Founded in 1870, the New London County Historical Society is the oldest historical organization in eastern Connecticut, as well as one of the oldest in the region. As a county archive, the early Society collected widely from the region but focused mainly on items such as correspondence, ship’s logs, county records, and manuscripts. When the society was incorporated the holdings were kept in the city hall. The Society moved to the public library in 1876 when construction on that building was complete. In 1907 the NLCHS purchased historic Shaw Mansion for use as their headquarters from Miss Jane Perkins, a descendant of Nathaniel Shaw. The mansion was built in 1756 and served as the Naval Headquarters for Connecticut during the American Revolution.
Today, The holdings of the NLCHS include the artifacts, textiles, documents, and photographs, which pertain to the history of southeastern Connecticut. Most notably, our collection includes the Hempstead Diary, the manuscripts of Frances Manwaring Caulkins, and a sword that belonged to John Mason. The whole collection is used in support for our mission to preserve the county’s history and educate the community. The NLCHS is dedicated to the preservation of our history, and the education of our community.