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Connecticut History Online Is Awarded Nearly $500,000 For Major Expansion



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Connecticut History Online Is Awarded Nearly $500,000 For Major Expansion

STORRS — The Institute for Museum and Library Services has awarded Connecticut History Online (CHO), an online collection of nearly 15,000 images documenting Connecticut Life in the 19th and 20th Centuries, a $498,770 grant to support a two-year expansion. Connecticut History Online, www.CTHistoryOnline.org, was launched in January 2002 by a consortium including the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut, The Connecticut Historical Society and Mystic Seaport. To date, more than one million users have logged on to CHO.

The new funding, made through a prestigious National Leadership Grant for Library-Museum Collaborations, will allow CHO to expand its online collection to include nearly 25,000 records consisting of manuscripts, audio clips, oral history transcripts, artifacts, maps, diaries and publications, in addition to the photographs that currently serve as the basis of the website.

The new images will be contributed by the existing partners as well as two new repositories of historical materials: New Haven Colony Historical Society and Connecticut State Library. The expansion will make CHO one of the largest collections of digital materials available on the web and the largest single collection of Connecticut historical material online.

Currently, the vast gallery contains nearly 15,000 photographs covering a wide variety of subjects dating from 1800 to 1950. CHO allows seamless searching of primary sources by keyword and subject, browsing of the site by subject or collection, and provides a powerful Geolocator that enable users of the website to find materials by selecting locations and geographical features on a map of Connecticut. A virtual tour through photo essays called Journeys is grouped under five major categories: diversity, infrastructure, environment, lifestyle, and livelihood.

Material added to CHO in Phase 2 will significantly expand both the geographic coverage of the database as well as make available a wider variety of historical material to students, teachers, history buffs, and researchers. For example, The Connecticut Historical Society will be adding 250 images from its outstanding clothing collection, which focuses on middle-and working-class apparel from 1760 to 1890, while Mystic Seaport will provide ships’ logs, journals and diaries maintained by captains and seamen during the Nineteenth Century. The Dodd Center will add material from its Alternative Press Collection focusing on the antiwar movement and African American and women activist groups of the 1960s and 70s as well as railroad maps, board minutes and blueprints from the New Haven Railroad and its predecessor lines.

New Haven Colony Historical Society is contributing 1,500 images that are specific to New Haven’s urban redevelopment period from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The images were chosen because they document the physical transformation of New Haven and reflect changes in the city as it stands today.

Connecticut State Library will contribute the entire Mills Photograph Collection, which consists of 500 black and white images of historic Connecticut and one-room schoolhouses taken by teacher and principal Lewis S. Mills (1895-1955). Also scheduled for inclusion in the database is a portion of World War I Military Service Questionnaires and Photographs prepared by the War Records Department in 1919. Some 400 questionnaires returned by World War I men and women veterans with accompanying photographs in civilian dress and in uniform will become part of CHO.

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