BHC Special Events/Announcements
Bridgeport History Center Schedule
Saturday, January 1 - December 31, 2022
The History Center is currently open to the public the following hours:
Wednesday: 12:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Thursday: 12:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Friday: 10:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Saturdays are by appointment only: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. | 12:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. | 2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
To request a slot on a Saturday:
- Please fill out this form with your preferred time slot(s) and contact information OR give us a call at (203) 576-7400 ext. 7
If you are interested in viewing archival collections, we strongly encourage you to contact us at least 24 hours ahead, so that we may discuss your research interests with you and retrieve selected materials from storage.View details
The 17th Connecticut Regiment at Gettysburg
Saturday, June 10, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Burroughs-Saden Library, Bridgeport History Center, 3rd Floor
Historian Carolyn Ivanoff, author of Ebenezer Bassett’s Historic Journey and Fame and Infamy for the Hulls of Derby for Connecticut Explored gives a talk about her newest book, We Fought At Gettysburg, and the extraordinary lives of the men of the 17th Regiment of the Connecticut Infantry.
FREE ADMISSIONView details
New Exhibit: Bridgeport’s Bravest
Since 1796, the firefighters of Bridgeport have tirelessly dedicated themselves to protecting Connecticut’s largest city. Bridgeport’s Bravest is a new exhibit designed by archivist Jaime Pettit from the Bridgeport History Center, that showcases the history of firefighting in Bridgeport, as well as the fire department’s involvement in the community. The exhibit features authentic artifacts from the Bridgeport fire department, as well as photographs of firefighters throughout the centuries. Be sure to visit us on the third floor of the Burroughs-Saden Building!
BHC x CTDA: Bridgeport’s history, now more searchable than ever
Find BHC Materials ONLINE
The Bridgeport History Center has been a proud part of the Connecticut Digital Archive for years now, taking advantage of this unique digital preservation platform that invites cultural institutions from all around Connecticut to share digitized material. Since March of 2020, BHC has worked hard to take advantage of CTDA’s hosting, search features, and support in order to make more of it’s holdings available and easier to search.
BHC is proud to share its updated CTDA space. Explore Black Bridgeport. Get to know our Archives and Manuscripts better. Did you know we have yearbooks digitized? All of our Grassroots Historians articles are available too, along with postcards and Mary Witkowski’s newspaper articles. You can search within the Bridgeport History Center’s collections only, or expand it to all of CTDA in order to find more material.
New and Noteworthy at BHC
The Bridgeport History Center updates our new and noteworthy page on a regular basis! Check back to see what we’ve added and you can come in and use. This page was last updated on April 22, 2022.
New Archival Collections
The Papers of Katya and Bert Gilden – Writing as K.B. Gilden, Katya and Bert Gilden were Bridgeport based authors. Their novel tween the Hills and the Sea is set in a lightly fictionalized Bridgeport and noted for its accuracy of union politics and life on the shop floor. This collection features both their individual papers, the creative process and more,
Papers of John Adam Hugo – Composer John Adam Hugo lived in Bridgeport following extensive musical training in Europe. In addition to having an opera produced at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, he composed extensive classical and popular works. The Bridgeport History Center is the sole location to house his composition manuscripts.
Films of Nicholas Pasquariello – Select films from Mr. Pasquariello’s collection of local public television have been digitized and uploaded to the Connecticut Digital Archive. These include local mayoral debates and discussions about the arts as well as Connecticut state debates and lectures regarding mid-00s politics including the war in Iraq and the USA PATRIOIT Act.
BHC has been continuing to add photographs to the Connecticut Digital Archive. There are over one thousand images available, with more on the way! Don’t see what you’re looking for? Contact us on our contact form.
New Digital Collections
BHC has one of the best newspaper clippings collections in the state. Explore some of the initial offerings from this vast resource.
New Research Guides
At long last, BHC has updated it’s Labor and Industrial History Research guide! Clocking in at 11 pages, this contains an in depth list of the material related to labor history available for you to use at the Bridgeport History Center. Offerings include archival collections, newspaper resources, and secondary works.
Plat maps with details of lot apportionments and street details for cities across the United States
Maps with details on buildings prepared for the insurance industry
BHC Events & Regular Monthly Programming
The 17th Connecticut Regiment at Gettysburg
Saturday, June 10, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:30 pmView details
Memoir Writing Workshop
Saturday, June 17, 2023
10:30 am - 12:00 pmView details
Bridgeport’s Most Mysterious Millionaire Founder of A&P George Francis Gilman
By Carolyn Ivanoff
George Francis Gilman was a man recognizable to Bridgeporters, especially those in Black Rock. He was the wealthiest man in Fairfield County. When he retired from his legendary career as a tea importer to Bridgeport in 1878, he purchased a prominent 1762 colonial estate in Black Rock. Gilman was known for his expansive entertaining of famous celebrities, actresses, and the “upper crust” He and his wife were childless but had adopted a nephew. Mrs. Gilman passed away in 1891. After his wife’s death, Mr. Gilman no longer included the first families of Bridgeport in his entertaining, preferring to ignore them. He distanced himself from his adopted nephew, and he isolated himself thoroughly from local and familial relationships, but continued to host extravagant parties for actresses, artists, and the elite of the age. On November 7, 1894, after a lavish ball, the house went up in flames suddenly and spectacularly. Gilman, his guests, and his servants narrowly escaped, and several of New York’s privileged saved themselves by jumping from the windows in their night clothes or the expensive costumes they had worn to the ball. Gilman’s priceless art collection was destroyed, the entire home and contents lost. (more…)
Death and the Historian
by Elizabeth Boyce
Just a few years back, my youngest daughter innocently summed up my work to new friends saying: “Oh, and that’s my mom.” As they passed by, she added, “She works with dead people.”
She wasn’t wrong. I do spend an inordinate amount of time getting to know the people of the past. So, for this Halloween, let me share with you the intertwining stories of two men who, like me, were historians. They each spent many hours walking amongst the headstones of local cemeteries-including those right here in our town. And while that might seem like a morbid pastime, these men were pioneers in local historic appreciation and preservation. (more…)