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Middletown History Resources

Sources of information about the history of Middletown and surrounding area.

Special Collections & Archives Image Collections

There is no single source for photographs of Middletown. Researchers should be prepared to consult a variety of sources. The best sources are listed below.

Vertical File Photographs Collection, circa late 1800s-1970s

The SC&A Vertical File Photographs Collection is a rich source of photographs and images. Images are arranged by topic, such as diasters, businesses, and streets. For a list of topics, please consult the finding aid:

Wesleyan Class Albums, circa 1850s-1880s

Class albums were a precursor to the yearbook. Students purchased a selection of photographs by local or New York photographers to include in their class albums: classmates, faculty, campus and local scenes. An on-going project is underway to index the albums, and there are paper lists that aid with the locating images. Albums from the 1880s seem to have the highest yield of Middletown scenes.

Middletown Press Photograph Collection, circa 1920s-1990s

Another resource for Middletown photographic images will be available in coming months. Middletown Press photographs from about 1920 to 1985, 23 boxes are being organized and listed to make them useable. Additionally, also being listed and described, are the Press research files. Although not fully processed, they are available for research.

University Photographers Collection, circa 1950s-ongoing

Primarily documenting Wesleyan University, the University Photographers Collection also contains a small collection of Middletown scenes. At present, there is no publicly-available finding aid to the collection.

Olla Podrida (Wesleyan yearbook), 1862-2008

The Olla Podrida (Wesleyan yearbook) is a rich source of photographs of Wesleyan campus and surrounding community. Although publication started in 1862, photographs and engravings did not appear in the yearbook until around the 1880s. Publication was discontinued after the 2008 edition. A complete set is available in SC&A during reading room hours and for circulation anytime Olin Library is open. Floor 3A, north wall.

The Wesleyan Argus, 1868-present

The Argus generally did not publish any or only a few photographs until the mid-twentieth centure, but after that, it is a fairly reliable source of images. A complete set is available in SC&A during reading room hours and for circulation anytime Olin Library is open. Floor 3A, north wall.

Other Image Collections

City of Middletown Planning, Conservation and Development Document Library

The Department of Planning, Conservation and Development maintains an online library that contains a large number of documents, maps, photos, and images that relate to historical topics. Access a list of historical photographs, which are grouped by decade, most recent first.

Aerial Photographs of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut and the Connecticut State Library provide access to digitized aerial photographs covering the state of Connecticut for the years 1934-2000.

Connecticut History Illustrated

Connecticut History Illustrated brings together the Connecticut history-related digital resources of libraries, archives, museums, galleries, historical societies and other cultural heritage institutions in Connecticut. It contains material as varied as the history of the state, from documents to images, from maps to audio and video covering the entire spectrum of work, play, and life in Connecticut.CHI makes it possible for students, teachers, scholars and the general public to discover and use all types of digitized and born digital material including still and moving images, documents, sound recordings, (including oral histories), maps, books, pamphlets, broadsides, paintings, and three-dimensional artifacts all relating to the history and culture of Connecticut from the 17th to the 21st century. These resources are free to use for personal enjoyment, reference, and educational purposes.The CHI contributing organizations represent three major communities–libraries, museums, and historical societies–who preserve and make accessible historical collections within the state of Connecticut.