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Partial Collections List: Connecticut Legal and Political History
Researchers interested in the legal, political, and social history of Connecticut and/or New Haven will find a wide range of valuable primary sources at Manuscripts and Archives. Most of these collections document the political and governmental careers of individuals who shaped law and politics in the Nutmeg State.
Most of the representative collections listed below are the personal papers of both lawyers and non-lawyers who made significant contributions to the law and politics of Connecticut and/or New Haven. A few collections are records of organizations that espoused various legal and political causes. Researchers are welcome to consult with the MSSA staff for more information about this area of MSSA material.
The papers detail the personal lives and professional careers of several generations and family lines of the Baldwin family. The legal, political, and business activities of family members in Connecticut, New York, and elsewhere are documented. Major topics include family, women, law, education, Connecticut and New York politics and government, New Haven, Connecticut, and Yale University.
Alfred Bingham was born in 1905; he graduated from Yale College in 1927 and the Yale Law School in 1930. These papers consist of correspondence, writings, printed material, and other papers of Alfred Bingham, a social reformer, writer, founder and editor of Common Sense, lawyer, and politician.
These papers consist of photocopies of correspondence, memoranda, clippings, printed material, transcripts of telephone conversations, and other declassified material from the national headquarters and New Haven, Connecticut office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, pertaining to the New Haven Chapter of the Black Panther Party.
Correspondence, diaries, account books, daybooks, legal papers, deeds, and land books of the Boardman family of New Haven, New Milford, and Ohio. The family also had extensive real estate holdings in Connecticut and the Western Reserve. The papers document family activities and relationships, extensive land holdings in Ohio, business interests in land and manufacturing operations, the legal careers of William Whiting and William Jarvis Boardman, and the career of U.S. Senator Elijah Boardman
Chester Bowles graduated from Yale College in 1924. He was named a Special Assistant to the Secretary General of the United Nations and was elected governor of Connecticut (1948-1950). Bowles served as ambassador to India (1951-1953, 1963-1969) and was elected to the U.S. Congress (1959-1960). These papers consist of correspondence, speeches, writings, photographs, clippings, oral history interviews, and other material documenting his personal life and professional career.
Correspondence, financial records, diaries, scrapbooks, account books and memorabilia of the Bristol family of New Haven and New London, Connecticut. These documents include the professional and personal correspondence of William Bristol, Judge of the Connecticut Superior Court and Supreme Court of Errors (1819-1826) and of the United States District Court of Connecticut (1826-1836).
This collections contains correspondence and other papers relating to members of the Burr family of Fairfield, Connecticut. Principal figures represented in the papers include Aaron Burr (1756-1836), soldier, politician and third vice-president of the United States; and his father, the Reverend Aaron Burr (1716-1757), scholar, clergyman, and second president of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton).
These papers document the administrative and institutional history of the Center for Advocacy, Research and Planning (CARP), and offer a detailed view of the workings of a non-profit civil rights legal agency. CARP's work in the New Haven area with dozens of minority economic interests and neighborhood organizations is reflected in extensive correspondence, legal memoranda, proposals, and collected material.
The papers consist of correspondence, notes, and background material which document Peter Cooper's legal work to preserve the quality of the environment in the New Haven area and along Long Island Sound. Cases involve issues of energy transmission, coastal area development, highway construction, pollution of public water supplies, air quality control, and nuclear power plant construction.
Pierpoint Edwards was a prominent Connecticut attorney and federal judge. These papers contain legal and financial documents relating to Edwards's business activities and his legal career, most of which was carried on in New Haven. Also included are drafts of his political writings and speeches on the Federalist Party, Connecticut's charter government, and other topics.
Henry Leavitt Ellsworth graduated from Yale in 1810. He studied law at Litchfield Law School and in 1832 was appointed Commissioner of Indian tribes in Arkansas and Oklahoma. In 1835, he was appointed U.S. Commissioner of Patents, remaining until 1845. The papers consist of several letters and two journals of Henry Ellsworth's travels to New Connecticut (1811) and to the West (1832) after his appointment as Commissioner to the Indians.
Office files, printed matter, and press releases documenting Franklin M. Foote’s service as commissioner of the Connecticut State Department of Health (1959-1972), as a member of the Connecticut Clean Air Commission and Air Pollution Control Program (1970-1971), and the Council on Tuberculosis. Included also are a small amount of papers from 1935 and 1936 of Dr. Stanley Hart Osborn who was then commissioner of the Department of Health.
Most of this collection consists of letters by Roger Griswold, of which three-fourths were written to his wife, Fanny Rogers Griswold, while he served in Congress, in Philadelphia and Washington (1794-1805). While the letters to his wife are largely on family and practical matters relating to the family farm in Lyme, Connecticut, his letters to his father, Matthew Griswold, and to his brother, also Matthew, discuss politics briefly.
Hill was a businessman and politician in Norwalk, Connecticut. He was elected to the U.S. Congress and served from 1895-1913 and 1915-1917.The papers consist of correspondence, bills, research materials, and topical files which document his political career. Correspondence files contain constituent mail regarding requests for publications, political appointments, favors, and suggested votes on pending legislation.
These papers document Chase Kimball's participation in some twenty-five national and local, social, political, and religious organizations, and are an especially valuable source of information on the peace movement in America in the 1930s and on civic improvement in Waterbury, Connecticut. Because Kimball was personally involved in or collected literature from all peace organizations between 1930 and 1939, the Kimball Papers comprise an illuminating record of tensions in the peace movement.
Florence Ledyard Cross Kitchelt's activities included work as a social worker, settlement house worker, reform volunteer, and suffragette organizer in New York, and as a peace activist in Connecticut. The papers consist of correspondence, memoranda, printed material, and miscellanea relating to Florence Kitchelt's work on behalf of international peace during the early and mid-20th century.
These papers document the career of Richard C. Lee, Mayor of New Haven (1954-1969). The papers contain correspondence and other materials on the practice of urban politics, urban renewal, New Haven's efforts in the war on poverty, civil rights and race relations, town-gown relations, and his interaction with local and state Democratic Party leaders.
These papers consist of correspondence, memoranda, reports, designs, photographs, audio tapes, clippings, printed material and miscellanea documenting the personal life and professional career of Edward J. Logue, lawyer, politician, and urban planner and administrator. Urban planning materials detail his activity in New Haven, Boston, and New York state. Also included are papers about Connecticut state politics.
The Carl Louis Mortison Papers consists mostly of political cartoons Mortison drew for the Waterbury Republican and the Waterbury American in the years 1937-1939. They form a running commentary on the trial of Mayor T. Frank Hayes and a number of city officials for conspiracy – a trial which one clipping calls "the longest criminal trial in the history of the state." The Waterbury newspapers were awarded a Pulitzer prize for their part in exposing the scandal.
Tapping Reeve founded the Litchfield Law School, the earliest and, for many years, the most important in the country. In 1798 he was appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Connecticut and in 1814 he was made Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Errors. This collection contains letters relating to both family and business affairs of Reeve and his wife, Sarah Burr Reeve.
The Save the Wetlands Committee was formed in 1966 to establish a program for the preservation and protection of Connecticut's coastal and inland wetlands. Having been successful in achieving its goals, it disbanded in 1976. These records consist of correspondence, minutes, reports, topical files, maps, and other materials documenting the activities of the organization.
These papers consist of correspondence, writings, photographs, research files, printed material, and miscellanea of George Dudley Seymour, a lawyer, antiquarian, historian, author, and city planner in New Haven, Connecticut. Seymour's personal papers and collected manuscripts document the history of the Seymour family, the patriot Nathan Hale, the city planning movement in New Haven, Connecticut, and local history, 1684-1944.