Annual Meeting

POSTPONED: 2020 NHS Annual Meeting & Volunteer Appreciation Reception
March 23, 2020 6:30pm
Otis Library Community Room

With the growing prevalence of COVID-19, or Coronavirus, in Connecticut, the Norwich Historical Society is monitoring both federal and state guidance on how to minimize exposure to and spread of the virus.

Out of an abundance of caution, the Norwich Historical Society is postponing our Annual Meeting & Volunteer Appreciation Reception. This difficult decision was not made lightly, however, the safety of our friends and members is our utmost priority.

We will inform our members when a new date for the Annual Meeting has been chosen. Thank you for your understanding and support.

Please stay safe and be well.


Please join us for the Norwich Historical Society’s Annual Meeting and Volunteer Appreciation Reception. The Norwich Historical Society’s mission is to help preserve, protect and promote the rich history of Norwich, CT. The Norwich Historical Society hosts an Annual Meeting, which includes a brief business meeting and report, followed by a program open to the public. The Annual Meeting is free and open to the public. The agenda for the evening is below:

From 6:30pm – 6:45pm There will be a short business portion of Annual Meeting and brief overview of the past year

From 6:45pm – 7:15pm local author Tricia Staley will give her short lecture on the Taftville strike of 1875

From 7:15pm- 8:00pm we will have a brief award ceremony and volunteer appreciation reception

The event will be held in the Otis Library’s Community Room.

About the Lecture:
In 1865, it was farmland. Five years later, a large textile factory dominated the village, now called Taftville. The mill hands were mainly Irish men and women, although a few were veteran hands of the great English and Scottish mills. In 1875, many of those hands went out on strike, and Taftville changed yet again when the Irish strikers were fired and replaced with French Canadians. Local author, Tricia Staley, will share what she learned about the history of the strike and how the French-Canadians came to Taftville as she researched an article for Connecticut Explored magazine. Complementary copies of Connecticut Explored will be available to the public.


About the Speaker:

Tricia Staley is a retired history teacher and school administrator. Prior to becoming an educator, she was a newspaper reporter, editor and advertising/public relations consultant.

She majored in history at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and holds a master’s degree and sixth-year certificate from Sacred Heart University. She also has completed certificate programs in genealogy and maritime history at other institutions.

Tricia has long been active in Norwich community affairs and currently sits on the Norwich Board of Education. She most recently served on the “Friends” boards of Otis Library and Slater Museum.

Norwich in the Gilded Age: The Rose City’s Millionaire’s Triangle was published by The History Press in January 2014. An illustrated lecture and popular walking tours are based on her research for that book. Her second book, Norwich in the Civil War came out in September 2015. It chronicles the Norwich residents who served in virtually every major engagement of the war, as well as activity on the home front led by Norwich resident William Alfred Buckingham who served as governor of Connecticut from 1858-1866. Tricia’s current projects include a family history and magazine articles.

The NHS 2019 Annual Meeting
Monday March 25, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm Otis Library

The Norwich Historical Society’s mission is to help preserve, protect and promote the rich history of Norwich, CT. The Norwich Historical Society hosts an Annual Meeting, which includes a brief business meeting and report, followed by a program open to the public.

The 2019 Annual Meeting will feature two speakers discussing themes related to the recently completed Norwich Freedom Trail. Norwich resident, Lottie B. Scott, will talk about her new book Deep South Deep North: A Family’s Journey. Additionally, Central Connecticut State University Professor, Dr. Robert Wolff, will speak on exploring the makings of American memory, from “bricks and mortar” sites like museums and historic plantations, to digital spaces like Wikipedia. Dr. Wolff’s research and teaching interests lie primarily in the areas of slavery and abolition in the Americas.

Copies of Lottie Scott’s book will be available for sale and signing. There will be light refreshments and this program is free and open to the public. The Annual Meeting will be held in the Story Room near the children’s area at Otis Library.

About the speaker:

 Robert S. Wolff received a B.A. with Honors from Swarthmore College in 1988, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1991 and 1998 respectively. He came to Central Connecticut State University in 1997. He served as department chair, 2003-2006, and as assistant to the dean from 2007 until 2012. He teaches an undergraduate methods course that explores the Amistad Revolt in the Atlantic World, advanced undergraduate seminar on African Enslavement in the Americas, and graduate seminar on the U.S. Civil War & Reconstruction.

For graduate students he recently developed a course entitled Slavery and Abolition in American Memory. He is currently at work on two research projects of note. The first is an article-length exploration of evangelicalism in the antebellum antislavery and African colonization movements. The second is a monograph that traces the Amistad Revolt in history and memory, tentatively entitled, Amistad Remembered: History, Memory and the Making of the Abolitionist Past.


About the book:

In Deep South – Deep North: A Family’s Journey, Lottie B. Scott tells both the heartbreaking and triumphant tale of her maturation into adulthood against a racially-charged, impoverished, yet fiercely loving backdrop in Longtown, South Carolina.

Scott traces her family history, peppered with familial violence and love alike. She describes her early childhood years of living amidst a sea of brothers, until little sisters finally arrived. Under the cloud of racial discrimination, difficult farm working conditions, and family tensions, Scott describes the unbreakable bonds of love that eventually emerged to forever bind her family members together.

As the passing years turn to decades, and family members move north, Scott reveals how these bonds of love become a transformative power, forever altering the lives of each member of her family.

About the author:

Lottie B. Scott was born and raised on a farm in Longtown, South Carolina. In 1957, she moved to Norwich, Connecticut, where she raised her son and has called Norwich home ever since. She has been involved in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties as a Leader and Advocate for fifty-five years in Norwich and Connecticut.

She worked for the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) for twenty-two years. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the City of Norwich Ellis Walter Ruley Committee and on the City of Norwich Sachem Fund and Norwich Disabilities Committees. In 2017, she received the Willard M. McRae Community Diversity Award and a Writer’s Block Ink Humanitarian ACE Award.

The Norwich Historical Society Annual Meeting

Monday, March 26 2018 at 5:30 PM - 7 PM

The Lofts at Ponemah Mills 607 Norwich Avenue, Norwich, Connecticut 06380


The Norwich Historical Society’s mission is to help preserve, protect and promote the rich history of Norwich, CT. The Norwich Historical Society hosts an Annual Meeting, which includes a brief business meeting and report, followed by a program open to the public.

Please join us as Taftville Fire Chief, Tim Jencks, intertwines the history of the area with his own personal experiences growing up in Taftville. Additionally, we will be premiering the documentary NHS created on the history of Taftville and the Ponemah Mills for our members. Special thanks to former NHS Secretary, Dianne Brown, and the Browning family for their contribution and help on this project.

Following the documentary, please join us for a special guided tour of the immaculately restored Ponemah Mills while hearing plans for Phase 2.

All guests MUST park at the back of the building. Handicap parking violations will be strictly enforced through the Norwich Police Department.

The proper entrance to the Community Room is via the back entrance of the building.
Thank you to The Lofts at Ponemah Mills and Taftville Fire Co.#2 for all their help coordinating and supporting this event.

Space is limited to 60 people. Please preregister by emailing Regan at

2017 Program

Our 2017 Annual Meeting departed from our traditional style of program and featured three speakers discussing the influence of mental health on Norwich’s history.

Faith Trumbull was related to some remarkable historical figures: her father, Jonathan Trumbull, was Connecticut’s Revolutionary War Governor, her husband, Jedediah Huntington, was a prominent General in the Revolutionary War and her brother, John Trumbull, depicted famous scenes from the Revolutionary War in his paintings. Faith was an artist and produced a number of exquisite needlework, yet she experienced severe bouts of depression which sadly caused her to take her own life. Dr. Pamela Hall gave a brief history of Faith’s tragic story while deconstructing the stigma of suicide then and now. Further, Dr. Hall broadly explored how people in the eighteenth century experiencing depression and bipolar disorder managed their symptoms. Dr.  Hall is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and has a deep interest in colonial history.


Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a pronounced feminist, social reformist and author. Her most famous work is her semi-autobiographical short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” which she wrote after a severe bout of postpartum psychosis. Madelyn Bell is a Junior at the Norwich Free Academy and she interned at the Norwich Heritage & Regional Visitors’ Center during the summer of 2016. During her internship, Madelyn wrote an article about notable women such as Lydia Huntley Sigourney and Charlotte Perkins Gilman who lived in the Lathrop Manor. Madelyn presented her research on Charlotte Perkins Gilman.


The Norwich State Hospital opened in 1904 and remained in operation until 1996. The Hospital was a mental health facility initially created for the “mentally ill and the criminally insane”, but also housed geriatric and tuberculosis patients.  Bob Farwell, the Executive Director of Otis Library, gave a brief history of the Norwich State Hospital and provide dan overview of Connecticut’s involvement in eugenics at the turn of the 20th century.

2016 Program

The 2016 program featured Damien Cregeau, who is an independent historian, public speaker and narrator who earned his bachelor’s in history from Hillsdale College and his master’s in history from Colorado State University. Mr. Cregeau is a native of Connecticut, taught history at prepatory schools for several years, and has spoken on various topics related to colonial America and the Revolutionary War since 2007 throughout the northeast. His most popular talks are about spies in the Revolutionary War as well as the life a common foot soldier in that war.

There is a resurgence of interest in spies in the American Revolution thanks largely to the success of the AMC TV series “TURN” as well as Brian Kilmeade’s book Secret Six. Mr. Cregeau will speak about spies and spy tradecraft in Connecticut and New York during the American Revolution, including those spies and special operations that were tied to patriots and traitors from southeastern Connecticut. Part of the PowerPoint slideshow presentation will include an analysis of patriot leaders from Norwich, including Col. John Durkee, Generals Jabez and Jedediah Huntington, Lt. Colonel Ebenezer Huntington, and the infamous patriot hero turned traitor, Benedict Arnold.

Annual Meeting with Damien Cregeau
Spies of the American Revolution

2015 Program

This program featured author Mark Allen Baker, a former business executive and entrepreneur. As the author of eighteen books—including the award-nominated Title Town USA: Boxing in Upstate New York, Basketball History in Syracuse: Hoops Roots and Spies of Revolutionary Connecticut: From Benedict Arnold to Nathan Hale—and a historian, his expertise has been referenced in numerous periodicals, including USA TODAY, Sports Illustrated and Money.

Mr. Baker’s latest book, Connecticut Families of the Revolution, discusses the role men, women and families played during the Revolution. Mr. Baker details the vital role of women during the Revolution and highlights siblings who fought besides each other during the war. Mr. Baker gives the reader insight into what life was like for Connecticut families during the American Revolution.

Annual Meeting Mark Allen Baker

2014 Program

232323Local author Tricia Staley discussed her book “Norwich in the Gilded Age: The Rose City’s Millionaires’ Triangle.”

Stroll down Norwich’s most fashionable mile of millionaires’ mansions and mingle with the extraordinary people who lived and played behind their elegant façades during the glamorous Gilded Age. Wealthy manufacturers and merchants constructed magnificent mansions, many of which survive today, along this trendiest triangle in the glitzy Rose of New England. Tricia Staley has uncovered forgotten scandals like the Blackstone baby kidnapping and the bank cashiers who embezzled thousands of dollars from wealthy residents, as well as the drama of fortunes made and lost. Meet Tiffany’s founding partner John Young, rubber shoe manufacturing king William A. Buckingham, the Slaters, Greenes, Hubbards and more salacious, stylish titans of industry and extravagance.