Welcome to the Hartford History Center!

Beatrice Fox Auerbach: The Woman, Her World and Her Wardrobe

One of many dresses now on display in the Hartford History Center.

One of many dresses now on display in the Hartford History Center.

Glimpse into the life of Beatrice Fox Auerbach in an exhibit of garments and personal items of the world traveler, influential philanthropist, and owner and CEO of America’s largest privately owned department store, G. Fox & Co. The exhibit is presented in partnership with the University of Connecticut Historical Costume & Textile Collection Department, and is free and open to the public during Hartford History Center hours, Tuesday through Saturday, 1 PM – 5 PM.

On display February 5, 2014 – May 10, 2014
Hartford History Center, Downtown Library

Curator Talk: Saturday, March 15, 2014, 2:00 PM



Join Us…


Come view this film, 1PM, February 8, 2014 in the Center for Contemporary Culture. A panel discussion, moderated by Stan Simpson of Fox 61 television, will follow. Click here for more information.

Hartford in Winter…


Hartford Sculptor Elbert Weinberg

Elbert Weinberg was born in Hartford in May 1928. He graduated from Weaver High School, attended Hartford Art School, and received degrees from Rhode Island School of Design and Yale University.

Sketch, “Between heaven and earth,” Elbert Weinberg collection, Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library.

Between 1951-1974, Weinberg spent most of his time living and working in Italy. He returned to the United States and continued to work in Hartford, and teach at Boston University, until his death in 1991.

“Pandora” and “City Dog”. Elbert Weinberg collection, Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library.

Over the years Weinberg received numerous prizes and awards for his work. His work may be seen across the country, including here in Hartford; a Holocaust memorial in Delaware; pieces at Brandeis University, Boston University School of Law, and Colgate University;  as well as at the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta and the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco. For 35 years, Weinberg was associated with the Grace Borgenicht Gallery in New York.

“Julia, Age 3,” by Elbert Weinberg. Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library.

We are thrilled to have recently acquired Weinberg’s personal papers and objects. This collection will be added to the archives of the Hartford History Center, and be available for research during our open hours. Photographs of Weinberg’s work, scrapbooks, sketches, family correspondence, matted prints, and even tool boxes, comprise the collection. The Library now also has three of Weinberg’s sculptures, including “Julia, Age 3.”

Some of the repeated themes in Weinberg’s work are animals, mythology, and religion. Much of Weinberg’s religious work regards the Holocaust. At the Mandell Jewish Community Center in West Hartford, Weinberg’s Holocaust Memorial stands 16 feet high and is made of Corten steel. Among the photographs in our collection are those of the plaster molds with which he planned sculpture.

Holocaust Memorial at the Mandell JCC in West Hartford and plaster model of same sculpture. Elbert Weinberg collection, Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library.

Much work remains to be done before the collection is ready for researchers, but we look forward to that day.

Processing the Mayor George Athanson Papers: The Beginning

The material you see when you visit the Hartford History Center’s reading room is a small fraction of our overall holdings. Because of the nature of the material, the remainder is stored in other areas, and retrieved for researchers as needed. Additionally, like many similar institutions, we have various collections that have not been processed (arranged, described, and preserved) and are therefore not yet available for research.

One of our current projects is to make more of these collections available to the public. Visit our Collection Guides page to see some that are already available.

First on our list are the papers of former Hartford Mayor George Athanson. Athanson, one of the city’s longest serving mayors, was in office between 1971 and 1981. Upon his death in 2000, the Hartford Courant called Athanson, “an original.” They related a story of the mayor rowing across the Connecticut River to protest a General Assembly decision regarding the border between Hartford and East Hartford.


Mayor George Athanson Papers, Box 1

Athanson’s papers are currently housed in 56 records cartons. As we work on the collection we will transfer the folders to acid-free boxes, half the size of the record cartons, to aid in preservation. By the time we finish, there could be up to twice as many boxes. The exact number will depend on what we find as we go along. If we find empty folders, for example, they will be discarded.

We plan to document the processing of the Athanson collection on this blog. Check back occasionally to see how we are doing!

Summer in the City 

In a year when we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of legal slavery in the United States, we’re giving our summer cultural programs an African American spirit, and if you come to the Downtown Library’s third floor, you’ll see just what we mean. The explosive, exciting, revolutionary artwork of JoeSam. , in an exhibition called “Art for the Rest of Us – JoeSam.”,  covers our walls until early August and has been wowing our visitors since mid-June.

In addition, the beautiful quilts made by students of EdJohnetta Miller, master teacher/artist for Sankofa Kuumba, will be on display in the Hartford History Center. “New Stories: Freedom Quilts Designed by Sankofa Textile Students” showcases quilts made by students in Sistah Nandi’s “The Creative You” program at the Sankofa center in Hartford.


Views of Hartford

Samples from the Hartford History Center postcard collections.





View our past events.

Click on the slide show above to go to our digital collections.