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Library & Archives

Scope of the Collection

Approximately 800 linear feet of storage house the society’s archival resources consisting of articles, photos, correspondence and other material that document the history of Torrington and the individuals and events that contributed to that history.

Divided into categories ranging from churches and clubs to military records and town government, the archives contain several special collections. Among these are account books and ledgers from 19th century Torrington businesses and issues of Torrington newspapers on microfilm and bound volumes.

Torrington’s rich industrial past is well represented in the archives with particular emphasis on the Torrington Company, the Torrington Manufacturing Company, and the Hendey Machine Company.   A Torrington industry from 1870 to 1954, the Hendey Machine Company is the subject of a permanent exhibit at the society and photocopied versions of Hendey machine operator’s manuals are available for purchase.

The 1852 map of Torrington published by Richard Clark and Beer’s 1874 Atlas of Litchfield County are among the items in the archival map collection that also contains bird’s eye views of Torrington and a number of Sanborn Insurance maps.

Among the holdings in the archives is a collection of architectural drawings, most notably the 1000 sets of drawings from the Torrington Building Company. The architectural drawings collection includes the works of Torrington architects William E. Hunt and Carl Victor Johnson.

Architectural Drawings

Library & Archives
The Torrington Historical Society has 748 sets of architectural drawings.  The collection is divided into two categories. 

Drawings donated by McLean Construction (664)
Drawings  of  Carl Victor Johnson. (84)

McLean Collection:
This collection includes drawings predominately of Torrington buildings. The collection originated with Hotchkiss Brothers Company in the late nineteenth century. When Hotchkiss sold the construction part of its business to the Torrington Building Company around 1900, the collection was acquired by the Torrington Building Company and greatly expanded over the next half century.

When McLean Construction acquired the Torrington Building Company, McLean donated the historical drawings to the museum.  The collection included residences, commercial buildings, schools, and factories in and around Torrington.

Drawings in this collection include pencil on paper, ink on linen and blueprints.  Architects represented in the collection include. William H. Hunt, Edwin H. Waterbury, Ernest Greene, Theodore B. Peck, C.D. Janssen, Charles S. Palmer, Hotchkiss Brothers Company, Richard Henry Dana Jr., Robert W. Hill and Marcel Breuer.   
Carl Victor Johnson Collection:
This collection includes residential, commercial, and municipal buildings in and around Torrington . Carl Victor Johnson was active in the 1930s, 40s and 50s.

Hodges Collection

The Torrington Historical Society was instrumental in the 1994 publication of the book Erastus Hodges, 1781-1847: Connecticut Manufacturer, Merchant and Entrepreneur by Theodore B. Hodges.

The research material used by the author  and donated to the archives forms the Hodges Collection and is made up of several thousand business letters written between 1799 and 1845, a nearly complete set of day books from 1796 to 1837, ledgers, contacts and personal letters.

This book is available in our online store.
Library & Archives