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Preston family papers

Identifier: Preston family papers


  • 1936 - 1959


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the John M.K. Davis Reading Room of the Watkinson Library, Trinity College Library, Hartford, Connecticut. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws when using this collection.

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 Preston Family Papers is a compilation of diaries and other memorabilia such as recipe books and a photo album from a father-daughter duo: Oliver Preston and Betty Preston. This collection allows the reader to see their lives through their inner thoughts by revealing what daily events they found most important. Both of them were Hartford natives—Oliver worked for Traveler’s Insurance and was a Mason; Betty worked for Aetna Insurance. Their accounts illustrate a history to the Hartford of today by describing the best restaurants, hang-outs, and attire. Oliver’s diaries mainly contain facts about the day plus any newsworthy or historic events: WWII, Eisenhower’s election, and the United States Flag gaining its fiftieth star. Moreover, for some years, multiple diaries were found showing that he kept small diaries to write down the highlights and larger diaries to share his thoughts. Clippings from newspapers and magazines are included throughout his entries as well to support his writing. His daughter Betty, however, showed more of her personality in her diaries. Betty wrote about her days at work and her love stories. She was very expressive whenever she was frustrated or impressed by what was occurring as she adds both snarky and flirty remarks. Her last diary entry is from the year she got married which highlights an increase in her maturity. In addition to her diaries, Betty loved taking pictures and added them to a photo album which is also included in the collection. The album contains the activities as well as the first and last names of the people in the pictures. This is useful because it provides faces for the people written about in the diaries. Overall, this collection provides a rich history of what Hartford was from the 1930s-1959. The duo described their lives in a way that is both entertaining and culturally relevant to the time period.


1 Linear Feet (2 Boxes, 19 Folders.)

Language of Materials




Guide to the Preston Family Papers
In Progress
Sara Barrett, edited by Josef Riccio
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Watkinson Library Manuscripts Repository

Trinity College Library
300 Summit St.
Hartford Connecticut 06106