Circus Fire Scrapbook Project Kicks Off At Library
By Andy Hart
July 03, 2013
This Saturday, July 6, Hartford Public Library joins The Mark Twain House & Museum in observing the anniversary of the Hartford Circus Fire, one of the most catastrophic civic tragedies in the city’s history, and one of the most thoroughly documented disasters in American circus history.
Beginning at the kickoff of the Library’s Adult Summer Reading Program on Saturday, July 6, the Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library will begin collecting memorabilia, personal recollections, drawings and other reflections on the fire and its aftermath. Scrapbooking materials will be available for visitors to add their stories, memories, drawings and objects related to the circus fire. The scrapbook memory collection will circulate at library branch locations throughout the city and will serve as a community-wide effort honor and remember this piece of the Hartford story. The final scrapbook will be archived in the Hartford History Center for next year’s 70th anniversary of the devastating fire on July 6, 2014.
July 6, 1944, is etched in Hartford’s memory not only because 167 people died, but also because this was an intensely and deeply local event – a fire that killed and injured local people, was battled by local firemen and area residents, covered by local newspapers, and whose terrible fatalities were treated in local hospitals. In many ways and in many different places, Hartford people lived this story.
“We know that the Hartford Circus Fire holds a deep place in our city’s collective history, and we want to honor that,” said Brenda Miller, the Library’s chief officer for cultural affairs and public programming, as well as the executive director of the Hartford History Center. “We have some very powerful materials on the fire in our collection, and we would like to bring them together with the human dimension and memories that still exist today.”