Fairfield Museum hosts Collier Collection

The Fairfield Museum & History Center is now the home of one of the best and most comprehensive libraries of Connecticut history, the Collier Collection. An announcement of this exciting acquisition was made yesterday at the Fairfield Museum in front of local and state officials, members of the press, educators, librarians and supporters of the Museum.

Collier collection

Collier collection

Assembled over the distinguished academic career of former Connecticut State Historian Christopher Collier, this extensive compilation of books and other materials is the most complete collection on Connecticut history in private hands. The Collier Collection will be available to researchers and students at the Fairfield Museum’s Research Library, thanks to a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Christopher Collier was born in New York City in 1930. He received a B.A. from Clark University, followed by an M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. He is professor of history emeritus at the University of Connecticut and the author of the Pulitzer-nominated Roger Sherman’s Connecticut, Decision at Philadelphia, All Politics is Local. He wrote the Newbery Award-winning historical novel My Brother Sam Is Dead (published in 1974) with his brother, James Collier, as well as seven other historical novels for young adults. Jump Ship to Freedom (1981) was named a Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies in 1981 by a joint committee of the National Council for the Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council. Collier was the official Connecticut State Historian from 1984–2004. The State Historian is appointed by the trustees of the University of Connecticut, and is a faculty member in the UConn Department of History. The State Historian is also assigned by the legislature to serve on a number of boards and commissions that promote, preserve, and/or research state history.

Among the Collier Collection of Connecticut History’s approximately 1,400 volumes are all the major monographs in Connecticut history, hundreds of local histories, biographies of Connecticut figures, vertical files of scholarly articles, rare and out of print books, and popular works published over the past two centuries.  The collection also includes more than two hundred doctoral dissertations on Connecticut history, the only such collection in existence.

Acquisition of the Collier Collection distinguishes the Fairfield Museum’s Research Library as one of the best repositories of Connecticut history in the state. Catalogued with support of Institute of Museum and Library Science (IMLS), the collection will be available to researchers and students exploring topics in state and local history.

A reception opening the new collection was held on April 21 at the Museum. Speakers included Fairfield Museum Executive Director Mike Jehle, Chairman of the Fairfield Museum Board Sharon Lauer, Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau, Connecticut State Historian Walter Woodword and Christopher Collier himself. Food and wine was generously donated by Taberna restaurant in Fairfield.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

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