Scope of the Library's Collections

The Stacks
THE LIBRARY COLLECTION IS composed of 6,500 volumes including 175 volumes of Litchfield Law School founder Tapping Reeve’s law library, other 18th and 19th century law books, 40 volumes of the 18th century medical library of Dr. Daniel Sheldon, 490 19th century school books, 220 volumes by local authors, a collection of 18th and 19th century sermons and published religious works, local biographies, decorative arts reference books, community histories, family genealogies and general historical reference works. Search our book catalog here.

The manuscript collection consists of 900 linear feet of business records, personal papers, journals, scrapbooks, diaries and account books, local newspapers dating from 1778 to the present day, an architectural survey, oral history transcripts, photographs, poster and broadsides, ephemera and the institutional archives. Strengths of the collection include early 19th century personal, business and political correspondence, civil war correspondence and 19th century account books.Search our online finding aids here.

Litchfield Female Academy Collection
The Litchfield Female Academy operated between 1792 and 1833 and drew more than 3,000 students from 15 states and territories, Canada and the West Indies. The archive collection includes student letters, diaries, journals, copy books, music manuscripts, catalogs, diplomas, play and essay manuscripts, bills and receipts, school books and correspondence of teachers, students and student families. The Society also owns needlework pictures, watercolors, drawings, maps, charts and other material produced by young women while they were students at the school.

Litchfield Law School Collection
Tapping Reeve’s Litchfield Law School was the first school of law in the United States. Over 1,100 young men attended the school between 1774 and 1833. The library collection includes more than 100 manuscript books of students’ lecture notes, student letters, Tapping Reeve’s law library, 18th and 19th century law books, images of students and a related collection of 18th and 19th century writing equipment.

Benjamin Tallmadge Collection
Col. Benjamin Tallmadge (1754-1835) served under George Washington in the American Revolution and is best known for organizing a spy ring that provided intelligence information to General Washington. He discovered the conspiracy between General Benedict Arnold and British Major John Andre. After the Revolution, Tallmadge was a partner in several mercantile ventures and served as a Connecticut representative to congress from 1801-1817. These papers include his personal, business and political correspondence written between 1778 and 1832.

Mary Perkins Quincy
Mary Perkins Quincy (1866-1921) was a descendent of several early Litchfield families. Quincy was a socialite who lived in New York City and Litchfield and traveled throughout the world. The Quincy collection includes correspondence, diaries, travel itineraries, bills, receipts, photographs and ephemera detailing her life in Litchfield and New York, letters, bills and receipts detailing the construction and furnishing of her home in Litchfield and papers from her travels throughout the world.