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New London: Historical Research Guide: Area Organizations

Researching any aspect of New London history can be tricky. This guide is intended to create a common starting place for college researchers from any field. If you have suggestions for improving the guide, please let us know.



The Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford has an excellent collection of materials documenting the history of Connecticut. Search their online catalog and make an appointment to work with their collections.


The Lyman Allyn Art Museum sits on the southern end of Connecticut College campus. The American Perspectives exhibition in the permanent collection explores three centuries of fine and decorative art that highlight the region and its place in the wider world.


The New London County Historical Society is the oldest historical organization in eastern Connecticut and located in the historic Shaw Mansion. Schedule an appointment to check out their research library and other collections. 


SCCOG was organized in 1992 to provide intergovernmental organization between 22 towns in southeastern Connecticut with a focus on regional planning. It took over the mission of Southeastern Connecticut Regional Planning Agency (SCRPA) which dates back to 1961. They have created or participated in the creation of many planning documents over the years, many of which may be hard to find online or elsewhere. Shain Library recently went double down on collecting their publications, some of which can be found in our catalog OneSearch. Feel free to contact SCCOG as well and make an appointment to look at the documents in their library.

Located across the street from Connecticut College, the Coast Guard Museum collection contains art and artifacts that span the two hundred and twenty-plus-year history of the United States' premier maritime service. Bring a picture ID to gain access to the base, and walk on over for a look!

The CT State Library is an excellent resource for researching the history of southeastern Connecticut. Their catalog, their databases, their digital collections, their collection of state newspapers, their legislative histories, their archives, etc. are all extremely useful. Get a CT State Library card to make use of their online resources, and make an appointment to visit their collections in person. 


The Collections Research Center (CRC) at Mystic Seaport Museum has a wide variety of materials representing America's relationship with inland waterways and the sea. Search their catalog of historic collections including manuscripts and maps, as well as books and photographs, and other artifacts.


New London Landmarks, the organization behind the whale plaques seen on historic buildings around town, emerged as an historic preservation organization during the 1976 struggle to save Union Station. Their staff and resources are very useful for researching New London history.

The original plans for the public library in the late 1800s were designed by the well-known architect Henry Hobson Richardson, who also designed and built New London's train station, Union Station. The collections in the public library are of critical importance to the study of New London's history, especially their microfilm collection of The Day newspaper, and their Local History and Genealogy Section.

Designed in 1833 by architect Robert Mills, the Custom House Maritime Museum is located in an historic building in downtown New London. In addition to stewarding three major beacons leading into the historic port of New London - New London Harbor Light, Race Rock Light Station, and New London Ledge Light - through museum exhibitions and educational programs, the museum also actively promotes, protects and celebrates the maritime history and current life of the port of New London and the surrounding region.


The New London City Clerk maintains current and historic records for the city of New London, including land records, vital records, etc. The City Clerk and staff are available to answer questions and may be able to guide you in your quest.  Within the City Clerk’s Office is a vault containing numerous historical records, including property transactions, deeds, maps, tax records, City Directories, and much more.  Some of those records go back to the 17th Century.  They close the vault about 3:50pm, so plan your visit accordingly.


The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

The vision of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race.

The Submarine Force Museum, located on the Thames River in Groton, Connecticut, maintains the world's finest collection of submarine artifacts. It is the only submarine museum operated by the United States Navy, and as such is the primary repository for artifacts, documents and photographs relating to U.S. Submarine Force history.