Middletown, circa 1899; courtesy of Patrick Shugrue.
Our Mission: Dedicated to preserving the history of Middlesex County and providing programs for adults and children to increase their understanding of the area's past.
Unearthing Community: Archaeology of the Beman Triangle
Within These Walls:
One House, One Family, Two Centuries
Their Own Stories:
Voices from Middletown's Melting Pot (Online exhibit)
Monday, May 27, 2013, 10am: Middletown Memorial Day Parade. Join members of the Historical Society as we march in the parade. Dress in historical garb or just come as you are!
Saturday, June 8, 2013, 11am-3pm: Connecticut Open House Day at the Mansfield House. Free admission on this day; stop by to see what you've been missing!
Save the dates:
Wednesday, July 24, 2013. Annual garden luncheon in the Mansfield House Gardens.
Sunday, October 6, 2013. Annual Antique and Classic Car & Truck Show.
Middletown history online and on the air!
Executive Director Deborah Shapiro was featured in a recent FOXCT Hidden History CT piece on the history of Middletown bridges: http://www.ctnow.com/news/connecticut/hiddenhistory/
John Bank's Civil War Blog has a series of posts on General Joseph Mansfield and Robert Hubbard, Middletown natives who served in the war. http://john-banks.blogspot.com/
Wesleyan Assistant Professor of Anthropology Sarah Croucher has created a site, Middletown Materials, on local archaeological digs and the research her students are doing on the artifacts recovered: http://middletownmaterials.research.wesleyan.edu/
Our blog, '150 years ago in Middletown, Connecticut', allows you to experience life in Middletown as it happened, through excerpts from The Constitution, Middletown's Republican newspaper. The post for April 29, 1863 includes: Black soldiers prove their mettle; soldiers receive back pay; letter from the 14th Conn.; President Lincoln for temperance?
For updates on events and information about the Society, follow us on Twitter!
April 23, 2013: Middlesex County Historical Society Annual Meeting, at Congregation Adath Israel, Middletown. The business meeting was followed by Class of 1958 Distinguished Professor Lois Brown from Wesleyan University. Her talk was entitled: 'So at any cost I will go": Nineteenth-Century African American Journeys to the Civil War South, a fascinating and lively exploration of the lives and writings of Harriet Tubman and Charlotte Forten, two women of very different backgrounds who shared a passion for helping others to freedom and independence. Professor Brown's talk was accessible and very engaging!
April 4, 2013: Beman Triangle Exhibit Opening Reception. Wesleyan Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology Sarah Croucher, her students and local residents have been conducting an archaeological dig of the Beman Triangle in Middletown, where an African-American community thrived in the nineteenth century. The exhibit opening was very well attended and the talk fascinating.
March 7, 2013: Shock and Awe in 1862: American Writers and the Meaning of the Civil War, talk by Christopher Hager, Assistant Professor of English at Trinity College. Professor Hager gave a fascinating talk about how prominent writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Rebecca Harding Davis were transformed by the war, and how writing helped transform freedmen's view of themselves. Prof. Hager is the author of Word By Word: Emancipation and the Act of Writing, recently published by Harvard University Press.
Thanks to Prof. Hager and to everyone who braved the snowstorm to attend!
January 31, 2013. Quiltmaking, 1941 - 1945 - The War Years. Quilt historian Sue Reich gave an informative and powerfully moving talk on quilts made during World War II, and displayed some of the many quilts in her collection. Women during the war years made quilts to express patriotism and support for the war effort, to donate to the Red Cross and other organizations, and to pass the time while sons, husbands and fathers were at war. A large and appreciative audience was on hand. Thanks to Sue and to everyone who attended! Photos are on our Facebook page.
January 22, 2013, 7pm. Panic In Connecticut: Accused Witches Have Their Say. Actress Virginia Wolf gave a powerful and moving performance to a standing-room only audience, in a one-woman show that brought to life 5 of the women accused of witchcraft in seventeenth-century Connecticut. Thanks to Virginia and to everyone who attended this program!.
November 23, 2012. Holiday on Main. We had a variety of visitors for our Holiday on Main event, with tours, story-telling and refreshments. Thanks to everyone who visited!
November 8, 2012. Harnessing the Waterways: The History of Dams in Middletown. Wesleyan Associate Professor of Philosophy Elise Springer recounted the findings of research she and her team have done on Middletown waterways and how they were used to develop local industry. In addition to on-site explorations, the group conducted research in the Society's archives. This program was co-sponsored by the Jonas Center for Earth and Art. Over 50 people attended this fascinating program!
October 7, 2012: Annual Antique and Classic Car & Truck Show at Middletown High School A beautiful day (at least before the rain came!). Thanks to all the participants and the spectators!
September 14, 2012: An Evening with Matthew Warshauer. A wonderful and informative time was had by all! Professor Warshauer gave a passionate and moving talk about Connecticut's role in the Civil War and the Middletown men who died at the battle of Antietam. Wanda Warshauer donated a basket as a prize. Thank you to Matt and Wanda Warshauer, our generous sponsors, and everyone who attended!
September 15, 2012: Civil War Day at the Mansfield House. It was a prefect day for our commemoration of the battle of Antietam, honoring General Joseph Mansfield and the other Middletown men who were killed there. Our thanks to Company F, 14th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, the musical ensemble Back Swamp, Professor Richard Slotkin, and Mayor Dan Drew who officially proclaimed Saturday, Sept. 15 Civil War Day in Middletown. And thanks to everyone who came to visit!
For previous events, see our Past events and stories page.
Connecticut Civil War Commemoration
Over the next four years, Connecticut will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with lectures, re-enactments, workshops and programs. Click here for a list of upcoming events.
Awards for Hard & Stirring Times exhibit
The American Association for State and Local History awarded the Middlesex County Historical Society a 2010 Award of Merit for the exhibit: Hard & Stirring Times: Middletown & the Civil War.
The Connecticut League of History Organizations awarded the Middlesex County Historical Society a 2010 Award of Merit for the exhibit Hard & Stirring Times: Middletown & the Civil War, the online version of the exhibit, and the development of curriculum using the Society's Civil War archives for local middle and high schools.
Thank you for your support!
The Middlesex County Community Foundation awarded the Society a grant for the upgrade of this website.
The Connecticut Humanities Council provided support for the development of the Civil War section of the website.
Thanks to the Middlesex County Historical Society's Antique & Classic Car Show Committee for their continued support of the Society.
And most of all, thanks to our members for giving their time, talents and donations to the Society. Your support is essential to the work we do, and we deeply appreciate it!