Finding Aids 2017-04-24T18:03:37+00:00
FINDING AIDS
Finding aids are descriptive inventories, indexes, or collection guides that provide access to the unpublished materials in the library’s Special Collections. These are tools the researcher can use to understand the size, contents, and arrangement of a collection. Diverse collections warrant a variety of finding aids, but most guides will include a general overview, a biographical or historical note, and a detailed description of the collection. Finding aids will be added to the website as they become available.

If you would like further assistance, contact librarian/archivist Michelle Tom at 860.688.3813 or by email at mtom@windsorhistoricalsociety.org.

Christine Ladd-Franklin Papers 2017-09-14T17:50:37+00:00
Account Books Collection 2017-07-13T19:02:09+00:00

The Account Books Collection is an artificial collection resulting from efforts to compile and record basic information about the numerous volumes of financial records held at the Windsor Historical Society. The bulk of the collection consists of day books, ledgers, and personal accounts of individuals and businesses in Windsor, Connecticut and the surrounding area. The account books had not been previously cataloged and were scattered throughout the Society’s repository. More than 150 account books and similar registers have been identified and inventoried. An Excel database provides information about the collection with descriptive fields including creator, date, type of business, and a brief narrative summary.

The account books represent a wide variety of merchants, artisans, agricultural enterprises, early manufacturing, and community organizations. Individual businesses include general stores and grocers, brick makers, distilleries, tanners, doctors, and farmers. Local manufacturing concerns represented in the collection were producing guns, silk and other textiles, men’s hats, canned food, and butter. In addition, a few volumes record the management of probate or estate accounts, the finances of local civic organizations, minor town and church accounts, and the early 20th century Windsor Fire District tax lists.

The record books vary considerably in size, extent, legibility, and condition. The volumes frequently contain extensive listings of local Windsor names. In most cases an owner or creator has been identified; some volumes contain records kept by more than one person. It is not uncommon to find entries or notations unrelated to the original purpose of the account book such as family records, recipes, penmanship practice, or newspaper clippings.

[Finding Aid]   [Inventory]

Ahrens-Fontaine Family Collection 2017-03-14T18:12:27+00:00

Creators:
Ahrens, Vivian G., 1904-1990
Fontaine, Florence A., 1930-2003
Fontaine, Marianne F., 1958-

Dates:
1900 – 1965, bulk dates 1930-1959

Extent:
2 linear feet archival materials, 3 textile boxes

Accession #:
2012.47

Biographical Notes
Four generations of the Ahrens, Goddard, and Fontaine families are represented in this collection. William August Jacob Ahrens (April 21, 1843 – June 1, 1926) was born in Germany and immigrated to East Granby, CT where he made a living as a farmer and cigar maker. He and his second wife Christina Kalmbach were the parents of Theodore Roosevelt Ahrens (January 12, 1902 – June 16, 1983). Ted was born and raised in East Granby, but moved to Windsor, CT with his new bride in 1928. He has been described as charming and personable, qualities which led to a successful career selling, installing, and repairing household appliances. During leisure time he enjoyed hunting, fishing, and filming home movies. His wife, the former Vivian Goddard (July 9, 1904 – November 6, 1990), was the daughter of Charles and Alice Goddard of Firetown Rd., Simsbury, CT. She maintained the business and household account books, enjoyed traveling, stylish fashions, social activities, and furnishing her home. She was interested in modern methods of infant care and her children were born at a hospital in the city of Hartford. Both she and her husband served as neighborhood air raid wardens during World War II. It is her propensity for saving records and memorabilia which has contributed substantially to this collection.

Ted and Vivian had two children: Florence Ahrens (October 22, 1930–August 22, 2003) and Earl G. Ahrens (November 12, 1935 – ). They grew up at 25 Remington Rd. in Windsor and attended local schools. Florence spent a year at Bay Path Junior College and then married Francis A. Fontaine in 1952. Their children Marianne F. Fontaine (June 9, 1958 – ) and Mark A. Fontaine (July 8, 1959 – 1991) attended John Fitch School for several years before the young family moved to Granby, CT in 1966.

Scope and Contents
This collection of photographs, clothing, fashion accessories, personal papers and memorabilia spans four generations of the Theodore R. Ahrens family of Windsor, CT.  The bulk of the collection dates from 1930-1959. The documentary materials include business and household expense ledgers, family and school class photographs, baby record books, and a 1952 wedding planning book. Highlights of the clothing portion of the collection include baby clothes from the 1930s and 1950s, men’s bathing suits, several ladies’ dresses from the 1950s, and a Victorian silk dress with provenance from Ethel Ellsworth Geer. Personal and fashion accessories include items such as ladies’ gloves, fur and velvet muffs, child’s parasol, and dresser sets.

Arrangement
The personal papers and photographs are arranged by provenance in chronological order.

Box and Folder List for Personal Papers and Photographs

Document Box 1
William A. J. Ahrens (1843-1926)
1.1          Personal photographs, receipts, cigar maker’s advertisement

Theodore R. Ahrens (1902-1983)
1.2          Family photographs, East Granby school class photographs
1.3          Personal papers, hunting dog registration papers
1.4          Identification card and training materials for service as neighborhood air raid warden during WWII, civil defense training handbooks, warden report forms, list of sector wardens on Remington Road, Selective Service registration cards
1.5          Purchase of property and mortgage for home at 25 Remington Rd., Windsor
1.6          Receipts for furnishings for home at 25 Remington Rd., Windsor
1.7          Ledger of business accounts including purchases from suppliers 1946-1987
1.8          Pressboard molded advertising templates for appliance sales
1.9          Pressboard molded advertising templates for appliance sales
1.10        Cookbooks from Hotpoint Appliances, 1920s, and First Church in Windsor, 1957

Document Box 2
Vivian Goddard Ahrens (1904-1990)
2.1        Family photographs
2.2        Personal papers, social activities
2.3        Papers and arm band from service as neighborhood air raid warden during WWII
2.4        Ledgers of household accounts including utilities, taxes, insurance, etc.; two volumes covering 1955-1975 and 1969-1990
2.5        Prenatal and infant care handbooks written for new mothers and published by the US Dept. of Labor, 1929
2.6        Baby cards received at birth of son in 1935

Document Box 3
Florence Ahrens Fontaine (1930-2003)
3.1        Personal and family photographs
3.2        Baby record book for Florence with various gift lists, locks of hair, growth charts, school photographs, and 1952 wedding photograph
3.3        Records of schooling at Roger Ludlow School, H. Sidney Hayden School, John Fitch High School, and Bay Path Jr. College; 1945 Tunxis yearbook
3.4        Children’s Activities magazine, ten issues from 1938-1939
3.5        Wedding record book and honeymoon memorabilia
3.6        Wrapping paper samples from the 1950s

Document Box 4
Marianne F. Fontaine (1958-  )
4.1        Family photographs, John Fitch School class photographs, report cards
4.2        Baby record book for Marianne with snapshots, genealogy, growth charts

Mark A. Fontaine (1959-1991)
4.3        John Fitch School class photographs
4.4        Baby record book for Mark with congratulatory cards, photographs

Related Materials
Subject files:
Businesses – Retail stores — Appliances
Schools – John Fitch
Wars – World War II

Subject Terms
Ahrens, Earl G., 1935-
Ahrens, Theodore R., 1902-1983
Ahrens, Vivian G., 1904-1990
Ahrens, William A. J., 1843-1926
Fontaine, Florence A., 1930-2003
Fontaine, Francis A.
Fontaine, Mark A., 1959-1991
Fontaine, Marianne F., 1958-
Household appliances–Maintenance and repair – Connecticut — Windsor
Windsor (Conn.) – Social life and customs
Windsor (Conn.) – Businesses

Custodial history
The Ahrens-Fontaine Family Collection was processed in September and October 2012 by WHS curator Christina Vida and librarian Barbara Goodwin. The clothing and personal fashion accessories were re-evaluated on-site in direct comparison to objects already in the Society collections and then some items were returned to the donor. The accepted clothing and accessories were photographed and cataloged in PastPerfect by Christina Vida. Barbara Goodwin cataloged the documentary materials and photographs and then prepared the finding aid in November 2012. Home movie films taken by Theodore Ahrens may be added to the collection at a later date.

Sgt. Daniel Bissell Ancient Jr. Fife & Drum Corps Records 2017-03-14T18:18:39+00:00

Creator:
Officers of the Sgt. Daniel Bissell Ancient Jr. Fife & Drum Corps, Windsor, CT

Dates:
1975-1986

Extent:
3 linear feet

Accession #:
1987.24.21

Location:
Special Collection Storage

Organizational History
The Sgt. Daniel Bissell Ancient Jr. Fife & Drum Corps was founded in the fall of 1974 as a United States Bicentennial project sponsored by the Civitan Club of Windsor, CT, Inc. The local civic group raised the original funds to organize and equip the Corps and maintained an advisory and supporting role until the group disbanded in 1986. The new organization was a member of the Connecticut Fifers and Drummers Association and the Company of Fifers and Drummers, two regional fife and drum associations.

The Corps was named for Windsor’s Sgt. Daniel Bissell, a Revolutionary War spy for Gen. George Washington. The group took its signature colors of purple, burgundy, and gold from Bissell’s honorary Badge of Military Merit. Children aged between ten and eighteen were eligible to join the Corps. The weekly practices included instruction in playing the fife or drum, marching manoeuvers, and the role of the color guard. An active parent group organized fundraising projects, chaperoned the frequent performances and camping trips, and served as officers in the administration of the fife and drum corps.

The size of the group ranged between 35-50 members, with more in the earlier years when enthusiasm for the Bicentennial was high. They performed in dozens of parades, musters, and competitions throughout Connecticut and southern New England, winning numerous awards for their appearance and music. In 1976 they invited other regional corps to a muster held on the town green in the center of Windsor. The muster became an annual event and attracted upwards of thirty units each year.

Unfortunately, early in 1985 a schism developed in the corps. Director Francis Dillan resigned from his position and established a new group, the Windsor Fife and Drum Corps, with about half of the active members. The remaining Sgt. Daniel Bissell Corps members continued for two more seasons and disbanded at the end of 1986.

Scope and Contents
The records of the Sgt. Daniel Bissell Ancient Jr. Fife & Drum Corps span the years 1975-1986, providing at least partial coverage of the entire decade of the group’s existence. Administrative records include bylaws, board minutes, financial records, rosters, correspondence regarding parades and musters, uniform and equipment inventories, and the weekly informative bulletin provided to the participating corps members and their families. Yearly performance notebooks contain schedules, maps, transportation details, and correspondence regarding the group’s performing and competition calendar. Similar notebooks were maintained to plan and organize their annual muster held in Windsor, CT. Handwritten fife and drum music and instructions for teaching marching and drilling manoeuvers complete this collection of records. The Society also has two drums, a fife, flags, banners, rifles, the drum major baton and a uniform from the Sgt. Daniel Bissell Ancient Jr. Fife & Drum Corps.

Arrangement Series I and II are arranged chronologically.
Series I. Administrative Records
Series II. Performances and Musters
Series III. Music for Fifes and Drums
Series IV. Drill Manuals

Box and Folder Lists
Series I. Administrative Records
1.1       Bylaws, 1977-1978
1.2       Bylaws, Rules, Regulations, Duties of Officers, 1981
1.3       Bylaws, Rules, Regulations, Duties of Officers, 1981, continued
1.4       Board Minutes and Financial Records, 1976-1986
1.5       Correspondence, 1976-1981, 1985-1986

2.1       Equipment and Uniforms
2.2       Rosters
2.3       Fundraising Events
2.4       Bulletins and Weekly Announcements, 1975-1981

3.1       Bulletins and Weekly Announcements, 1982-1986

Series II. Performances and Musters
3.2       Performances, Master File
3.3       Performances, 1975
3.4       Performances, 1976
3.5       Performances, 1977
3.6       Performances, 1978

4.1       Performances, 1979
4.2       Performances, 1980
4.3       Performances, 1981

5.1       Performances, 1982
5.2       Performances, 1983
5.3       Muster Planning, 1976-1984

6.1       Muster Booklets, 1977-1983, 1985
6.2       Florida Trip, 1979

Series III. Music for Fifes and Drums
6.3       Fife Music, Master File
6.4       Fife Sheet Music
6.5       Drum Music, Master File
6.6       Drum Sheet Music

Series IV. Drill Manuals
6.7       Instructions for Marching
6.8       Baron von Steuben’s Regulations, 1966 ed.
6.9       Baron von Steuben’s Regulations, 1976 ed.

Related Materials
Clubs and Organizations Collection, Poquonock Drum Corps

Subject and Family Files:
Bissell, Daniel
Organizations and Clubs – Fife and Drum Corps
Museum Collection Acc.#1987.24

Subject Terms
Fife and drum corps – Connecticut — Windsor
Fife and drum corps music

Custodial History
The collection was processed by volunteer Sandra McGraw in January 2013. During processing she found that there was extensive duplication in the boxes of administrative files. These were placed in chronological order and weeded to one copy. Other materials that were removed include equipment catalogs, vehicle insurance records, equipment and uniform sign-out card files, and fundraising files. The Corps was a member of two regional fife and drum associations; the minutes, bylaws, mailing lists, and other records from these organizations were transferred to their respective archives. The finding aid was created by librarian Barbara Goodwin in February 2013.

Combustion Engineering, Inc. Collection 2017-10-19T16:35:49+00:00
Jerijah Barber Papers 2017-05-04T21:08:13+00:00
Katherine Barker Drake Photograph Collection 2017-05-04T21:10:29+00:00
First Church in Windsor (Windsor, Conn.) Records 2017-05-04T21:11:12+00:00
Founders of Windsor: Their Trades or Professions 2017-05-04T21:12:30+00:00
Friends of Stony Hill School Records 2017-03-18T15:27:10+00:00

Creator:
Warren Giffin and the Friends of Stony Hill School

Dates:
1986-1998

Extent:
.25 linear foot

Accession #:
2001.6

Location:
Library

Administrative History or History
Stony Hill School is a one-room brick schoolhouse occupying 0.2 acres on the east side of Windsor Avenue in Windsor, CT. The school was originally built in 1850 on the west side, near Orchard Road. The building was moved to its present site at 1195 Windsor Ave in 1899 when the land was deeded to the Windsor Board of Education by Erastus E. Case for “free public school purposes.” Stony Hill School served as an elementary school (and briefly as a kindergarten) in Windsor’s second district until 1969. It was closed because its location, on a hill surrounded by busy roads, was considered too dangerous for the young students. Case’s heirs began a lawsuit over the land in 1970, claiming that because the land was no longer being used as a school it violated Case’s deed. The Town of Windsor settled the lawsuit with a payment of $16,500 to Case’s heirs. The school was renovated during the 1990s and was reopened as an educational museum in1998.

In 1987, the Friends of Stony Hill School, an organization which included many former students of the school and led by chairman Robert Geisel, began its efforts to restore the school. Most of their work consisted of raising funds for and overseeing the repair of the school in the 1990s, including the addition of a new roof; restoring the floors; heating, plumbing, electrical work; and handicapped ramps. The Friends returned the school to the appearance of a late 19th/early 20th century schoolhouse with artifacts and furnishings to show today’s children what school was like in the early 1900s.

Scope and Contents
The collection contains minutes, correspondence, newspaper clippings, a list of committee members, press releases, property plans, and a prioritized list of needed repairs. The materials have been assembled from variety of sources and do not present a complete record of the committee’s work. The collection also includes black and white and color photographs which show the school before and after the renovations and images of the first open house event in October 1998.

Arrangement
Each series is arranged chronologically.

  • Series I. Minutes, Correspondence, and Property Plans 1987-1998
  • Series II. Newspaper Articles 1986-1998
  • Series III. Photographs 1987-1991
  • Series IV. Additional Materials 1988-1995

Related Materials
Subject Files: Schools – Stony Hill School
Oral History Collection – Tape #10 (Accession #1993.22.1) – Mary Memery

Subject Terms

  • Geisel, Robert
  • Giffin, Warren
  • Holmes, Shirley
  • Memery, Mary
  • Nearing, Jane
  • Schools — Connecticut — Windsor
  • Windsor (Conn.) — Schools

Custodial
Collection processed in April 2008 and finding aid compiled by Sara Hawran March 2009

4/4/2009

Ralph W. Frost Photograph Collection 2017-05-04T21:13:00+00:00
John Gaylord Jr. Music Copy Book 2017-08-30T17:32:00+00:00
C. Robert Hatheway Photograph Collection 2017-05-04T21:13:47+00:00
Augustin Hayden’s French and Indian War Journals 2017-05-04T21:15:43+00:00
A.W. & G.E. Howes Company Glass Plate Negative Collection 2017-05-04T21:16:08+00:00
Huntington Brothers Records 2017-05-04T21:16:28+00:00
Kibbe/Sipple Correspondence 2017-05-04T21:16:58+00:00
Ralph C. Lasbury, Jr. Collection: The Shade Tobacco Growers Agricultural Association Records 2017-05-04T21:17:17+00:00
Roy M. Marcot Collection 2017-05-04T21:17:33+00:00
Merwin Funeral Home Account Books 2017-05-04T19:18:36+00:00
Marguerite Mills Advertisement Card Collection 2017-05-04T21:17:55+00:00
Harriet Louise Cooke Nelson Papers 2017-05-05T15:42:57+00:00
Roscoe Nelson Collection 2017-05-05T15:44:18+00:00
Charles D. Perry Papers 2017-05-05T15:45:45+00:00
Old Document Project Collection 2017-07-13T15:48:45+00:00

The Old Document Project is a composite collection of some of the Windsor Historical Society’s primary documents. It contains more than 1500 items dated from 1640 to 1899 and scattered holdings from the early 20th century. Each has been indexed by date, name, and document type.

The collection contains land records such as deeds, land grants, quit claims, leases, and surveys. Business documents include small account books, bills, payments, and receipts. A wide variety of legal documents include court summons, complaints, arrests, tax documents, insurance policies, and promissory notes. A significant portion of the collection pertains to the settlement of estates with documents such as wills, inventories, and probate records. There are Town of Windsor contracts for road work and school teachers as well as lists of district school pupils. Early military documents include orders, commissions, and regimental lists, while miscellaneous personal records include genealogies and single pieces of correspondence. Other items can best be described by their format – notes, signatures, calling cards, minutes, and sermons. Photographs, however, were not included in this project.

[Finding Aid]   [Name index]

Old Letters Project 2017-07-13T16:05:47+00:00

The Old Letters Project is an artificial collection of about 100 pieces of correspondence held in the Windsor Historical Society collections. Although the source and provenance of these letters has not been determined, the documents apparently came to the Society from a variety of sources. The collection is predominately personal correspondence; perhaps one fifth pertains to business or legal matters. The letters were written between 1794 and 1907 with the bulk of the collection dated between 1820 and 1840.

Approximately half of the collection is comprised of letters between members of the Ellsworth family of Windsor, Connecticut. Another one fifth of the collection is associated with the Hayden family of Windsor. Other family surnames in the collection are Allen, Clapp, Clark, Ellsworth, Filer, Fyler, Gaylord, Gibbs, Gillespie, Griswold, Halsey, Harris, Hayden, Hoadley, Howard, Kellogg, Loomis, Lyman, Mather, Morrison, Niles, Perkins, Phyler, Remington, and Stiles.

[Finding Aid]  [Index]

Oral History Collection 2017-09-12T15:24:10+00:00

Overview of the Collection

The Windsor Historical Society Oral History Collection is an artificial collection of oral history interviews and other recorded memoirs, public presentations, and short historical essays which have been transcribed by Society staff and volunteers. The earliest recordings were made in 1952, but the collection spans to the present day. A few of the transcripts were prepared from videotaped recordings. Virtually all the recordings are now available in a digital format.

Oral history themes and topics include neighborhood and family history; childhood chores and fun; school days; learning to drive; hunting, fishing, and other sports; working tobacco; church activities; and fondly remembered local stores, shopkeepers, and home delivery services. Recorded lectures and programs provide insight into history of the Lithuanian community in Poquonock; the mills along the Farmington River; the history of the Hayden Station area; Christopher Miner Spencer’s many accomplishments; and Windsor’s brickmaking industry. Some narrators offer perspective on the changes in the town of Windsor, CT during the 20th century, considering aspects such as the postwar housing shortages, race relations, and the impact of the opening of Interstate 91.

There are currently thirty-six transcripts in the collection, most with a detailed index. This inventory lists the name of the narrator, the date of the recording, the collection number, and a brief abstract of the contents. The transcripts are filed in the Library.

[Inventory and Abstracts]

Christopher Miner Spencer Collection 2017-05-05T15:46:32+00:00
Helen R. Stevenson Collection of the Records of the Windsor Ballet and the Northern Connecticut Ballet of Windsor, Connecticut 2017-05-05T15:47:24+00:00
Ruth Davis Thrall Collection 2017-05-05T15:47:47+00:00
Scrapbook Collection 2017-07-21T16:44:38+00:00
Subject File Index 2017-07-21T16:39:19+00:00

Scope and Contents
In many ways, the Subject File is the heart of the Windsor Historical Society Research Library. These
vertical files contain an eclectic mix of newspaper clippings, research notes, ephemera, correspondence,
photos, obituaries, and primary documents pertaining to hundreds of topics in Windsor’s four hundred
year history.

The files also contain extensive cross references to other materials in the breadth of the
Society collections. The Subject Files are arranged alphabetically. Broad categories such as Schools or
local Businesses are subdivided for more targeted research. A particular strength is the Houses series with documentary material by address for over 250 homes, businesses, or now-demolished properties.

The analogous Family File contains similar research materials with folders arranged alphabetically by
surname. The Photograph Files are physically separate, but are ordered with parallel headings to the
Subject and Family Files.

The Subject File Index lists all the folder headings in bold typeface. Extensive cross reference terms in
plain typeface should lead most researchers to the appropriate files. Do not hesitate to consult the library
staff for assistance or additional relevant suggestions. A listing of the surnames in the Family File is in
preparation.

[Scope and Contents, Index]

Tornado of 1979 Collection 2017-05-05T15:48:11+00:00
Town of Windsor Photograph Collection 2017-05-05T15:49:37+00:00
Wilson Congregational Church Records 2017-05-05T15:50:00+00:00
Windsor Probate Records 1947-1973 2017-05-05T15:51:48+00:00
Windsor Town Crier Newspaper 1916-1917 2017-07-21T16:35:09+00:00

The Windsor Town Crier brought local news to the doorsteps of the Windsor, CT community during the two year period from January 1916 until December 1917. Published and edited by George E. Crosby, Jr., the paper offered lively commentary on town news and social events, reported on the activities of community organizations, and carried advertising from local businesses. Windsor births, marriages, and deaths were included as well as historical articles, sketches of prominent citizens, and even a little poetry.

The monthly issues ranged from eight to twenty pages and were illustrated with line drawings and photographs. However, the increasing impact of the First World War forced advertisers to retrench and the paper was reluctantly discontinued.

High resolution scanned images of the Windsor Town Crier are available as searchable PDF files. Researchers may search each of the 24 issues individually. Archival copies of the Windsor Town Crier are held in the collections of the Windsor Historical Society library.