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Albert Van Dusen Papers

Identifier: 1994-0071

Scope and Contents

The collection is comprised of multiple types of materials, including Van Dusen's note cards, research notes, and photostats of historical documents for his various research projects. The collection contains materials primarily related to Van Dusen's published works, including Connecticut, The Public Records of the State of Connecticut and Puritans Against the Wilderness, Connecticut History to 1763. The bulk of the collection consists of research materials compiled by Van Dusen, focused on Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull. These materials are primarily photostats and notes, consisting of copies of historical documents that Van Dusen collected from various research institutions and organized chronologically and thematically. The photostats contain copies of Trumbull's diaries and correspondence, as well as government documents related to Trumbull's time in political office.

While the bulk of the collection consists of research materials, the collection contains a significant amount of Van Dusen's personal papers. These papers consist of administrative records, artwork, diaries, financial records, manuscripts, photographs, school records, sound recordings, and videocassettes, and include Van Dusen's academic correspondence with historical institutions, teaching materials, real estate info, office memos, and various non-research notes. Included in his personal papers are audio recordings, grant proposals, annual reports, history department newsletters, and materials associated with his position as the Connecticut State Historian. A much smaller portion of the collection pertain to Dr. Van Dusen's wife and research assistant, Wilda.

All of the materials in the collection are from Van Dusen's time at the university, and the collection does not contain any documents produced by the subjects he studied. All of the photocopied documents in the collection are held at other research and archival institutions.


  • undated, 1631-1994


The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use and Copyright Information

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.


Born in Vilas, North Carolina, on May 14, 1916, Albert Van Dusen spent most of his early years in Syracuse, New York where his father Albert P. Van Dusen was a professor of sociology. A graduate of Northwood School in Lake Placid, New York, Van Dusen came to Connecticut as a member of the class of 1938 at Wesleyan University. Inspired at Wesleyan by teachers such as George M. Dutcher and Hugh Brockunier, he went on to the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his MA and Ph.D in history.

During World War II, Van Dusen served in the U.S. Army and later taught in the U.S. Navy V-12 program while at Duke University. After the war, and brief stints as a visiting teacher at Wesleyan University and as a historian for the Department of the Army at the Pentagon, Van joined the history department at the University of Connecticut, where he taught from 1949 to 1983. During those 34 years, he introduced a series of courses on Connecticut and American colonial and revolutionary history and helped to establish the Ph.D program at the university.

In 1952 Van Dusen was appointed Connecticut's State Historian by Governor John Lodge. He was recognized upon his retirement in 1985 with a public proclamation by Governor William O'Neill for his devoted service to the preservation of Connecticut's heritage. During those years, he produced numerous books and articles on Connecticut's history. His best known and most influential work, Connecticut, was a scholarly account of the state and its people from European arrival to 1960. Unfortunately, failing health prevented Van from completing the editing and publication of the voluminous papers of Connecticut's Revolutionary War governor, Jonathan Trumbull.

Van Dusen was widely active in historical societies throughout New England and appeared on numerous radio and TV stations in Connecticut and New York in order to promote the study of local history. He worked to establish joint programs between the University of Connecticut, Sturbridge Village, and the Munson Institute at Mystic Seaport. He was a founder of the Mansfield Historical Society and the Association for the Study of Connecticut History, he chaired the publications committee of the Connecticut Historical Society, was on the education committees of both Sturbridge Village and Plimoth Plantation, and was an incorporator and trustee of the Stowe-Day Foundation. He was also an original member of the Connecticut State Historical Commission and served on both the Connecticut Historical Records Advisory Board and the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of Connecticut.

Albert Van Dusen died on November 26, 1999, after a lengthy illness.


239.2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The personal and research collection of UConn history professor, and Connecticut State Historian, Albert Van Dusen. The collection contains Van Dusen's note cards, research notes, and photostats of historical documents for his various research projects. The bulk of the collection consists of research materials compiled by Van Dusen, focused on Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull.

Provenance and Acquisition

The records were donated by Dr. and Mrs. Van Dusen in several installments beginning in 1994 and continued by the Executor of their estate through 2011.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of materials in this collection may also be found in the Archives & Special Collections digital repository

Albert Van Dusen Papers
Under Revision
Archives & Special Collections staff
2010 March
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US