The Hartford Public High School Museum Advisory Committee
In 2008,The HPHS History Project Committee became the HPHS Museum Advisory Committee, a group of alumni and active/retired faculty members. A support group of volunteers from the classes of 1953, 1957, and 1958 meet once a month in order to organize displays, update inventory, and maintain the collections in the Museum.
Alumni from the classes of 1936B up through 2003 have contributed separately and through the Friends of the HPHS Museum & Archive.
Thanks to the generosity of all of the above we have been able to clean and restore most of our oil paintings and framed engravings. David Kimball of the Stagecoach Gallery in Granby and Michael Shortell of Shortell Framing in Hartford did a superb job of restoring, cleaning, and conserving these pieces of art. The paintings and engravings are on display in the Lewis Fox Memorial Library Media Center and in the HPHS Museum & Archive at the school building on Forest Street.
If you would like to visit the HPHS Museum, please contact R. J. Luke Williams by calling the Museum at (860) 695-1405 and leaving a message or by emailing him at <email@example.com>
An offshoot of the Project is the establishment of the “Friends of the HPHS Museum & Archive,” a group of retired and active teachers, alumni, and others whose goals are to preserve and enhance the HPHS historical collections.
The HPHS History Series is a collection of articles written by R. J. Luke Williams about the school and the Museum & Archive Collections. Copies are made available when visitors come to the Museum.
The definitive early history of the school is C. Duncan Yetman’s The Hartford Public High School: 1639-1865. (Dissertation for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Yale University, 1956)
The Hartford Public High School Museum & Archive
One of the goals of the Hartford Public High School History Project initiated in 1995 was the establishment of a museum for school history. With the opening of the unique HPHS Museum & Archive in September, 2007, the HPHS History Project Committee became in effect the HPHS Museum Committee which guides the care and use of the collections in the Museum.
The Hartford Public High School Museum is located in two rooms on the 2nd (main) floor of the school, 55 Forest Street , Hartford , Connecticut 06105 . The Museum measures approximately 18’ by 16,’ and the Archive measures 16’ by 10.’ There are two entrances, a main door and a side door. Two walls have shadow-box windows that look out into the southeast corner of the 2nd floor academic wing of the school.
The Museum displays items from the historic Hopkins Street building of HPHS. Constructed in 1883 and enlarged in 1897, the HPHS Hopkins Street building was the greatest work of architect George Keller. Items on display are Albert Entress’s statue “Youth Bearing His Shield,” 19thCentury student desks, hand-carved cherry panels from pocket doors, paintings, photographs, and carved architectural fragments.
Most of the Museum Collection, however, is in the Archive. There are approximately 500 books, a large collection of antique science apparati, an extensive trophy collection, scrapbooks, memorabilia, paintings, photos, and engravings. The manuscript and printed material collections comprise approximately 35 linear feet of shelf space.
Historical features from the earlier HPHS buildings are also displayed in other areas of the school building. Seven of the twenty-two oil paintings and one of the engravings are displayed in the LewisFox Memorial Library Media Center . Historical features of the Library include the brownstone mantel from the Hopkins St. main office fireplace, the brass fixtures from the fireplace, and paneling created from the Hopkins St. Building pocket doors. The 1915 Mason & Hamlin piano, restored with grants and donations, graces the southwest corner of the main reading room.
On the first floor level of the northeast entrance stairwell there are three showcases which display the James G. Batterson Fossil Collection, donated to the school in 1883. Above the center showcase is a diorama created by students of the HPHS Art Club in 1998.
Twenty architectural fragments from Hopkins are part of an Architectural Stones Garden in theGreat Court.
During the school year, from September to June, the Museum is open twice a week, usually on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Please call or email if you would like to schedule a visit.
Telephone: (860) 695-1405 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
R. J. Luke Williams, Archivist.
Friends of the H.P.H.S. Museum & Archive
For many years, graduates, faculty, and friends in the Hartford Public High School community wanted HPHS to have a place in the school that would display items from the school’s history. This idea has been fulfilled with the inclusion of an attractive museum and archive area in the renovations of the HPHS Forest Street building.
Along with this we should give a sense of continuity to the school by ensuring that there will always be people who will appreciate the school’s history and carry on the goals of the museum-archive for years to come. The “Friends of the HPHS Museum & Archive” was established to provide this support.
In this way the school’s collection of oil paintings, photographs, documents, school records, antique books, antique science equipment, statuary, plaques, and furniture will be preserved for the future. Many of these items are on display in the new museum area and in showcases and common areas of the new wing. The 1883 brownstone owl, for example, was placed in the new main lobby in January, 2010. Three reproduction owls, modeled on the 1883 original, grace the façade of the renovated building.
The goal of the “Friends” is to support the H.P.H.S. Museum in the following ways:
- Save, preserve, and catalogue the historical and archival collections at the Hartford Public High School. These are sources for the study of the history of the school, the history of the city of Hartford, and the history of education in the state of Connecticut.
- Preserve and display materials from the collections in the new museum area of the school.
- Solicit new material relating to the history of the school.
- Serve the alumni and public when they request information about the school and its collections.
- Educate the faculty and students in the history of the school and its role in the history of Hartford.
- Train students in the preservation and use of archival materials.
If you would like to become a member of the “Friends,” please send a $10.00 membership donation to the address below. The check should be made out to “HPHS Alumni Association/ Archive Fund.” Three newsletters are sent out by email each year, and members are encouraged to visit the Museum when they plan a trip to Hartford..
R.J. Luke Williams
H.P.H.S Museum & Archive
55 Forest Street
Hartford, CT 06105
THE HARTFORD PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL HISTORY PROJECT
The Hartford Public High School History Project began in 1995 as a result of the concerns which faculty members and alumni had for the iconographic, photographic, memorabilia, and archival collections at the school. The goals of the project were set in that year and are outlined on a separate sheet.
A committee was composed of the Principal, three active and three retired faculty members, and R.J. Luke Williams, who was head teacher of the Social Studies Department at the time. Mr. Williams chaired the committee and with help from volunteers transferred all archival material at the school to a central location in the school vault. Yearbooks, copies of the Owlet, bound copies of the Chronicle, scrapbooks, and memorabilia were found in the many closets, cabinets, and storage rooms of the school. Within 3 years all of the materials were inventoried
Ongoing inventory and preservation have been priorities of the Project since its inception. Much of the material had been in a state of neglect, even deterioration, for many years. It appeared that other day-to-day concerns of a large city high school had allowed its fine history to be ignored. Materials had to be sorted and arranged properly. For example, all unbound documents and manuscripts had to be taken out of cardboard boxes and paper bags and placed in polyester envelopes and acid-free storage boxes for better conservation.
Funding for the purchase of storage materials came initially from the H.P.H.S. office supply budget. As time went on, contributions came into the H.P.H.S. Archive Fund from alumni and others in the greater school community. Another source of funds has been the sale of surplus yearbooks.
It is important to maintain ties with the large number of alumni, many of whom still live in the metropolitan area. Besides the sale of surplus yearbooks, one convenient way of reaching out to the alumni has been through class reunions. Mr. Williams has been a guest speaker at 50 class reunions. He speaks on the history of the school, its archival collections, and its plans for the future. Among the alumni are many who have made and continue to make great cultural, commercial, and intellectual contributions to their city, state, and nation.
THE JAMES GOODWIN BATTERSON FOSSIL COLLECTION
There are six brownstone slabs containing dinosaur tracks and conifer fossils from the Triassic Period, approximately 200 million years ago. They were found in the Portland Quarry sometime in the 1850’s and were brought to Hartford where they were on display at the New England Granite Works for about thirty years.
James Goodwin Batterson, founder of the Travelers Insurance Company, donated the slabs to the Hartford Public High School, and a May 11, 1883 article in The Hartford Daily Times describes them at length. They were mounted in the second floor lobby of the Hopkins St. building designed by George Keller, and this building opened in that same year. Batterson’s daughter Emily, by the way, was a member of the Class of 1887.
When the Hopkins/Broad Sts. complex was demolished in 1963, the fossil slabs were removed to a storage shed behind the new Forest St. building. They remained there until 1995 when they were placed in the Great Court of the school. This was a terrible mistake because the slabs were exposed to the elements and the porous brownstone began to chip and flake.
Fortunately, The Hartford Financial Services Group approached the school with an offer to fund special projects at the school for $10,000. The administration asked the school archivist if there would be a suitable project, and the fossil showcase idea was born. Mr. Williams asked SD&D, Inc. of Newington to design three showcases to house the slabs in the ground floor landing of the main stairwell. Students in the honors World History I class were assigned the task of writing a booklet about the fossils and worked under the direction of Mr. Richard Krueger, Director of Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill. Mrs. Bazzano-Klotz directed the students of the Art Club to design a diorama of the Triassic Period dinosaurs whose tracks are in the fossil slabs. The result was a lovely showcase display of the fossil collection, which thanks again to The Hartford, was dedicated on May 4, 1998 at an evening ceremony with Dr. Donald C. Johanson, Director of the Institute of Human Origins in Tempe, Arizona, and a member of the Class of 1961 as guest speaker.
The fossil tracks are all negative tracks, which are natural casts of the positive tracks. The positive tracks were made when the animal stepped on soft mud, which left an impression of its foot. After the mud dried up, soft mud rippled into the positive track and formed the negative track. When the tracks became fossilized, positive and negative tracks of that dinosaur were formed. There are two dinosaurs represented by the tracks: Grallator tracks which are usually attributed to a small therapod such as coelophysis, a carnivore, and Otozoum tracks which are attributed to a prosauropod, a herbivorous dinosaur. Two of the slabs are fossilized conifer tree trunks of the same geological period.
In 1998 H.P.H.S. students in the classes of 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001 produced a diorama showing in art form the dinosaurs that made the tracks. They also wrote a guidebook to the H.P.H.S. Fossil Collection which was printed with the compliments of The Hartford Financial Group, Inc.
Nick Ragouzis emailed to see if the school had any records on Irina Pavlovna Roudakoff, who came to Hartford Public High School in February, 1931. Irina was a refugee from Russia by way of Estonia and came to live with her brother Paul Roudakoff in Hartford. Because HPHS Principal Clement C. Hyde was very kind to her, she held life-long memories of the school even though she didn’t graduate here. Irina was the daughter and grandaughter of two Imperial Russian generals and married Konstantin Taras Belotelkin, a czarist aristocrat who left Russia after the Revolution in 1917.
At one point in Hartford, Irina was engaged to Katharine Hepburn’s brother, and tutored Hepburn’s mother in Russian, according to friends. She moved to San Francisco where her husband worked as an engineer. Irina was trained as a couturier in France, painted, and collected Russian art. She died in February, 2009, and her obituary can be viewed on Wikepedia. ( Key in “Irina Belotelkin.”)
Satoshi Shiozaki, professor at Takushoku University in Japan, is doing research on Japanese students in the U.S. during the 1870’s. As you might expect, some of them attended HPHS and Yale, and then went on to prominent careers in Japan. One of them, Kakichi Mitsukuri of the Imperial University in Japan, was an eminent professor whose career is well-known in scientific circles in Japan even today.
Thanks to Professor Shiozaki, we were able to identify our photo of a Japanese student from this period. The photo, which is stored in a box of student photos from the 1870’s has long intrigued those of us who are familiar with the collection. It is a photo of Inajiro Tajiri, who attended HPHS, graduated from Yale graduate school in Economics, became Vice-Minister of Finance and Mayor of Tokyo. Another mystery solved! Many, many facts are coming to light as we research in the HPHS Archive.
2014 was the 375th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Latin School at Hartford, the ancestor of the Hartford Public High School.
The Hartford Public High School History Series
GRADUATES IN THE CIVIL WAR
Class of 1848
Bliss, Charles M., A. B. ’52, A.M. ’55 Yale. 2nd Lieut. In U.S. Army during Civil War, d.1905.
Class of 1849
Hudson, Dr. William M., A. B. ’53 Yale; M. D. ’55 Jefferson. Asst. Surgeon in U.S. Army during Civil War, d.1901.
Tyler, Gen. Robert O., Lieut. ’53 U.S. Military Acad. Maj. Gen. In U.S. Army during Civil War, d.1874.
Class of 1850
Fellowes, Francis, A. B. ’56 Yale. In U.S. Army during Civil War, d.1871.
Weld, Lewis L., A. B. ’54, A.M. ’57 Yale. Lieut. Col. in U.S. Army during Civil War. Died in service, 1865.
Class of 1852
Beach, Col. Francis, Lieut. ’57 U.S. Military Acad. Col. in U.S. Army during Civil War, d.1872.
Bolles, Rev. Edwin C., A.B. ’55, A.M. ’60, LL.D. h ’05 Trinity; Ph.D. h ’70 St. Lawrence; S.T.D. h ’81 Tufts. Professor in Tufts Coll. 1899-1920. Musician in U.S. Army during Civil War, d.1920.
Bulkeley, Charles E., A.B. ’56, A.M. ’59 Yale. Capt. in U.S. Army during Civil War. Died in service, 1864.
Southmayd, Charles G., A.B. ’56 Yale. Served in Confederate Army during Civil War, d.1885.
Class of 1855
Camp, Henry W., A.B. ’60 Yale. Major in U.S. Army during Civil War. Died in service, 1864.
Catlin, Dr. Benjamin S., A. B. ’59, A. M. ’62, M.D. ’62 Yale. Surgeon in U.S. Army during Civil War, d.1871.
Owen, Charles H., A.B. ’60, A.M. ’63 Yale; LL.B. ’63 Harvard. Major in U.S. Army during Civil War, d.1922.
Class of 1856
Glazier, Theodore C., A.B. ’60 Trinity. In U.S. Army during Civil War, d. 1874.
Class of 1858
Gwillim, Reese B., A.B. ’66, A.M. ’69 Wesleyan. Tch. In HPHS 1866-68. Corporal in U.S. Army during Civil War, d.1905.
House, William W., A.B. ’62 Yale. In U.S. Army during Civil War. Died in service, 1863.
Pasco, Henry L. Lieut. Col. in U.S. Army during Civil War, 1882.
Class of 1860
Huntington, Samuel, A.B. ’63 Yale; LL.B. ’65 Colombia . In U.S. Sanitary Commission during Civil War, d.1923.
Woodruff, Richard K. Captain in U.S. Army during Civil War. Died in service, 1864.
Class of 1861
Dewey, Daniel P. 2nd Lieut. In U.S. Army during Civil War. Died in service, 1863.
Class of 1862
Waterman, Francis W. Fought at Battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg , Confederate prisoner atAndersonville for 4 months. He was ninety-seven years old in 1941, and there is a photo of him in the Catalogue of the Hartford Public High School (1941).