Collections / Research


All of our member societies, as well as the Ethnic Heritage Center itself, have amassed photographs, documents, artifacts and other archival materials.

The Ethnic Heritage Center is open for research by appointment. Please contact us and let us know how we can help you in your research.



This collection was originally formed by the Connecticut Afro-American Historical Society, which was founded in 1971 by local residents led by the late Ernest Saunders. The books, photos and other items in this collection were housed for years in a building on Orchard Street, until financial issues in the 1990s made relocation necessary. The Dixwell Community House, or “Q” House, as it was called, gave the collection a home in 1996. The Q House eventually closed in 2003, but the archive remained in storage there.

In March 2007, the Ethnic Heritage Center was named custodian of the collection.  Southern Connecticut State University made additional space available to the Center, in order to provide proper housing for this large and varied archive, which includes photographs, artifacts, papers, books, periodicals, organizational flyers and other types of materials which document the history of New Haven’s vibrant African American community.

Over the years that the Q House was closed, the collection fell into disarray.  Members of the Greater New Haven African American Historical Society and staff of the Ethnic Heritage Center are working to catalogue and preserve the collection and make it available to researchers as soon as possible.

A recent exhibit at the Ethnic Heritage Center, “New Haven’s African American Heritage: A Bridge to Today,” featured reproductions of some of the materials from the collection.



The Ethnic Heritage Center is the custodian for all surviving enrollment records for New Haven Public Schools.  For some schools, there is a fairly complete record; for others, only the records for a class or two have survived.  There is no index of individual names.

Now on microfilm, the records are arranged alphabetically by school.  For each school, the records are arranged by year; for each year, by grade; when there was more than one room for a grade, by room number.

From decade to decade, the information captured about each student varied. In addition to the student’s name, age, birth date, address, and parents’ names, in some periods the information included the child’s country of origin, what the parents did for a living, and where they worked.

To view the New Haven Public School Enrollment Records, please call (203) 392-6126 for an appointment.  If you leave a voicemail message, please include your telephone number.

UPDATE [February 2019]: The CT State Library has officially taken custody of the New Haven Public School Enrollment Records collection.