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Henry Whitfield House records

Identifier: RG024_001

Scope and Content

The records document the history and restoration of the Henry Whitfield House located in Guilford, Connecticut. The records consist of blueprints, correspondence, committee reports, deeds, family papers, insurance records, financial statements, trustee meeting minutes, photographs, and miscellaneous records from Guilford. The family papers contain correspondence of the following families: Chittenden, Griffing, Griswold, Leete, and Winters.


  • 1768-1957

Language of Materials

The records are in English.

Restrictions on Access

These records are stored at an off-site facility and therefore may not be available on a same-day basis.

See the Rules and Procedures for Researchers Using Archival Records and Secured Collections policy.

Historical Note

The Henry Whitfield House, also known as the "Old Stone" house, was constructed in late 1639 and throughout 1640 in Guilford, Connecticut. The house was built by Henry Whitfield a Puritan minister from Ockley, Surrey, England. Whitfield arrived in 1639 with his wife Dorothy Sheaffe, nine children, twenty five men, and an unknown number of women and children. He would remain in the new settlement of Guilford until about 1650-1651 when he returned to England leaving his wife Dorothy and some children behind. Henry Whitfield died in Winchester, England in 1657 where he served as minister of the Diocese of Winchester and is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

The Henry Whitfield House is a two story home that has a great hall, hall chamber, and three chambers on the second floor. The roof sits at a sixty degree angle easily allowing for thatch or thin stone roofing. The house according to the records was designed to serve not only as living quarters for the Whitfield's but also as a fortress and a temporary meeting house while the rest of the settlement was being constructed.

The house was occupied by numerous owners from 1640 until 1865 when the last person to occupy the home died. The house slowly deteriorated from 1865 until 1897 when the Connecticut Society of Colonial Dames led a campaign to transfer the home from private to public ownership. The Connecticut Legislature on June 22, 1899 passed an appropriations bill approving the purchase of the house and necessary land to turn it into a state historical museum. The town of Guilford was also required by the appropriations bill to appropriate money in exchange for a voting trustee member. The remaining money was raised by the Connecticut Society of Colonial Dames in order to purchase the house and eight acres in 1900. The appropriations act also authorized the Governor of Connecticut to appoint eight trustees to oversee the Henry Whitfield House Historical Museum.

The first restoration to the Henry Whitfield House occurred in 1901 under the direction of architect Norman Isham. Under the guidance of Isham the second floor over the great hall was removed to create a larger exhibit hall for the museum and the partition on the first floor was removed creating one large hall. The board of trustees in 1930-1931 and 1935-1937 contracted J. Frederick Kelly, an architect specializing in old New England houses, to restore the house to near original condition. The Henry Whitfield House restoration project also received federal Work Progress Administration funding in 1935 which assisted in completing the change back to the original house structure of 1639-1640.


2 cubic feet


The Henry Whitfield House was built in 1639-1640 in Guilford, Connecticut. The house was purchased by the state of Connecticut and restored in 1901 as a state historical museum. The Henry Whitfield House was restored from 1930-1937 to the original 1639-1640 house.


Series 1 Trustees, 1899-1957

Series 2 Correspondence, 1901-1938

Series 3 Financial Records, 1901-1940

Series 4 Restoration, 1933-1939

Series 5 Historical Papers, 1768-1873

Series 6 Photographs, circa 1900-1940

Series 7 Blueprints, 1935


The papers from the Henry Whitfield House in Guilford, came to the State Library in 1958.


Andrews, Evangeline Walker. The Henry Whitfield House: 1639. The Commemorative Exercises held at Guilford, Connecticut October 20, 1937 Upon the Restoration of "The Old Stone House." Hartford, CT: The Prospect Press, 1937 [CSL call number Conn Doc H64 hwce].
Connecticut Historical Commission. The Henry Whitfield House. Southborough, MA: Yankee Colour Corporation, 1979 [CSL call number Conn Doc H64 he 1979 c.2].
Kelly, J. Frederick. The Henry Whitfield House 1639: The Journal of the Restoration of The Old Stone House, Guilford. Hartford, CT: The Prospect Press, 1939 [CSL call number Conn Doc H64 hwjr c.2].
Rossi, Deborah G. "To Build a Historic House: J. Frederick Kelly and the Henry Whitfield House, 1916-1937." Connecticut History 41, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 1-14 [CSL call number F91.C668].
The Henry Whitfield House. Guilford, CT: Shore Line Times Press, 1902 [CSL call number Conn Doc H64 he 1902 c.2].
The Henry Whitfield House In Guilford, Connecticut with Plans for its Restoration. Guilford, CT: The Trustees, 1935 [CSL call number Conn Doc H64 he 1935 c.2].
The Henry Whitfield House a State Historical Museum, Guilford, Connecticut. Guilford, CT: Trustees of the Henry Whitfield Museum, 1970 [CSL call number Conn Doc H64 he 1970 c.2].

Processing Information

Allen Ramsey processed the records in March, 2010

RG 024:001, Henry Whitfield House
Inventory of Records
Finding aid prepared by Allen Ramsey.
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Connecticut State Library Repository