Contact:

Margaret Anne Tockarshewsky, Executive Director, New Haven Museum

203-562-4183, ext. 20, matockarshewsky@newhavenmuseum.org

Julie Winkel, Media Specialist,

203-815-0800, jwinkel@live.com

Revolutionary New Haven at NHM

New Haven, Conn. (March 11, 2021)—The innocuous appearance of the new research publication “New Haven Town Records, 1769 – 1819,”edited by historian Peter J. Malia, belies the fact that within its covers lies a virtual “Who’s Who” of New Haven during the American Revolution. Malia will discuss how New Haven’s revolutionary experience forever changed New Haven and its people in a presentation based on his book on Thursday, April 22, 2021, at 6 p.m., via Zoom. Register here.

The New Haven Museum’s commemoration of the city’s 383rd birthday, Malia’s presentation, “Revolutionary New Haven,” will feature historic events that took place during the most eventful half-century in American history. Highlights include:

  • A known hothead and leader in the Sons of Liberty, Benedict Arnold’s militia mates chose him as their captain of the famed Second Company, Governor’s Foot Guard setting the stage for what is today known as Powder House Day in New Haven.
  • Noah Webster, of dictionary fame, also helped found the Connecticut Society for the Abolition of Slavery. He became a vocal critic of revolutionary France and the rise of Napoleon.
  • James Hillhouse not only led troops against the British invasion of New Haven in 1779, he directed the effort to plant elm trees throughout the downtown area, which earned New Haven the nickname Elm City.
  • From 1770 to 1800, New Haven suffered through a number of pandemics, including smallpox, yellow fever, and typhoid, leading to the creation of Connecticut’s first hospital.

“New Haven Town Records, 1769 – 1819” is based on the manuscript minutes of town meetings recorded by Samuel Bishop, Jr., and Elisha Munson, who served as successive town clerks for nearly a century of New Haven’s storied history. “These manuscript records are examples of the hidden gems tucked away in town halls and historical societies all around the country,” Malia explains. “If we want to really know how and why our predecessors thought and acted in building this country, the answers are right here in front of us. We just have to look.”

“New Haven’s history is a lynchpin to understanding our nation’s early history,” Malia says. “These documents are literal transcripts of town meetings, so they stand as raw, history in the making without the bias of time or interpretation—they are as close to actually being there as we will ever be.” “New Haven Town Records, 1769 – 1819” is available at the New Haven Museum Shop, through The Connecticut Press website, at area bookstores, and online.

About Peter J. Malia

Malia is a historian, writer, editor, and genealogist. He received his B.A. in history from Providence College, and graduate degrees in early American History at Trinity College and Fordham University. He served as a senior historical researcher and associate editor of Sleepy Hollow Restorations Press in Tarrytown, New York, where he played an instrumental role in the publication of several reference titles, from the “Van Courtlandt Family Papers” and the “Works of Washington Irving” to “A Pictorial History of West Point.” In his previous role as editor at the Connecticut Historical Society, Malia helped to revitalize the society’s publishing arm with the production of several acclaimed titles on topics including artists Thomas Cole and Anson Dickinson, Governor Jonathan Trumbull, an illustrated history of Hartford, and a history of Connecticut railroads. He is also the author of three award-winning titles, “Visible Saints: The Colonial History of West Haven, Connecticut, 1648 – 1798,” and “Flying Horses: The Golden Age of American Carousel Art, 1870 – 1930,” and “The Town Records of New Haven, 1769 – 1819.”

About the New Haven Museum

The New Haven Museum has been collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history and heritage of Greater New Haven since its inception as the New Haven Colony Historical Society in 1862. Located in downtown New Haven at 114 Whitney Avenue, the Museum brings more than 375 years of New Haven history to life through its collections, exhibitions, programs and outreach. As a designated Blue Star Museum, the New Haven Museum offers the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, free admission from Memorial Day through Labor Day. For more information visit www.newhavenmuseum.org or Facebook.com/NewHavenMuseum or call 203-562-4183.

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