The Center Church Library was established in the mid 1860’s through a gift from Mary Warburton. The original intent was to create a library for Church School teachers, but within a short time it was a resource for the professional staff and later developed into a lending library for the congregation. Today, it is also accessible to friends of the church and used by researchers and historians.
One focus is on serving the staff and congregation with current periodicals and publications that relate to faith, ethics, Hartford-relevant history and books by authors who speak at church programs as well as other church-related titles. Books discussed as part of First Church’s education programs are available.
A major focus is preservation of the historic books, documents, furniture, photographs and artistic treasures included in the library and all the First Church buildings. Because First Church of Christ is the founding institution of the City of Hartford, some documents in our library date back to the late 1700s. Some materials are available for loan while others are reserved for in-library use only. We continue to build our archival collection.
Frequently, genealogy requests are received from descendants of the early families of Hartford and from visitors to the Ancient Burying Ground located at the side and rear of the church Meeting House. Requests also come from research historians, authors, artists, museum curators and librarians. We are delighted to address these inquiries and forward some items not protected by copyright and able to be safely reproduced. Some materials may not be removed and visits to the library are welcomed. Arrangements for visitors’ access to archival materials must be made in advance. A completed visitor’s form and proof of identification must be supplied. We ask this so that we may better serve our patrons, protect our holdings and assist in our effort to cross-reference genealogy searches. Please call the church office for further information. We charge no fee for our searches. Donations for this service are gratefully received and used to continue our services.
The library is furnished with beautifully painted metal bookcases and contains an upper level with a glass floor. Many of the lights are controlled by push-button switches and the furnishings are Mission-style. The doors are stained glass reminiscent of the style of Frank LLoyd Wright which is in keeping with the remainder of the inside of the Church House building within which the library is located at 60 Gold Street. It is open Wednesdays from 10:00am-Noon, and other hours by appointment by calling (860) 249-5631 (ext. 203.) If traveling from a distance, it is suggested that you call before visiting. You may also email the library at email@example.com.
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