Princess Julia Grant Cantacuzène Speransky was a charter member of and museum collections donor to Windsor Historical Society. She was also a descendant of Windsor founder Matthew Grant.
When we receive donations for our museum and archives collections, one of the first tasks we undertake is to determine the importance of the objects and figure out if and how they fit into the history of our town. While that is simple enough to say, the process can be painstaking, alternating between fulfilling and frustrating, but always fascinating.
In 1711, Connecticut outlawed walking “in the night season” to discourage people from being out at night drunk and making a commotion. The following 1770 document from our collection reflects this law in action. It's a detailed and vivid formal complaint about some late-night shenanigans, unappreciated by the victim of those shenanigans.
Windsor Historical Society operates two historic house museums, including the 1767 Dr. Hezekiah Chaffee House. In its time it was the largest home on the Palisado Green. In 1992, the town leased the Chaffee House to Windsor Historical Society to operate as a museum. How would we furnish it?
Please join us on July 17, 2109 at 10 a.m. for a close look at some pieces from our costume collections with Curator Kristen Wands. Her focus will be on clothing and accessories worn by [...]
Connecticut Valley Furniture by Eliphalet Chapin and His Contemporaries, 1750-1800 was a groundbreaking exhibition on view at the Concord Museum in Concord, MA and the Connecticut Historical Society Museum in 2005 and 2006. Accompanied [...]
As a researcher, women are frustrating to follow over time. Often their names change, they do not regularly appear in land records or tax rolls, many do not leave behind wills. Being a daughter, wife, and mother were primary roles for early American women. Running a household was a full time job. The account books of the Barber family help us shed light on the productive activities of those women.
In 1883, William F. Garvin left his home and family in Windsor and headed to Cheyenne, Wyoming, a young and rapidly growing frontier town. He faithfully wrote each week to his younger brother John. 130 years later, William’s grandniece Bev Garvan donated this collection of 300 letters to the Society. She has transcribed dozens of excerpts to illustrate some of the differences between life in Windsor and in the West.
Christopher Miner Spencer was an almost compulsive inventor and tinkerer from his childhood into his old age. The people who knew him best describe long hours of puzzling over problems he hoped to solve and designs he hoped to improve on inventions like his rifles, automatic screw machine, steam-powered boat, and automobiles. They also describe a man who was kind, generous, and friendly.
In 1972 the Society received a donation of a day book from a Mrs. Arthur Golding. There was no indication inside the book as to owner of the business or its location, so for cataloging purposes, staff at the time had titled it "1826-1830 Account Book for General Store in Poquonock." Such a vague yet intriguing title has led more recent staff to wonder about its origins.