Collection ID: M.17

Collection context

Summary

Creator:
Mattatuck Museum (1877-)
Date:
1741-2004, bulk 1890-1950
Abstract:
This artificial collection largely represents records of public and private schools in Waterbury, CT. In addition to materials about K-12 schools, there is also a small amount of material about the local universities. Document types include: newspaper clippings, yearbooks, programs, early tax records, curriculum, student newspapers, student publications, play bills, and academic brochures.
Extent:
6 Linear Feet and 3 manuscript boxes, ½ manuscript box and 1 oversized flat box and 39 volumes
Language:
English .

Background

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Scope and Content:

The Waterbury Schools and College Collection is an artifical collection compiled by the Mattatuck Museum that documents local schools and universities. Document types include: newspaper clippings, yearbooks, programs, early tax records, curriculum, student newspapers, student publications, play bills, and academic brochures.

The collection is arranged into 4 series: General Files (circa 1800-1919) that are compiled of student, teacher, and nurse files in alphabetical order; Waterbury Public and Private Schools (1788-1974) that are grouped by school chronologically; Waterbury Colleges and Universities (1895-1996) arranged alphabetically; and Other Schools in Connecticut (1846-2016) arranged alphabetically.

Biographical / Historical:

According to Anderson's Town and City of Waterbury Connecticut, the first records referring to a school in Waterbury were made in 1698 when the town granted 30 shillings in addition to the rent of the school lands for the encouragement of the school for four months. A committee was chosen to produce a school to teach writing and reading. Anderson goes on to surmise that it was likely that Jeremiah Peck was the teacher from 1689-1698.

A school house was built in 1709 and was likely the only one until 1731 when men living at Judds Meadow, Woster Swamp, and Bucks Hill called for a share in the tax money to be spent on schools in their areas. It's likely that these early schools were seasonal schools. In 1749, Waterbury was divided into 4 school districts.

As Waterbury expanded and grew thanks to the brass industry, so did the number and types of schools available. Horace Hotchkiss described Waterbury schools in the earl 1800s: "there were...two, known as the East Centre and West Centre...The one room was lined, except in the spaces of the fireplace and the door, by a continuous writing desk....Both (school houses) were rude and inconvienent buildings."

In 1849 a special committee was formed to suggest that all 5 school districts - North Centre, Centre, West Centre, Bridge, and Gaylord - combine into one incorporated Centre school district. The first meeting of the new district was held on July 14, 1849 at Gothic Hall. One of the first projects was the establishment of a high school. The first Waterbury High School was built and opened on January 27, 1851, and was rebuilt in 1873 after the 1870 fire. It is now known as Crosby High School after superintendent Minot Sherman Crosby.

In 1865 as the Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies, which later changed its name to St. Margaret's School for Girls was founded as the first Waterbury higher education focused on educating women. While finishing schools taught women manners, sewing, singing, and other skills, St. Margaret's offered a "serious" education.

Arrangement:

The collection is arranged into 4 series: General Files (circa 1800-1919) that are compiled of student, teacher, and nurse files in alphabetical order; Waterbury Public and Private Schools (1788-1974) that are grouped by school chronologically; Waterbury Colleges and Universities (1895-1996) arranged alphabetically; and Other Schools in Connecticut (1846-2016) arranged alphabetically.

Access

LOCATION OF THIS COLLECTION:
63 Prospect St
Waterbury, CT, USA
CONTACT:
(203) 753-0381
scrawford@mattmuseum.org