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Simsbury Free Library
749 Hopmeadow Street
P.O.Box 484
Simsbury, CT 06070
Tuesdays and Thursdays
11:00 to 5:00
2nd and 4th Saturdays
10:00 to 2:00

Chick Austin House Tour


William Phelps Talk

Farmington Canal Tour


History Lectures
Farmington Canal with Carl Walters
Saturday, October 18th at 1:00 p.m.
Award-winning canal historian Carl Walters will talk about the social, economic and engineering history of this attempt to create an inland waterway connecting New Haven to Northampton, Massachusetts and beyond.    Free for members. $5 for non-members.

William Phelps Talk, Part 2

Saturday, November 8th, 2014, 12:00 p.m.

This special presentation will explore the fascinating and curious adventures of William Phelps, an English Puritan who sailed to American in 1630 and eventually became one of the founding fathers of Windsor, Connecticut.  Larry Phelps, a Windsor resident, genealogical enthusiast, and 10th-generation descendant of William Phelps, will guide event attendees through an historic journey of colonial life in Connecticut as he details the adventures of a trailblazer who was instrumental in shaping Windsor and state government.  


William Phelps was one of the founders of Dorchester, Massachusetts, and Windsor, Connecticut, and was one of eight individuals selected to lead the first democratic town government in the American colonies in 1637.  He was foreman of the first grand jury in New England and served most of his life in early colonial government.  The discussion is part of a planned series of talks about the life and times of the extended Phelps family, and the contributions the clan made within New England.  The event is free and open to the public.  It will conclude with a question and answer session.


Genealogy Programs
October 25 at 11 a.m.:  Organizing Documents and Charts 
If you have piles of documents and charts on your genealogy, come hear Diane LeMay discuss her methods of organizing with genealogy software.  Free to members.  $5 for nonmembers.


October 23rd at 1 p.m.: The Hunt  

An Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film, THE HUNT is a disturbing look at what happens when a lie is taken as truth, igniting a witch-hunt that threatens to destroy an innocent man's life. Free.

November 20th at 1 p.m.: The Broken Circle Breakdown
Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film: The Broken 
Circle Breakdown tells the story of Elise (Veerle Baetens) and Didier (Johan Heldenbergh), who fall 
in love at first sight. From Tibeca Films: “She has her own tattoo shop and he plays the banjo in a 
bluegrass band. They bond over their shared enthusiasm for American music and culture, and dive 
headfirst into a sweeping romance that plays out on and off stage--but when an unexpected tragedy hits 
their new family, everything they know and love is tested. An intensely moving portrait of a relationship 
from beginning to end, propelled by a soundtrack of foot-stomping bluegrass, The Broken Circle 
Breakdown is a romantic drama of the highest order.” From Roger Ebert: “It's a rich, raw, heartache 
of a film, a beautifully composed, soul-stirring drama about love, family, sex, sorrow, faith, and music.” 

Other Happenings 
Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch Tour & Lunch
Thursday, October 16 at noon
Have you ever wondered about the beautiful stone arch in Bushnell Park? We will meet our guide at the base of the arch on Trinity Street for a 30-40 minute informative tour. We get to climb the 96 steps into the arch, where another guide will point out the Angels at the top of the towers. Most of the speaking tour is on the ground for those who do not wish to make the climb.  This tour offers an amazing view of the park and the city.

After the tour we will head Vito's on the Park for a delicious 1:00 lunch of Caeser salad prepared table side by the Chef, pasta marinara, chicken parmesan and roasted vegetables and a fresh fruit flambe with apricot mascarpone cream prepared table side by the Chef.  Price is $30 for members and $35 for non-members, which includes the tour and lunch.  Space is limited.  Reservations required ahead of tour.

Chick Austin House Tour
Thursday, November 13 at 3:00 p.m.
Back by popular demand!.  If you have ever wondered about that strange flat "Cardboard House" on Scarborough Avenue, here is your chance to tour the house of Chick Austin, the former director of the Wadsworth Atheneum.  Chick set out to introduce modern art to America and transform Hartford, the conservative insurance capital, into a cultural mecca that would become the talk of the art world during the years between the two world wars.  (See the photo album above.)  The tour costs $25 for members and $30 for non-members, and includes a docent-led tour of the house and same-day admission to the Wadsworth Atheneum. Space is limited.

Drop In Book Club

No need to join this book club.  Just drop in when you are in town or when the book is of interest.

Tuesday, October 14th at 11:15 a.m.:  Book of Ages - Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore

Tuesday, November 11th at 11:15 a.m.:  The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.


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Tuesday, May 20th, 1 p.m.
Connecticut History Talk with Tom Ratliff:  "Hartford from 1820-1920"
In this fifth and final lecture in his series exploring Connecticut's rich historical past, Tom Ratliff will talk about the period of rapid industrial growth and large-scale i
Tuesday, May 20th, 1 p.m.
Connecticut History Talk with Tom Ratliff:  "Hartford from 1820-1920"
In this fifth and final lecture in his series exploring Connecticut's rich historical past, Tom Ratliff will talk about the period of rapid industrial growth and large-scale i

History Day Competitors:  Kevin Gyurco, Sammi Dowd, Montana McMahon, Emilee Buytkins,  adviser Grantland Rogers, and Rachel Baumann (Igor Banaszuk not pictured).
The Simsbury Free Library was happy to support the 6 hardworking high school students who participated in this year's History Day in Connecticut competition.  
Congratulations to the two projects that placed in the District Competition at Torrington High School on March 15th:  Seniors Emilee Buytkins, Sammi Dowd and Igor Banaszuk won first place in the Group Documentary division and Freshman Montana McMahon won second place in the Individual Exhibit division!  These students will advance to the March 26th State Competition at Central Connecticut State University. 
Click Hartford Courant Article to read more about it!! 
Many thanks to history teacher Grantland Rogers, Simsbury Historical Society and the Simsbury Public Schools for their help in furthering an interest in history in Simsbury.