The term “special collections” is a broad one, and is used by different institutions to mean different things. Here at the Bridgeport History Center, we use the term special collections to refer to material unique to Bridgeport that does not fall under other categories, such as archives and manuscripts, films, maps, and newspapers. These include city directories, our clipping and vertical files, and yearbook collection, among others.
City directories for Bridgeport run from 1855 to 1990. These directories not only include information about who lived where when, but also information about a person’s occupation or place of work; they will sometimes include the names of spouses or death dates. There are also listings for businesses and organizations. These directories are available in physical form, microfilm, and partially through our databases.
We have additional directories for other cities in Connecticut. For a full listing, please click here.
The Bridgeport History Center holdings include various documents created by the city of Bridgeport. These include municipal registers (city yearbooks that include key information about city government officials and departments) that run from 1863 to 1961, City Council proceedings, and city reports and publications. We do not have every city document or publication created by city agencies. Please refer to the City of Bridgeport Municipal Archives if we do not have what you are looking for.
The BHC has a collection of newspaper clippings and vertical files. These clippings are actual or photocopied articles taken from local newspaper titles over decades have been arranged by major topics of interests. The department’s vertical files contain short documents, brochures, flyers, reports, and ephemera and follow the same general subject headings as the clippings collection. Please be aware that the clippings are samples not complete or a definitive index.
Community cookbooks offer unique insights into groups and food trends, and enables a greater understanding of a community’s sense of belonging to a given place. Many times cookbooks are used as fundraisers or outreach, helping to bring attention to a community or organization’s work.
Over the years, the Bridgeport Public Library has entered community based cookbooks into it’s collections, and then turned the items over to the Bridgeport History Center upon removing the books from circulation. At the same time, the Bridgeport History Center has acquired cook books from various community organizations. This collection is currently seeking additional donations. To see what is already available, please click here.
Collected by both the Bridgeport History Center specifically and the Bridgeport Public Library overall, the Organizational Reports and Catalogs collection holds a number of reports, catalogs, yearbooks, and other ephemera published by major and minor industries and organizations within Bridgeport. For a listing of which organizations and corporations are represented in the collection, please click here.
High school yearbooks are collected from all of Bridgeport’s high schools. While there are no complete runs of these yearbooks, there is a sizable amount for each high school within the city. To view a list of which yearbooks we do have, please click here to view the PDF.
Select yearbooks from Bassick, Central, and Warren Harding High Schools have been digitized and are available online here. Please click the school name to view the appropriate yearbook!