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When in doubt, don’t throw it out!

One person’s trash may be a historian’s treasure.

Rob Orr, a longtime volunteer with the Ridgefield Historical Society, knows first-hand that one person’s trash may be a historian’s treasure. An item that might seem insignificant on its own can cast a new light on some part of Ridgefield history or add to accumulated knowledge.

Here’s Rob’s message to anyone who’s wondering what to do with random materials connected to Ridgefield:

Moving? 

Cleaning out your attic or basement? 

Involved with an estate sale?

Any of these scenarios involves lots of sorting. As you consider what things to part with, keep the Ridgefield Historical Society in mind. Documents, photos and artifacts you may no longer want could potentially be great additions to RHS’s extensive collection of local, state, and general memorabilia.

Here are some examples of what has been recently donated and added to the archives at the Ridgefield Historical Society: Programs and souvenirs from plays and other events in town. Old photos of members of long-time Ridgefield families, properties, and local scenes (with identification if known). Letters and correspondence tied to long-established Ridgefield families. Receipts, invoices, business and reference letters, inventory lists, and other documents relating to Ridgefield businesses of yesteryear. Drawings or paintings of Ridgefield scenes, or works created by Ridgefield artists. 

You get the idea. 

To get the ball rolling, contact Betsy Reid, Collections Manager, at the Ridgefield Historical Society at the Scott House, 4 Sunset Lane. She can be reached by email at [email protected].

Historical societies, libraries, and civic organizations in other towns throughout the country would also appreciate hearing from you about similar items related to their locales. 

For instance, when going through an old photo album belonging to my grandparents, I found photos my grandfather took of the historic monastery fire that occurred on May 31, 1934 in Union City, NJ, where he lived at the time. The director of the town’s historical society was very grateful to get these photographs as they captured never before seen angles of the building ablaze. The photos were not anything I would have kept so I was happy to be able to have them become part of that town’s collection. 

Rob Orr and his fellow collections volunteers know how valuable these pieces of history are and how important that they be preserved and cataloged for future research. Visit the Ridgefield Historical Society website to learn more about our collections and explore what we’ve already saved.

Picture of the Leach Hollow School in Sherman. It has a Ridgefield connection: the teacher is Vera Leavenworth, later Mrs. Fred Wilson of Ridgefield. The framed photo, with her name on the back, was found in Ridgefield and was of interest not only to the Ridgefield Historical Society but to the Sherman Historical Society.

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