James Hammond Trumbull (1821-1897) was the son of Gurdon and Sarah Ann Trumbull of Stonington, CT. He was educated at Tracy's Academy in Norwich, CT, then went to Yale in 1838, but had to withdraw after two years because of his poor health. After leaving Yale, his interest turned to natural history in which he did some significant research.

In 1847 Trumbull moved to Hartford and was appointed Assistant Secretary of State in Connecticut, a position he held until 1852. He was again appointed in 1858, and in 1861 he was elected Secretary of State on the Republican ticket and held office until 1866.

Trumbull was appointed Trustee and Librarian of the Watkinson Library and worked full-time as Librarian from 1866 to 1891.

Trumbull wrote extensively on Connecticut history, but he is most known for his work as a scholar of American Indian languages. His works include many grammatical and lexical studies, a translation of John Eliot's Catechism for the Indians, and a manuscript version of a dictionary to the Eliot Indian Bible, which was published by the Smithsonian Institution after his death.

Trumbull was also a distinguished bibliographer. He wrote the Catalogue of the American Library of the Late Mr.George Brinley of Hartford, Conn., an extremely important work, and at his death he left a manuscript version of a "List of Books Printed in Connecticut, 1709-1800", the first bibliography of Connecticut imprints, which his daughter, Annie Eliot Trumbull, edited and had published.

Note: Two dashes precede each folder title within a subseries. Subseries that are not followed by a listing of folders consist of only one folder.

Series I: Background on Trumbull and the Collection:

1. Biographical materials: miscellaneous items

2. On the Collection


--Inventory sheets from previous processing of the collection

--Older listings of the collection

--Unaccounted for items

--[Listing of] uncatalogued papers of JHT.

Series II: Correspondence (see Trumbull Collection card file for listing of individual letters):

1. Letters from Trumbull

Note: Additional letters under Ser. VIII.1. See also the Watkinson Library Archives.

2. Letters neither to nor from Trumbull

3. Letters to Trumbull:


--Bartlett, John R.











--Paine, George T.

--Palfrey, John Gorham

--Pe-Po (esp. John C. Pilling)






--Winsor, Justin: 1875-1876


Note: Letters of William H. Wells are in VIII.1.

Series III: History: Colonial New England:

1. United Colonies: Notes

2. United Colonies: Transcriptions by JHT:

--Articles of Confederation; Meetings: 1643-1644

--Meetings: 1645-1646

--Meetings: 1647-1649

3. General (mostly Massachusetts)

Series IV: History: Connecticut:

1. Notebooks:

--Events in Hartford: 1687-1819
--Various topics: printing history, politics, Connecticut Indians, etc.

2. Notes and Transcriptions: Colonial Period

3. Notes and Transcriptions: Extracts and clippings from Connecticut newspapers

4. Notes and Transcriptions: On eminent persons

Series V: History: Connecticut: Printing and Publishing:

1. Notebook: "Books and pamphlets printed in Connecticut, 1709-1800 and by Connecticut authors elsewhere, 1629-1800."

2. Notes: Advertisements in Connecticut newspapers.

See also: IV.1 and VI.2.

Series VI: History: Connecticut: Stonington:

1. Colonial History of Stonington, Chapters II-VII (6 folders)

2. Notebooks: Miscellaneous:

--Early settlers of Stonington
--Gleanings from history

--Long Point, etc.

--Notebook XVI: Towns and lands, colonial boundaries with Rhode Island, books printed by John Trumbull, etc.

3. Transcriptions and Notes:

--Burial inscriptions

--Diary of Thomas Minor, 1635-1685

--Diary of Manasseh Minor, 1697-1720

--Records, First Church, Stonington, 1674-1728


Series VII: Indian Languages: Comparative Philology (Arranged by authors; after first folder all by JHT):


--Trumbull, J.H.: A-C

--Trumbull, J.H.: D-L

--Trumbull, J.H.: M-Z

Series VIII: Indian Languages: Place Names:

1. Chicago (JHT, W. H. Wells, et al.)

2. Individual Items (most by JHT)

3. Notebook: "Indian names of places" in or on border of Connecticut

Series IX: Indian Languages: Texts:



--Parable of the Sower in 30 Indian versions

--Pierson, Abraham. Some helps for the Indians

See also: American Indian MSS. Collection

Series X: Indian Languages: Word Lists:

1. Individual Items:


--Gravier, Jacques: notes

--Gravier, Jacques: notebooks



--Trumbull, J.H.: A-L

--Trumbull, J.H.: M-W

2. Notebooks (covering colors, early weapons, numerals, and transcriptions from early sources)
See also: American Indian MSS. Collection.

Series XI: Indian Languages: Varia:

--Items laid in Trumbull books

--Trumbull's Indian books: Card file (basis of typed list)

Series XII: Miscellaneous Manuscripts:

1. Commonplace book of verse compiled, in part composed (?), and calligraphed by JHT

2. Miscellaneous items:

--Index, which seems to relate to Americana


3. Religion: Congregationalism:



4. Religion: Indians

Series XIII: Natural History:

--Trumbull, J.H. Notebook on conchology

--Trumbull, Mary. Album of ocean flowers

Series XIV: Printed Materials:

1. Articles by JHT





2. Articles and other printed materials not by JHT

3. Scrapbooks, mostly of news clippings, the majority of which are by JHT (compiled by JHT except as noted):

--Blue Laws (not compiled by JHT?)
--Connecticut: Miscellaneous

--Connecticut: political, social, and historical topics: 1849-1857

--Historical notes on some provisions of the Connecticut Statutes, etc.: 1860-1861

--Occasional articles: Indian Languages

--Occasional articles: Miscellaneous

--[American] Philological Association

--State Capitol and its site, 1870+


Prepared by Jeffrey H. Kaimowitz, December 1988.
Prepared for electronic publication by Michael J. Breen '99, July 1999.