Naming of the
Archibald J. Chester, Jr. Reading Room
The following announcement was made by Library Volunteer Brian Rogers directly after his remarks regarding the re-dedication of the Frank L. McGuire Maritime Library at the Society Christmas Party on December 17, 2009.
One of the McGuire Library's most devoted friends for many years has been long-time board member Archie Chester.
For a long time now Archie has been donating books to the collection, usually in memory of family members or ancestors. The books just appear from time to time, marked by one or another of Archie's distinctive rubber stamps that specify in whose memory they have been given. We have no idea how many books have come to us in this way, but the number is considerable.Archie has been a loyal board member, helping to see the Museum through good times and bad. He has introduced friends to the Maritime Society and brought at least one, Bob Stewart, to board membership. He serves as a docent on a regular basis. He hosts the 2nd-Friday cribbage games in the brick-walled function room off the spruced-up Lower Level corridor. Some of Archie's book donations occupy a bookcase in that room, and a companion case was recently placed there to house Bob Stewart's collection of ship modeling books. Our grandfather clock now stands there too, under Robert Mills's graceful ceiling arches. With its red-brick walls and ceiling reminding us of its early 19th century origins, and the ship models on display, the room is one of the most characterful in the building, suitable for meetings, discussions, classes, receptions or even intimate dinner parties. As more Museum programs and exhibits take place on the Lower Level, this room will become an even more visible feature of the Custom House.
To honor Archie Chester for his manifold contributions to the New London Maritime Society over many years, and for his abiding loyalty to the Custom House Museum, I have been given the privilege of announcing that this room of which I speak is to be known henceforth as the Archibald J. Chester, Jr. Reading Room. I'm sure he will forgive us if we refer to it as the "Archie Chester Room," or even, when in a hurry, as the "Chester Room." No matter how we say it, it has a nice ring. Congratulations, Archie, and thank you!
2015 Annual Report of the Frank L. McGuire Maritime Library
The book collection on our shelves has long been the most visible part of the library, but this year we have been laying the groundwork to extend that visibility
beyond the Custom House. In the months and years ahead, we intend to create
digital versions of our archival collections that will allow visitors to view images and
documents on our website. Among these collections are the papers of New London’s19th century customs collectors;
the S.S. Tasco photos and logbooks relating to the salvage ship of the T. A. Scott company; the Dwight and Lila Lyman Fort Trumbull papers; the U.S. Maritime
Officers (Fort Trumbull) Training School archive; the Robert Bachman papers on
the War of 1812 in Long Island Sound; the Harold Cone New London history papers; and the old postcard collection. Descriptive "Finding Aids," several of them prepared by Eugene MacMullan, left, will accompany each website presentation.
Due to the State’s continuing budget crisis, on July 1 the State Library shut down
“iConn,” the online cataloging and research system that had served Connecticut libraries for more than 25 years. We joined the system in 2010, to use it as our only catalog and to publicize our holdings throughout the State and beyond. A replacement system was to be introduced in October, but was not yet available in mid-November. Despite this handicap, a number of email requests were answered, and several visitors did research in the library.
To supplement the Museum’s current exhibition honoring the 225th anniversary
of the Customs Service, the library is displaying albums made by Gene
MacMullan to accommodate the papers of early New London collectors, together with books about the history of the service.
Brian Rogers, Librarian
Laurie Deredita, Associate Librarian
Eugene MacMullan, Conservator