Skip to main content

Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut), Board of Trustees records

Identifier: TCA-2016-003

Scope and Contents

The Trinity College Board of Trustees records include minutes, reports, correspondence, and publications of the Board of Trustees, 1823-1987, Executive and Finance Committees, 1864-1988. Minutes list the date, time, place, and those present at the meeting. Some of the minutes have notes in the margins regarding the subjects discussed. Later minutes, 1950s and forward, are grouped by subject heading, not a chronological procession of the meeting. The Trustees minutes include the College Petition, Charter, Statutes, and charters for the Board of Fellows and other committees, along with amendments to the above, resolutions of the Trustees, reports from other committees, boards, departments, and faculty, as well as lists of conferred degrees. A Catalogue of Trustees is included in the first volume and lists members from 1823 to 1881. Later volumes include indexes, yearly budgets, and lists of standing committees and their members.

Trustees correspondences, 1825-1948, between themselves and faculty and students are also included as a separate series, along with reports from Trustees committees, 1831-1928.

Minutes of the Executive and Finance Committees include lists of bills, salaries, stocks, bonds, loans, and expenses of the college, including fiscal year budgets. From 1866 to 1875, the committees were abolished and replaced with the Resident Board. After 1883, the minutes include the nomination of Alumni Trustees. The Executive and Finance Committee minutes are both present as separate entries starting in 1901 and labeled with a header. The Finance Committee began recording its minutes in separate volumes from the Executive Committee in 1952 and was re-named the Investment Committee. Its name changed back to Finance Committee in 1974.

The Trustees minutes are thorough and complete from the first meeting in 1823 through 1987. The Executive and Finance Committees’ minutes include a gap from 1877 to 1884 but are otherwise complete from 1864 to 1988. The Trustees records also include miscellaneous circulars and statements, published by them and distributed among the college and alumni body.

Digitized scans of 8 volumes of the Board of Trustees (Meeting) Minutes, dated 1823-1967, are linked to each individual volume.


  • Creation: 1823-1988

Conditions Governing Access

All records created 50 years and more recently after date of creation, including Board of Trustees Minutes, are restricted for public research.

The Trinity College Board of Trustees (Meeting) Minutes dated May 1823 through January 14, 1967, are publicly and openly accessible in an online word-searchable format (eight separate PDFs), along with several other transcribed extracts from the trustees records dating prior to 1970. See Trinity College Board of Trustees Minutes, Trinity Digital Repository (

Conditions Governing Use

Digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with the duplication policy of the Watkinson Library.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information (e.g. social security numbers) in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Biographical / Historical

The Washington (Trinity) College Board of Trustees was established in 1823 alongside the founding of the college. The Board is responsible for the final approval of decisions regarding finances, appointments to the Board of Trustees, Fellows, and Board committees, Faculty, Staff, and Presidency, adopting and eliminating by-laws, ordinances, policies and curricula, changes to buildings and grounds, and conferring degrees and honorary degrees.

In May, 1823, the Board drafted the Washington College Charter and held its first meeting on July 8, 1823 in Middletown, Connecticut. Washington College, the second college established in Connecticut, opened in September, 1824. Subsequent meetings of the Board were held once or twice a year, during which it conferred with the President, Librarian, faculty, and other boards and committees. The Trustees resolved to expand their number from 20 to 24 in 1837.

In 1845, the Board voted to change the name of Washington to Trinity College. The Trustees also wrote the Board of Fellows Charter, which included six nominated Trustees and six Alumni, to report on the Library, Cabinet, and Chapel, and act as examiners of the college. During this time, the Trustees were sometimes called “The Corporation.” The Trustees wrote the Statutes of Trinity College in 1857. In 1864, the Trustees created the Executive and Finance Committees to oversee decisions regarding funds and create budgets. These committees were abolished in 1866 and duties replaced by the Resident Board, comprised of members of local Trustees-in-residence and the President. In 1875, the Executive and Finance committees were re-established.

In 1872, the Trustees accepted the City of Hartford’s offer to purchase the Capitol Hill campus and within five years moved to the Gallows Hill/Summit Street campus in Hartford. Alumni began to serve as Trustees in 1883, after requests for representation from the Alumni Association, previously called the House of Convocation. In subsequent years, particularly the 1920s-60s, the Trustees made frequent amendments to the Charter, changed policies and curriculum, introduced coeducation, and adopted a mission statement. The 1960s-70s was also a time of change for Trustee membership terms and conditions in order to create more turnaround. In 1974, Mrs. Virginia Gray and Mrs. James G. Lowenstein were the first women admitted to the board and in 1979, Emily Holcombe Sullivan '74 became the first alumna Trustee.


8.25 Linear Feet (24 bound volumes, 10 folders, 5 boxes, 3 microfilm reels)

Language of Materials



The Trinity College Board of Trustees was created in 1823 in conjunction with the founding of the college. The collection contains all records concerning the board including meeting minutes, committee reports, and correspondences.


The collection is arranged by series, then in chronological order.

Series 1: Trinity College Board of Trustees minutes, 1823-1987

Series 2: Trinity College Board of Trustees correspondence, 1825-1948

Series 3: Trinity College Executive Committee minutes, 1864-1988

Series 4: Trinity College Finance Committee minutes, 1844-1985

Series 5: Reports of Early Trustee Committees, 1831-1928

Series 6: Circulars, Statements, and other Miscellanea, 1860-1946

Custodial History

Since the nineteenth century, Washington College (renamed Trinity College) has stored official copies of the Trinity College Board of Trustees records, sometimes in several places on campus. Beginning in the 1970s and 1980s, the Board of Trustees records were administered and collected by the Head of Reference and College Archivist, Peter J. Knapp (1943-2014). Then, in 1994, the Watkinson Library took over responsibility for the College Archives, including maintenance of the Trinity College Board of Trustees records. Starting November 15, 2017, a new Trinity College Archives Access and Restrictions Policy established transparent restriction guidelines.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Watkinson Library became responsible for the Trinity College Board of Trustees records starting around 1994.

Guide to the Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut), Board of Trustees records
In Progress
Peter Rawson and Amanda Bollacker
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020-04-16: "Conditions Governing Access" revised by Eric C. Stoykovich. "Custodial History", "Immediate Source of Acquisition," and "Processing Information" added by Eric C. Stoykovich.

Repository Details

Part of the Trinity College Archives Repository

Watkinson Library
300 Summit St.
Hartford CT 06106 USA