Elihu Burritt, also known as “The Learned Blacksmith”, is New Britain’s most famous son. The Elihu Burritt Library is spearheading the celebration of the 200th anniversary of his birth and is planning several events for this fall semester.
Elihu Burritt was born in New Britain on December 8, 1810. He became a world citizen, linguist, abolitionist, reformer, peace activist and penny postage advocate. President Abraham Lincoln appointed him a Consular Agent to Birmingham, England. Elihu Burritt stayed attached to his hometown, and during his last years of his life become an active citizen. He died on March 6, 1879 and is buried at the Fairview Cemetery.
The library was named after Elihu Burritt in 1959. The choice of name was supported by many local organizations and Robert C. Vance, the publisher and editor of The Herald.
For more information on Elihu Burritt please see the Special Collections/Archives website: http://www.library.ccsu.edu/help/spcoll/burritt/
The opening event for the Burritt Bicentennial will take place on Wednesday, September 22 at 11:45 in the Special Collections reading room in the library.
“Elihu Burritt: Nineteenth-Century Pioneer for Transatlantic Peace, Social Justice, and Human Rights” a lecture by Dr. Wendy Chmielewski.
Wendy Chmielewski is the George R. Cooley Curator of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. The Peace Collection holds a significant set of materials on Elihu Burritt. Chmielewski’s work on the role of women in the U.S. and British nineteenth century peace movements has included exploring the participation of Elihu Burritt as well. She has published several works on the role of women in the peace movement and in intentional/utopian communities form the nineteenth century to the present. Her most recent publication (2009) is a co-edited collection of scholarly essays on Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams, titled Jane Addams and the Practice of Democracy.