sun, 1908-1914 AN 2 M538
- Middletown Press, 1919+ AN 2 M536
Did you know that 18th century Middletown published many books and pamphlets? This was before publishing centers moved to New York and Boston. To find Middletown-placed publications you’ll want to look at some of these resources.
Hull, Harvey R. “Early Printing in Middletown” in Wesleyan Library Notes (Number 8, Winter 1972-73, p.1-10). Call Number: Z881 .W46 Also available in Special Collections, uncataloged.
Hull, Harvey R. Middletown Imprints 1785-1850. Unpublished manuscript, Middletown, 1968. Call Number: Special Collections Reference Middletown, uncatalogued.
Swaim, Elizabeth A. “Middletown Imprints at Wesleyan” in Wesleyan Library Notes (Number 8, Winter 1972-73, p.11-16). Call Number: Z881 .W46 Also available in Special Collections, uncataloged.
Additional source material for social and intellectual history is found in some of Special Collections manuscript holdings. Frequently requested ones are:
Conversational Club Records, 1862-present. The Conversational Club was formed in 1862 by the faculty of Wesleyan University to discuss topics of interest along with other Middletown residents. Meetings typically included dinner, a paper delivered by a club member, followed by discussion. Topics included world events, scientific and literary topics, philosophy, and anything else of general interest. The Club is still active and is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Finding aid located at: http://www.wesleyan.edu/libr/schome/FAs/co1000-30.html Call number: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS 1000-30.
History of Middletown Manuscripts Collection, 1668-1937. The majority of this collection is 18th- and 19th-century documents from the Middletown, Connecticut area, with some documents from the 17th- and 20th-centuries. Finding aid located at: http://www.wesleyan.edu/libr/schome/FAs/mi1000-171.html Call number: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS 1000-171
Middletown Scientific Association Records, 1871-1976. The association was founded in 1871 by Wesleyan University faculty and residents of Middletown. Its purpose was to encourage scientific investigation and curiosity among members. Finding aid located at: http://www.wesleyan.edu/libr/schome/FAs/mi1000-160.xml Call number: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS 1000-160
Monday Club Records, 1892-1995. The Monday Club was founded in 1892 for the wives of faculty, resident trustees, administrative officers, and other community members. It was intended as an inclusive gathering. Members sought social and intellectual enjoyment through activities such as reading of members and guests papers, teas, musical programs, annual theme parties, and original skits. A topic was chosen each year as the intellectual theme for weekly programs during the academic year. Finding aid located at: http://www.wesleyan.edu/libr/schome/FAs/mo1000-136.htmlCall number: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS 1000-136.