History

The Acorn Club was founded in 1899 by a group of young men interested in Connecticut history and the early books and manuscripts that reveal that history. Among the founders were librarians, book collectors, genealogists and a heraldic artist. Within two years, the membership had grown to 25, the prescribed limit, and included a lawyer, scholars and business leaders. Among them were businessman Lucius A. Barbour, who sponsored the Barbour collection of vital records at the State Archives and Yale scholar Hiram Bingham, the future governor of Connecticut. Librarians, college presidents and professors from Yale, Wesleyan, Trinity and the University of Connecticut have continued to play an important role in the club’s activities, along with publishers, collectors and the State Historian.

The first publication was a rare colonial imprint of Samuel Stone’s A Short Catechism, printed by Samuel Green in Boston in 1684 for John Wadsworth of Farmington. It had been written by Stone for the guidance of his First Church, Hartford congregation and was one of only two copies of the pamphlet known at the time. One hundred facsimile copies were produced, to be sold at two dollars per copy. 

Appropriately for the Charter Oak State, the pamphlet bore a wood engraving of an acorn, created by William F. Hopson of New Haven, who was to become a club member in the first year.


In the following years, the club has produced 37 publications through the efforts of 150 members who have served over the course of the last century, gathering together and publishing significant primary source materials about the history of the state.


Mission Statement: Its purpose shall be to issue either as reprints or as original publications rare printed materials and unpublished manuscripts of antiquarian, historical, or literary interest relating to Connecticut either directly or indirectly.