Local History

The NHFPL Local History Room is dedicated to promoting an awareness of the history and cultural diversity of New Haven and to relate that rich history to the present. Our knowledgeable staff provides assistance in the use of the collection, collection development, referrals to other sources of New Haven information and active educational programs for customers and other professionals.

Hours, phone and address

The Local History Room is in the Ives Main Library at 133 Elm Street and is open during the following hours:

Monday: 5:30-8
Tuesday: 10-1
Wednesday: 2-5:30
Thursday: 10-1
Friday: 2-5
Saturday: 10-12

Hours are subject to change–please call 203.946.8130 to confirm.

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Local History Room Background

The Local History Room collection was developed to support public interest by locating, preserving and making available books, pamphlets, genealogies, newspapers, photographs, municipal documents, maps, atlases, audiovisual materials, electronic resources and indexes. These materials document the economic, natural, political and social history of New Haven and, with lesser emphasis, New Haven County and New Haven County towns. The collection also includes works on general Connecticut history, historical methodology and the history of the NHFPL.

Reference and referral services are provided on a free and equal basis to the public, from elementary school students looking for the origin of New Haven street names to graduate students researching the Model Cities initiative; from genealogists or house and neighborhood researchers to individuals curious about the Black Panther Party trial; to a customer trying to trace the history of a New Haven business.


Electronic Resources


For access to the New Haven Register from 1871 to the present on microfilm, please visit the Information Center at the Ives Main Library at 133 Elm Street for assistance.


•  An extensive, free collection of genealogical records including census, church, military, and vital records.


Ask a Local History Question

Have a question about New Haven history?

Send an e-mail to refdesk@nhfpl.org with a specific question and we will be happy to answer your question or direct you to the resources that will best help you find the answer.

Contact us at refdesk@nhfpl.org or 203.946.7430.


Newspaper Clippings and Pamphlet Files

An extensive collection of newspaper clippings and pamphlets from the 1930’s through the 1980s.

Download the Collection Guide for the New Haven Files.

Download the Collection Guide for the Connecticut Files.


New Haven Municipal Documents

The Library’s New Haven Municipal Document Collection, housed in the Local History Room, comprises publications produced by various city departments and agencies such as annual reports, ordinances, financial statements, proposals, etc. This material is for use only in the Library.

For a list of titles organized by department, download the Collection Guide for New Haven Municipal Documents.


Selected Resources for Researching New Haven's Neighborhoods

The following guide is intended to be a starting point for those researching any of New Haven’s neighborhoods in the Local History Room. Resources are in several collections and cover a wide range of formats, including municipal documents, statistical reports, books, photographs, websites, maps, and other material. This list is not intended to be comprehensive; the Library’s Local History staff can refer you to additional resources.

Download the listing of Selected Resources for Researching New Haven’s Neighborhoods.


Shubert Theatre Program Collection Guide
The Sam S. Shubert Theatre opened in New Haven in 1914. It presented a variety of dramatic, musical, and dance performances, and quickly became a tryout theatre for Broadway shows.
The Shubert Theatre Program Collection consists of approximately 300 programs from 1917 to 1976.



The Local History Room includes a collection of maps predominantly depicting greater New Haven and Connecticut, and primarily dating from the 19th and 20th centuries.

To download a list of our maps, click here.


Obituary and Newspaper Article Searches

The fee schedule is based on where you live (for each date, range of dates, or death date searched):

New Haven residents: $10 plus $0.50 per copy
Non-New Haven residents: $20 plus $0.50 per copy

We mail copies of located materials.

An alternative to our service is to order the microfilm of this paper through interlibrary loan (from the Connecticut State Library) at your local library. This would be free of charge.

Obituary Searches

We will search up to five days of the New Haven Register for up to three individuals at a time.

Complete the form to proceed with an obituary search

Newspaper Article Searches

Our service covers a five day search of the New Haven Register microfilm.

We need the following information to proceed with a newspaper article search:

•  One of the following:

1) The date the article appeared, OR;
2) The date the event occurred, OR;
3) The five day span that you want searched

•  The subject of the article or the headline (if known)
•  Any other relevant information that will help us find your item (i.e., do you need reviews? ads only?)
•  Your phone number
•  Your mailing address
•  Your method of payment (credit/debit card vs. check/money order. Do not e-mail your credit card information–our Business Office will call you for this information when the search is complete)

To use this service, send an e-mail to refdesk@nhfpl.org with the above information,
or call us at 203.946.8130.