Finding Aids2021-02-03T11:07:07-05:00
Finding aids are descriptive inventories, indexes, or collection guides that provide access to the unpublished materials in the library’s Special Collections.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.

We do not have an online catalog of our books, but you can find a list of our family genealogy books here. If you would like further assistance, contact librarian/archivist Michelle Tom at 860.688.3813 or by email at

Account Books Collection2022-02-02T11:13:14-05:00

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 Collection2017-03-14T18:12:27-04:00

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

1900 – 1965, bulk dates 1930-1959

2 linear feet archival materials, 3 textile boxes

Accession #:

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.

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 Records2023-04-26T11:18:59-04:00

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


3 linear feet

Accession #:

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 maneuvers, 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, late in 1984, a schism developed in the corps. As a result, Director Francis Dillon 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 maneuvers 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.

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.

[download printable finding aid]

Combustion Engineering, Inc. Collection2018-05-09T11:02:56-04:00

Corporate History

Combustion Engineering, Inc. (CE) was a leader in steam and energy generation technologies for over 75 years. The Windsor site was located at 1000 Prospect Hill Rd. (the address was later changed to 2000 Day Hill Road) on a 530 acre tract purchased by Combustion Engineering in 1955.

From 1955 until the mid-1960s CE supplied enriched uranium nuclear fuel under contract to the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) for U. S. Navy submarine propulsion reactors and for utility power reactors. Other activities included the construction, testing, and operation of the S1C Prototype Reactor facility at the CE Windsor location. This facility, one of two Nuclear Power Training Units in the United States, provided instruction for thousands of Navy personnel in the operation of a full-size submarine reactor. In addition to the Atomic Energy Commission work, from the early 1960s until 2000 Combustion Engineering performed research, production, and servicing of nuclear and fossil fuel systems under both commercial and federal contracts.

Scope and Contents

The Combustion Engineering, Inc. Collection contains historical photographs, publications, and artifacts which portray some of the history of this company during its fifty year tenure (1960-2010) in Windsor, CT. Combustion Engineering was a prominent leader in the field of steam and nuclear energy generation technology. The collection was assembled during the decommissioning, remediation, and demolition phase of operations at the Connecticut site. Over 250 photographs depict aerial views, exterior shots of the buildings on the campus, research and development activities, and various special events. Representative combustion engineering texts, technical manuals, and promotional materials provide historical documentation of the non-classified work conducted in Windsor. Additional printed materials, awards, memorabilia, clothing and artifacts were collected by the retirees group for an exhibit at the company’s 50th anniversary celebration in April 2010. These provide a glimpse into the Combustion Engineering corporate culture which encouraged employee recreational, charity, and sports activities and recognized long-term employees with service awards and gifts. A DVD documenting the history and environmental remediation of the site will be added to the collection when it is available.

[Finding Aid]

Jerijah Barber Papers2017-05-04T21:08:13-04:00
Bedortha Family Papers2018-01-16T16:25:01-05:00

Biographical/Historical Note

Laurence Loomis Bedortha (1837–1926) established and ran the Bedortha Mill on Mill Brook in Windsor for the majority of his life. A resident of Windsor, Connecticut from his birth in 1837 to his death in 1926, Bedortha was a lifelong and notable member of the town. The mills along Mill Brook served as the nexus of all economic activity in the area, and Bedortha Mill operated for nearly a century. Originally a wheelwright shop, the bulk of manufacturing ultimately included the blocks for rolling cigars, cutting tools for cigars, blocks for meat cutters, and the manufacturer of levels. Many of the photographs and glass plate negatives featured in this collection include images of dams, bridges, and landscapes near the Bedortha Mill. At his death at the age of 89, Laurence Loomis Bedortha was the oldest member of the Washington Lodge (Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons) of Windsor, CT and was believed to be one of the oldest Masons in Connecticut. Widowed in 1886, he had two sons and one daughter. He is buried in Palisado Cemetery in Windsor, CT.

His sons Alfred Calvin Bedortha (1872–1963) and George Quartus Bedortha (1874–1962) continued work at the Bedortha mill until their deaths in the mid-1960s. Unable to continue operation, the mill was demolished in 1963. Notably, machinery from the mill developed by Arthur H. Eddy, inventor and founder of the Eddy Electric Corporation, was donated to the Smithsonian Institute. Their sister, Clara R. Bedortha (1876–1972), also lived in Windsor until her death. Neither George nor Clara married, and both are buried in the Palisado Cemetery with the Bedortha family. In 1916 Alfred C. Bedortha married Grace (Roberts) Bedortha (1885–), who worked as a school teacher, and they had four children together. He is buried in Elm Grove Cemetery in Windsor, CT.

Scope and Contents

The Bedortha Family Collection consists of mostly visual materials, including glass plate negatives and photographs of Bedortha family members and friends, and of the local area. The collection also includes a pocket diary, correspondence, and advertisements belonging to L. L. Bedortha, as well as information concerning photography.

[Finding Aid]

Katherine Barker Drake Photograph Collection2018-07-05T11:38:41-04:00
First Church in Windsor (Windsor, Conn.) Records2017-05-04T21:11:12-04:00
Founders of Windsor: Their Trades or Professions2017-05-04T21:12:30-04:00
Friends of Stony Hill School Records2017-03-18T15:27:10-04:00

Warren Giffin and the Friends of Stony Hill School


.25 linear foot

Accession #:


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.

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

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


Ralph W. Frost Photograph Collection2017-05-04T21:13:00-04:00
John Gaylord Jr. Music Copy Book2017-08-30T17:32:00-04:00
C. Robert Hatheway Photograph Collection2017-05-04T21:13:47-04:00
Augustin Hayden’s French and Indian War Journals2019-09-26T15:45:40-04:00
A.W. & G.E. Howes Company Glass Plate Negative Collection2017-05-04T21:16:08-04:00
Huntington Brothers Records2017-05-04T21:16:28-04:00
Kendrick, Phelps, and Marshall Family Collections2023-08-21T15:33:22-04:00

Note: this is a physical collection held in the Windsor Historical Society archives. To view any part of it, please contact the archivist, Michelle Tom.

[Finding Aid]

Creator: Kendrick, Carrie Phelps Marshall; Kendrick family
Dates: 1736-1982, bulk 1795-1969
Extent: 4 linear feet
Accession #: 2021.13

Biographical Note
Carrie Phelps Marshall (1883-1963) descended from Windsor founders William Phelps, Samuel Marshall, David Wilton and Edward Griswold. She married Reverend Alexis Dawson Kendrick (1873-1931) and soon became a resource for genealogical information on Windsor families. The two moved to Georgia but by 1918 were living back in Windsor with Alexis serving as a minister in Hartford. They would later take over management of the large tobacco farm on Marshall Phelps Road which had been farmed by Carrie’s family for eight generations.

Carrie and Alexis had 6 children. Their daughter, Charlotte P. Kendrick, would spend 3 years as a Baptist missionary in Kodiak, Alaska beginning around the time of World War II. Their son Alexis Daniel Kendrick would marry Jane R. Connable, whose parents were Hollis E. Connable and Clara B. Nicholson. Together, Alexis and Jane had two sons, Gary A. Kendrick, and Bruce F. Kendrick.

Scope and Contents

This collection includes various documents and photographs spanning from 1736-1982, mainly between 1795 and 1969. Genealogies trace lineages back to 1610.

Most photographs and portraits are of members of the Kendrick, Connable, or Nicholson family in the 1900s. Most photographs are full-body pictures taken outside, while portraits tend to be bust (head-and-shoulders) images.

Almost all genealogical information and notes contained within the collection were compiled by Carrie Phelps Marshall Kendrick. Details about numerous different families are noted down, although most family tree charts are distantly related to the Kendrick family.

Other documents generally include personal and business items. Personal correspondence largely occurred among members of the Kendrick family and there are numerous personal items relating to Gary Kendrick. Business records mainly include receipts, land surveys, and deeds, mainly for David Marshall, Eli Phelps, and William Phelps.

Kibbe/Sipple Correspondence2017-05-04T21:16:58-04:00
Christine Ladd-Franklin Papers2017-11-15T11:37:59-05:00

Biographical/Historical Note

Psychologist, logician, and mathematician Christine Ladd-Franklin was born to parents Eliphalet and Augusta (Niles) Ladd in Windsor, Connecticut on December 1, 1847. Eliphalet Ladd, a Windsor merchant, was the nephew of William Ladd, the founder of the American Peace Society, while Augusta Niles Ladd was the niece of John Milton Niles, founder of the Hartford Times and Postmaster-General under President Van Buren.

Traveling between Windsor, New York City, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Ladd-Franklin attended Elm Grove School in Poquonock before graduating as valedictorian of her Wesleyan Academy class in Wilbraham, Massachusetts. While completing her undergraduate degree at Vassar College, from which she graduated in 1869, Ladd-Franklin studied under the well-known astronomer Maria Mitchell. Seeking to pursue an advanced degree, she applied to the newly formed Johns Hopkins University in 1878, despite the fact that the university barred women from admission. Although her passion was physics, the exclusion of women from research laboratories led to her pursuit of mathematics. As a result of the urging of the English mathematician James Joseph Sylvester, who recognized her publications from the English journal the Educational Times, Ladd-Franklin was admitted with a three year fellowship. Her graduate years continued her study of mathematics with the addition of the study of logic, psychology, and the theory of color vision. Although completing her PhD in 1882, Ladd-Franklin did not receive public acknowledgement of her degree until 1926, four years before her death.

After completing her studies at Johns Hopkins University, Ladd-Franklin married fellow mathematician Fabian Franklin, a professor at the university. As a married woman, she was barred from official faculty appointments, but nonetheless lectured and taught at both Johns Hopkins and Columbia University throughout her career. Her dissertation work established Ladd-Franklin as a pioneer in the study of symbolic logic. In the 1890s, she traveled to Germany to study under G. E. Muller and Hermann von Helmholtz, leading to the development of her own theory of color vision. In 1893, Ladd-Franklin was one of the first two women to be elected to the American Psychological Association, and in 1909 established an endowed fellowship for female professors. Her only child, Margaret Ladd-Franklin, went on to publish a book on the history of women’s suffrage.

Christine Ladd-Franklin died of pneumonia at the age of 92 in New York on March 5, 1930.

Scope and Contents

This collection includes primary materials by and about Christine Ladd-Franklin. Items include personal notes, poetry, and newspaper clippings collected by Franklin and correspondence, the bulk of which is addressed to Franklin. Series are organized chronologically.

[Finding Aid]

Ralph C. Lasbury, Jr. Collection: The Shade Tobacco Growers Agricultural Association Records2021-02-03T11:10:51-05:00

Note: this is a physical collection held in the Windsor Historical Society archives. To view any part of it, please contact the archivist, Michelle Tom.

[Finding Aid]

Creator: Lasbury, Ralph C., Jr.
Dates: 1943-1984
Extent: 5.5 linear feet
Accession #: 1983.36, 1984.62

Biographical Note
Ralph C. Lasbury, Jr. was born September 4, 1906, in the Broad Brook section of East Windsor, Connecticut. He was the second child of Ralph C. Lasbury and Eloise Thrall. Lasbury Senior was one of Connecticut’s important broadleaf tobacco growers. At one point, he had 500 acres of broadleaf growing. As a young boy, Ralph C. Lasbury, Jr. worked tobacco every summer. After high school, he went to Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. He then worked for his father at the South Windsor Tobacco Company.

On November 30, 1942, Mr. Lasbury was hired as Executive Director of the Shade Tobacco Growers Agricultural Association. The first offices were established at 148 State Street in Hartford, Connecticut. One of his first duties was to develop a workable labor program. His program included the establishment of attractive youth camps, adult guidance proposals, and a “day-haul” system so that local teachers and students could earn extra money. Also, many corrective regulations were drawn up. These became the basis for the Farm Labor Law of 1947.

Mr. Lasbury’s job as spokesman for the tobacco growers brought him to the State Legislature. He also went to Washington to participate in Congressional hearings on tobacco labor and production problems. One of Mr. Lasbury’s proficiencies was his public relations work. He and the Association produced a documentary film on shade tobacco. The film served as a teaching tool for the public and the sales people of the cigar industry.

The 1960s saw more contributions by Mr. Lasbury to the industry. He established the first state licensed hospital in the United States for migrant agricultural workers. In 1968, Senator Harrison Williams of New Jersey inspected the Windsor Labor Camp and said that the association’s operation was the “most enlightened” of any employer group he had seen in the country.

Scope and Contents
The collection documents a significant portion of the professional activities of Ralph C. Lasbury, Jr. over a period of fifty years as the head of Connecticut regional agricultural marketing and employer groups. Minutes, correspondence, reports, leases, fiscal reports, copies of state legislative activities, and newspaper articles document the establishment, opening, and operation of the Connecticut Regional Market, a venue for the sale of Connecticut agricultural commodities.

It also contains minutes, correspondence, membership lists, reports, and negotiations on behalf of the British West Indies Employers’ Association. The BWI records contain information not just on Jamaican workers but also Puerto Rican and migrant workers from other areas. Lasbury represented the interests of tobacco growers, traveled extensively for the Association’s executive committee, and met regularly with Caribbean governmental officials.

Roy M. Marcot Collection2017-05-04T21:17:33-04:00
Merwin Funeral Home Account Books2017-05-04T19:18:36-04:00
Marguerite Mills Advertisement Card Collection2017-05-04T21:17:55-04:00
Harriet Louise Cooke Nelson Papers2018-08-28T11:41:01-04:00
Roscoe Nelson Collection2017-05-05T15:44:18-04:00
Old Document Project Collection2023-05-31T12:41:33-04:00

The Old Document Project is a composite collection of some of the Windsor Historical Society’s primary documents. It contains over 3,000 items dated from 1640 to 1939 and a handful of holdings from the mid-late 20th century.

Each document has been indexed by date, name, and document type. The index is available here, but please note that it is a draft document and has not been fully proofread, so there are some spelling/transcription errors, name omissions, and misrepresentations in description. Also note that it was compiled by numerous people, so there are inconsistencies in the way they are described. Some documents list all names on the page, others exclude justices of the peace, registers, town clerks, or other clerical individuals not party to the transactions.

If you are looking for a name that doesn’t appear alphabetically in the list, do a full-text search (CTRL+F) for the name as it may have been included in a description but not in the Name on Document column.

The collection contains (but is not limited to):

  • Land records – deeds, land grants, quit claims, leases, surveys. Many documents contain original signatures and seals.
  • Business documents – small account books, bills, payments, receipts
  • Legal documents – court summons, complaints, arrests, tax documents, insurance policies, promissory notes, appointments
  • Estate records – wills, inventories, probate records
  • Town of Windsor records – contracts for road work and school teachers, notices for town meetings, tax lists
  • Lists of district school pupils
  • Military documents – orders, commissions, regimental lists
  • Miscellaneous personal records – genealogies, correspondence
  • Other items – notes, signatures, calling cards, minutes, sermons, and more

Photographs were not included in this project.

[Finding Aid]   [Name index]

Old Letters Project2017-07-13T16:05:47-04:00

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 Collection2017-09-12T15:24:10-04:00

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]

Palisado Cemetery Map2018-12-10T11:40:32-05:00

Palisado Cemetery Index and Plan of Graves, 1644-1898.

Created in 1951 by L. W. Fowles and members of his U.S. History class at Loomis School.

To view the accompanying oversized map, please contact librarian/archivist Michelle Tom,

Charles D. Perry Papers2017-05-05T15:45:45-04:00
Shelton Family Collection2018-01-16T17:00:34-05:00

Biographical/Historical Note

William R. Shelton (1805–1860) owned a hat-making company in the 1830s until the 1850s. Working with his business partner Walter Pease, Pease & Shelton—later, known just as the William Shelton Company—he made hats from otter, beaver, and nutria (a South American animal similar to beaver) for dealers in New England, New York, and Philadelphia.

His daughter Lucy A. Shelton (1836–1892) married Samuel C. Loomis, a local blacksmith, in the late 1850s. Much business correspondence links the Shelton and Loomis families. The letters of Jeannette Shelton, daughter of Lucy and Samuel Loomis, to her husband Lodewick Hudson, can also be found in this collection. Their eldest son, Ralph Hudson (1887–1967) worked as the Director of the School of Religious Work at Yale University before he was drafted in 1917, spending part of WWI in France.

A large portion of this collection deals with William Shelton’s third living son, Henry Clay Shelton (1838–1909). Henry C. Shelton lived in New Haven, Connecticut for the majority of his life and ran a number of businesses both there and in Windsor.

Scope and Contents

The bulk of materials in this collection are business papers including account books, business correspondence, and receipts. There are also photographs, personal correspondence, newspaper clippings, a collection of jokes, and official documents pertaining to the Shelton family.

[Finding Aid]

Christopher Miner Spencer Collection2018-06-26T16:34:50-04:00
Helen R. Stevenson Collection of the Records of the Windsor Ballet and the Northern Connecticut Ballet of Windsor, Connecticut2017-05-05T15:47:24-04:00
Ruth Davis Thrall Collection2017-05-05T15:47:47-04:00
Scrapbook Collection2017-07-21T16:44:38-04:00
Subject File Index2017-07-21T16:39:19-04:00

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

[Scope and Contents, Index]

Tornado of 1979 Collection2017-05-05T15:48:11-04:00
Town of Windsor Photograph Collection2017-05-05T15:49:37-04:00
Wilson Congregational Church Records2024-07-01T12:50:16-04:00

[Finding Aid]

Creator: Wilson Congregational Church (Windsor, Conn.), Church of Christ, Wilson (Windsor, Conn.)
Dates: 1853-2011
Extent: 9 linear feet
Accession #: 2010.44

Church History

Wilson Congregational Church in Windsor, CT has its roots in a Sunday School formed by Mrs. Luther Barber and Mrs. Susan A. Wilson in February, 1853. Mrs. Barber and Mrs. Wilson, with the help of Enos Cornwell, Frederick Hills, and George Hunn of the South Baptist Church of Hartford, founded the school and held evening services in a one-story schoolhouse on the present-day Wolcott Avenue. The Sunday School was funded by a women’s sewing society, called the Union Society of District No. 1, which was organized in March, 1853 for the purpose of funding religious education in Wilson. However, the Sunday School was unpopular and the services were often disrupted by angry citizens. In the face of so much opposition the school was closed in 1854, although the evening services continued under the leadership of George Hunn. The Sunday School was reestablished in 1856 when a new schoolhouse was built behind Roger Wolcott School, and morning services were also instituted. By 1898, attendance was about forty-five members per morning service.

In 1900, the congregation decided to form an official Church Society and acquire a church building. On January 8 by-laws were adopted and the Wilson Christian Union Association, Inc., was formed. The association purchased the former church building of the Rainbow Baptist Society in August, 1900. The building was rebuilt at 279 Windsor Avenue and opened for services in December, 1900. In 1902, the church officially became known as the Church of Christ, Wilson. The congregation at this time was made up of members from a variety of denominations including Baptists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, and Congregationalists. In 1944, the church finally decided to join the Fellowship of Congregational Churches, and in 1961 the church voted to join the United Church of Christ.

By 1961, the church building at 279 Windsor Avenue was in need of repair. In April, 1961, a building committee was formed and plans initiated to build a new church building at 691 Windsor Avenue. The building fund was aided by a bequest from Leland P. Wilson, Superintendent of the Sunday School from 1901-1938, who had left the church a significant amount of money upon his death in February, 1959. The building project was headed by architect C. Frank Bayek, whose plans were approved by the church in April 1962. Groundbreaking took place on November 4, 1962 and the construction was completed by November, 1963. The old church building at 279 Windsor Avenue was sold to the Windsor Library Committee who tore it down and built a new Wilson Library on the site. On September 22, 1963, the church voted to change its name to Wilson Congregational Church. One month later the congregation moved into its new church building and it was formally dedicated on December 15, 1963.

Wilson Congregational Church’s committees, programs, and organizations had a significant impact on the lives of its members and the Windsor community. In addition to the Sunday School, a Nursery School was started in 1964; enrollment grew from twenty-five to seventy-five children in only five years. The church also operated a very successful thrift shop. Opening in 1972, the thrift shop earned on average more than $2,000 a year which was donated to special charities and needy families. The church is notable for the prominent role of women in the congregation. Besides having been founded and funded by women in the 1850s and 1860s, the Ladies Aid Society raised money for the support of both church and community from 1900 until 1945.

By the end of the 20th century, Wilson Congregational Church began to suffer financial difficulties due to an aging congregation and a shortage of new members. In 1997, Wilson Congregational agreed to let another church rent space in the building at 691 Windsor Avenue, and by 2010 four separate congregations were sharing the church facilities. But the financial difficulties continued, and in 2010 the Wilson Congregational members voted to move towards closure. On September 12, 2010, Wilson Congregational Church held its last service. A memory book was created to document the stories, memories, and emotions of the last members.

On May 27, 2011, the building at 691 Avenue was sold to Holy Temple Church of God in Christ. The members of Wilson Congregational Church voted to donate the proceeds from the sale to a variety of local, regional, and world-wide organizations.

Scope and Contents

The records of the Wilson Congregational Church contained in this collection portray a sense of the nature of the congregation and its activities during each of its three seminal time periods. Some portions of the records are moderately comprehensive and other time blocks are thinly represented. The collection contains narrative histories, bound volumes of church membership and sacramental records (1900-2012), minutes of the Boards of Deacons and Directors (1930s – 1960s), minute books describing the work of the Ladies Aid Society (1906-1945), blueprints and files documenting the design and construction of the building at 691 Windsor Avenue, and memorabilia such as scrapbooks, photographs, and newspaper clippings. A copy of the memory book compiled by the church members at the time of closure in 2011 is also part of the collection.

Windsor News Letter for Men and Women in the Service During World War II2018-08-06T11:04:22-04:00

Scope and Contents

The Windsor News Letter for Men and Women in the Service was a monthly publication created for the men and women of Windsor, Connecticut, serving in the armed forces during World War II. The paper was sponsored by the local Exchange Club and edited by J Jeremiah (Jerry) Hallas. The first issue was produced in August 1943; within six months it was being mailed to 700 subscribers in nearly every state and on battlefronts around the world.

The conversational tone of the newsletter reported local news such as high school sports, the tobacco harvest, accidents, weddings, and new babies. But more significantly, the paper told the far-flung servicemen and women where their classmates and neighbors were stationed. It passed on news about promotions and commissions, Purple Heart awards and casualties, and who was home on furlough.

The first editions consisted of several mimeographed sheets. In August 1944, editor Jerry Hallas began to print the News Letter on one sheet of newsprint and include it with his regular Windsor News-Weekly newspaper. By this time more than 5,000 copies were being distributed locally and around the world. The last issue of the News Letter for service personnel was written after V-J Day in August 1945. It described the many ways the Windsor community celebrated the end of the war.

Windsor Historical Society volunteers have prepared an index to the nearly 900 names in the seven mimeographed News Letter issues which are held in the Society’s collection. These issues, Numbers 2-5 and Numbers 7-9, were published between September 1943 and April 1944. There is an alphabetical index of names included in the newsletters available.

The Society’s collection also contains copies of eleven issues of the printed News Letter. These editions, issues Number Fourteen thru Twenty-Five, were published between September 1944 and August 1945. These copies have been commercially digitized and have had OCR software applied so that the complete text of these papers can be electronically searched.

[Name Index]

Windsor Probate Records 1947-19732017-05-05T15:51:48-04:00
Windsor Town Crier Newspaper 1916-19172017-07-21T16:35:09-04:00

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.

Go to Top