Category Archives: Historic

Bicentennial Forum Series

The Trinity History Ministry is present four forums on its history.

Presentations are available online for the linked items below:

Trinity Home

Trinity Home – a 150-year-old endowment for eldercare


“The Trinity Home Board was created for the purpose of aiding the elderly, needy and others whom the Board considers entitled to its benefits…”

To carry out this statement of purpose originally defined to support Trinity Home for the elderly over 150 years ago, today’s Trinity Home Board manages an endowment whose interest it dispenses through the year.

Participate - Trinity Home George StreetThe Trinity Church Home Board grew out of the Trinity Church Home Association, incorporated by the Connecticut General Assembly in 1862; it was “created for the purpose of establishing and maintaining in the city of New Haven, refuge for the poor and friendless members of Trinity Parish, and such others as the board of managers may think entitled m its benefits.”  The first home was the building on the left in the image above. It was part of “The George Street Complex” built by the noted architect Henry Austin.  Above is a phonograph of the Trinity Home at 84 Norton Street, where in the days before social security elderly members of the parish could find a refuge in their old age.  It was the sale of this house in 1975 and other donations funded the Trinity  Home Board endowment.


The Home Board picks up the weekly Conference Call expenses that allows shut-ins to hear Sunday services, supports the salaries of parish workers who devote time to the elderly, and budgets discretionary funds to be used for parishioners with special needs. In addition, funds are used for various senior programs throughout the year

The Home Board also supports physical improvements to make the church more accommodating to seniors.  Projects funded recently by the Home Board include the handicap access elevator, an advanced PA system, extra handrails for the staircases, and headsets that allow hearing impaired parishioners to hear the services.

Program events for seniors include senior lunches twice a year, all-day outings to sites of interest, lectures on topics of interest to seniors, and a special Christmas tea held at Whitney Center.


The Trinity Home board also supports grants to local community organizations. The grant application form is found here: hb-grant-app. The deadline for 2017 is November 15. For more on the grant application process contact the current chairman of the home board, Glen Seger.

NOTE: All forms should be mailed to:

Trinity Parish Office
c/o Chair of Grants Committee
950 Chapel Street, 2nd Floor
New Haven, CT 06510-2515



Trinity was founded as a parish in 1723.  Its first wooden church was built in 1752–53. The second Gothic stone church, built in 1814–1816—with its carefully maintained and inspiring Gothic revival exterior and interior—is a landmark structure on the New Haven Green at the corner of Temple and Chapel Streets.

Trinity offers compelling preaching, diverse worship styles, and absorbing programs for adults, teens, and younger children.

Trinity’s multiple opportunities for fellowship and outreach are typified by its Chapel on The Green, a weekly Sunday afternoon outdoor service of worship, food and fellowship, open year-round to all and conducted in collaboration with other New Haven area churches.

The church’s strong music program is centered in its choirs: the Choir of Men and Boys, founded 1885 and one of only two such choirs in Connecticut; the Choir of Men and Girls, founded in 2003; and the Trinity Parish Choir, a mixed adult choir that sings a variety of sacred choral pieces.


LIfe at Trinity

As we pray, sing, serve others and learn together, we discover more about who God is in our lives. We realize our lives are intertwined with one another and that God is calling us to do something for the world in which we live.

Currently, hundreds of people pass through Trinity’s doors during an average week. We are usually bustling with activities; whether it is one of our three choirs practicing, committees meeting, or a social event, there is always something going on at Trinity.

We invite you to be part of our life together. At Trinity, there are many opportunities for involving yourself, for serving others and for growing in your spiritual journey.

Trinity people take adult and youth mission trips all over the country and beyond its borders. Locally, Trinity people help many important organizations carry out their missions: preparing meals for Columbus House, building homes for Habitat for Humanity, and finding numerous other opportunities to serve God in the world.

Trinity offers many educational activities and programs for children and adults. Each winter and spring, we offer different spirituality programs. On most Sundays, we offer exciting Sunday School classes for children and engaging forum topics for adults. We have two active and vibrant groups for school-aged youth.

As the largest Episcopal church in New Haven, we are fortunate to have many active programs and opportunities to see God at work in the world.

History Overview

Trinity’s Gothic-Style Church, the first of its kind in North America, sits on the public Green in New Haven.  Here is the north side view of the church with the historic Taft Hotel and Yale University’s main campus buildings seen behind it.

Building in times of war

Architecture - trinity_chuch standard shot of tower against blue skyTrinity Church on the Green has been an important part of the history of New Haven, Connecticut, and America for over 300 years. There has been an official Episcopal presence in New Haven ever since Anglican missionary priests first ministered to the region beginning in 1705. In 1723 a parish in New Haven was organized by Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson.Under Dr. Johnson’s guidance, the Colonial wooden First Church was built in 1752-3, just before the beginning of the French and Indian War in the American Colonies. The Gothic “Trap Rock” Second Church was built in the midst of the War of 1812 in 1814-1816. Since then there have been many enhancements to the historic church, which stands at the corner of the towns famous Green in the center of the town, a cornerstone of New Haven’s vibrant religious, artistic, and community life.

Trinity and New Haven have historical associations with not only the Church of England, but clergy from the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of Ireland, Puritan refugees from Holland, and with French Huguenots. With the installation of Dr. Luk De Volder in 2011, Trinity Church and the New Haven community have reconnected with the history and languages of its ancestors.


The timeline presents Trinity from Colonial times to the present.

The Image is a crop taken from the map Nova Belgica et Anglia Nova, from Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1635, Amsterdam.

Note:  In the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, the “Rector” is the priest elected to head a self-supporting parish. A priest who is appointed by the bishop to head a parish in the absence of a rector is termed a “priest-in-charge”, as is a priest leading a mission to a congregation that is not self-supporting.  All ministers before 1777 were SPG missionary ministers, and are thus “priests in charge”; after this date they are rectors.

Click to view the Timeline




Notable Trinity people include: the famous Rev. Harry Croswell, a man seminal to the expansion of the Episcopal Church in New Haven, and to both freedom of the press and freedom of religion in America; Mrs. Lucy Boardman, the greatest woman philanthropist in the 19th century; and the President Rev. Samuel Johnson, founder of 25 churches in Connecticut, and Columbia University.  For those interested in press, graphic design, fonts, clocks, and other early American inventions and crafts, Issac Doolittle, Amos Doolittle, and Abel Bell were early contributors in all these areas.

Biographies of Notable Trinity People


Enos “Bishop” Alling (April 19, 1719 – September 11, 1779) was born in New Haven, the grandson of a Founder and Treasurer of Yale, from which he graduated in 1746.  He was a prosperous merchant, a member of the 1764 Connecticut General Assembly, and a Justice of the Peace from 1771. Around 1747, he converted from the Congregational  church to join the Church of EnArchitecture - Trinity First Church Munson Paintinggland, where he was so was zealous in the cause of the Episcopal Church in early America that his contemporaries gave him the honorary title of ”Bishop Alling”. He was the largest benefactor of the early Trinity Church, paying 10 pounds a year himself towards the Rector’s salary, and selling the parish the original plot of land for the wooden first Trinity Church at a deep discount. He along with Isaac Doolittle were the Trinity Warden who guided the building of the first church, and put the famous gold crown on top of its steeple. But he is also remembered for his vigor, dignity, and “sweetness”.  He died at age 61, childless, but universally Architecture - Detail of crown from Trinity First Church Munson Paintingrespected.  His gravestone, one of those removed from the Green in 1813, reads, “In memory of Enos Alling, Esg., Merchant who Received a liberal Education in Yale Collage, Became an industrious and useful member of Civil Society, and in a course of an extensive and successful commerce, He proved himself the man of Integrity, Virtue, and Honor.  He was a Member of the Episcopal Society for Propagating the Gospel In Foreign Parts, and died universally respected.” You may visit him at Grove Street Cemetery, Cypress Ave., lot 1.

Henry Austin (December 4, 1804 – December 17, 1891). Austin was a prominent nineteenth century American Architect, and the designer of Trinity Church Home, Chapel, and Parish School.   He was born in Mt. Carmel, Connecticut. At age 15 he worked as a carpenter, but while working in the office of the architect Ithiel Town in New Haven, he used Itheil Town’s extensive architectural library to further his own training in architecture. He was a Freemason for over fifty years, and may have been responsible for the masonic images added in the chapel extension of 1884. In 1836, Austin opened an office of his own in New Haven. He worked in a range of styles, century, including Gothic Revival, Greek Revival, Italian/Tuscan, Egyptian and Indian/Moorish Revival styles.  He is best known today as designing the great Egyptian style brownstone gateway of Grove Street Cemetery, New Haven. He designed design a library for Yale College – now Dwight Hall – modeled after King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England. He designed churches in Gothic revival and Italianate styles, the New Haven City Hall and the old Railway Station at the intersection of Union and Chapel Streets (which burned down in 1894): in the latter design, the low placement of the tracks caused the terminal to fill with smoke from the trains. A child is quoted as saying to his father on arriving in the station “Dad, is this hell?” The father replied “No, son, this is New Haven.” It was converted into a market in 1874 and was eventually destroyed by a disastrous fire (after a few renovations in the 80s) in 1894. The Morse-Libby House (Victoria Mansion) in Portland, ME, is considered one of Austin’s best works and the culminating design of the “Italianate Villa Style”. Biograpny - Trinity Home George Street Cover lo-resHe designed for Trinity on the Green three buildings on one plot in downtown New Haven on George Street: a “Parish School of Trinity Church” building with apartments for the teachers and a chaplain, a “Trinity Church Home” for the elderly, and between these two buildings, “Trinity Chapel”; two of these survive today as the home of the Salvation Army in New Haven. He designed so many private homes in New Haven that it was said that almost every street in New Haven bore buildings reflecting Austin’s “Tuscan” or “Italian” hallmark design. He trained so many men in the fifty-five years of his professional life, he was known locally as the “Father of Architects.” He is buried at Grove Street Cemetery, at stop 41 of the Eminent People tour.

Biography - Mrs. Lucy Boardman headshotBoardman, William and Lucy Click on the link for a discussion of the wealthy Boardman family, and in particular Lucy Boardman, perhaps the greatest the greatest woman philanthropist in nineteen century Connecticut, if not America.  She not only donated to Trinity, but to Yale, the city of New Haven, Yale Hospital, and dozens of charities; the Whitney Center for the Humanities at Yale, the former Trinity Parish House, was just one result of her donations.

Able Buell (1742–1822) was a silversmith, jewelry designer, engraver, surveyor, engineer, die cutter, armorer, inventor, auctioneer, ship owner, mill operator, mint master, textile miller, and counterfeiter. Biography - Able Buell Map of America from LOC exhibitionHe is the subject of a 2013 Library of Congress exhibition “Mapping a New Nation”. He is also known as the first type manufacturer in the United States, partnering with Isaac Doolittle to launch the domestic press manufacturing industry. Around 1774, he began engraving diplomas for Yale College. In 1784, Buell published A New and correct Map of the United States of North America Layd down from the latest Observations and best Authorities agreeable to the Peace of 1783; it was the first map of the new United States created and printed by an American. Born in Killingworth, Connecticut, he moved to New Haven, and though there is no record of his marriage at TrinityBiography - Able Buell silver mark, there is a record that he and his wife Aletta or “Letty” buried their daughter Deborah under the first Trinity Church on October 15, 1772. He is the subject of two biographies, including Abel Buell of Connecticut: Silversmith, Type Founder & Engraver. New Haven, Wesleyan University Press, 1958 – a copy of which is found in just about every public library in Connecticut.  He was the apprentice of warden and vestryman of Trinity Church, the silversmith Ebenezer Chitterden.

Ebenezer Chitterden (1726 – 1812) was an early American silversmith.  He was born in Madison in 1726; he became a silversmith, and worked in Madison until moving to New Haven in 1770, possibly in company with his son-in-law and apprentice, Abel Buel. Biography - Ebenezer Chitterden beaker at TrinityWe are told that “He was a man of excellent connections. His mother was a sister of Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson, of Stratford, father of Episcopacy in Connecticut, as he is called, and first president of King’s College, now Columbia University, New York, and his brother Thomas was the first governor of Vermont. He was quite intimately associated as a skilled mechanic and friend with Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton-gin, and for many years he was either warden or vestryman of Trinity Church, New Haven. He died in 1812.” Chittenden produced more individual, surviving silver pieces, than any other silversmith in Connecticut.  A sauce boat is may be found in in an article on Connecticut Silversmith’s .  A spoon of his with his initials E.C. is in the keeping of the The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Rev. Dr. Harry Croswell, D.D. (1778 – 1855)  was the longtime Rector of Trinity Church, an important figure in Federalist era politics, a hero in the struggle over freedom of the press in America, a major influence on the separation of church and state in America, an important figure in the history of New Haven and Trinity College, Hartford, an important figure in the history of race and the Negro struggle for equality in the pre-Civil War Episcopal church, and the author of a 5,000 page diary discussed in THE REV. HARRY CROSWELL, D.D, AND HIS DIARY, by Yale Historian Franklin Bowditch Dexter. 2008_EX02_01 011His 1839 portrait by the American painter Henry Inman (1801-1846), Reverend Harry Croswell, D.D. (1778-1858), seen on the right, is by courtesy of the Amherst College Collection. Another portrait of Harry Croswell hangs in the upper room at Trinity Church, where he can watch over vestry Meetings.  He died at age 79, and is buried in the Croswell family plot at Grove Street Cemetery,along with Judge Frederick P. Croswell (died age 51), George Croswell (age 19), Jane Croswell (age 7), infant Mary P. Croswell, journalist Sherman Croswell (age 57), wife Susan Croswell (age 76) and Rev. Dr. William F. Croswell (age 47).Biography - Croswell pre 1938 gravestone The sorrowing church erected a great monument, which was sadly destroyed in the hurricane of 1938, but a description and sketch has been preserved: “The larger monument seen in the annexed engraving, is that of Rev. Dr. Croswell, the late Rector of Trinity Church; the smaller one by its side, surmounted by a cross, is that of his son, Rev. William Croswell, D. D. On it were inscribed: “[East side]Harry Croswell, D. D., Rector of Trinity Church, died March 13, 1858, aged 79 years. Susan, the wife of Harry, Croswell, D. D., died July 19, 1855, aged ’76 years. [North side] Frederick Croswell, died July 11, 1863. [South side] Sherman Croswell, died March 4, 1859, aged 57 years.  On the stone cross to the right marking his son’s grave is: Rev. William Croswell, D. D., Founder and Rector of the Church of the Advent, Boston, died Nov. 5, 1851, aged 47, “Faithful unto death”.  A simple replacement stone (with the wrong birth date) replaced it. You can find the Croswell family at 17 Locust Ave. Better preserved from the elements is the memorial inside of Trinity Church, on a large tablet in black and white granite on the left side as you exit from the nave into the vestibule. Translated from Latin, it reads: “Harry Croswell, Doctor in Divinity. For more than forty-three years Rector of the Parish of Trinity Church. Born June 16, A. D. 1778, died March 13, 1858. In veneration and love for his memory, the Parish, to whose welfare so much of his long life was devoted, here records his fidelity to the cause of God, to the ministry of consolation, and to the faith once delivered to the Saints.”

Amos Doolittle (May 8, 1754 – February 2, 1832) was a copper engraver, silversmith, mapmaker, publisher, “tune book” printer, political cartoonist, founding member of the New Haven Mechanic Society, tax assessor, and member of the Masonic Fraternity, who is listed as author or illustrator of over 185 books, 100 Maps, 6 Musical scores, and other formats – with a total of 330 media listing him as “author”. But he is best known as “The Paul Revere of Connecticut”, as he was a silversmith who not only fought in the Revolutionary War, but engraved four copper scenes of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, images that appear in just about every book on the American Revolution. He is the subject of two biographies, one in a paper by Rev. William Beardsley, titled An Old New Haven Engraver and his Work: Amos Doolittle (1910), and a fine illustrated book by Donald C. O’Brien, Amos Doolittle: Engraver of the New Republic. A member of the famous Trinity Doolittle family, he was married in 1797 at Trinity Church to Phebe Tuttle, just around the corner from his printing shop in New Haven.He is buried at Grove Street Cemetery, at stop 51 of the Eminent People tour.

Isaac Doolittle (1721 – 1800) was New Haven’s first “ Ingenious Mechanic”. He is best known as the first person to build a printing press in America in 1769, which was a major milestone in American publishing. He was founding member of Trinity Church New Haven, and was perhaps the wealthiest and most important of the founders who helped build the first or wooden Trinity Church in 1752-3. He was variously a silversmith, a brass founder who manufactured the first brass wheel clocks in America – including hall or “grandfather” clocks – and who cast high-quality brass church bells, a silver watch maker, an instrument maker who created brass surveyor’s instruments and mariner’s’ compasses, a printer, a “sealer of weights and measures”, a “collector” of New Haven, and a grist miller. He was a fervent patriot and member of the New Haven Committee of Correspondence, who built two gun-power mills in New Haven during the Revolutionary War to support the Connecticut’s state militia.

Rev. Bela Hubbard (1739 – 1812) was yet another disciple of the Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson of Stratford, Connecticut. After traveling to England for ordination (in the same ship as the future Bishop Jarvis), Rev. Hubbard officiated as a missionary priest for the Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts at Guilford and Killingworth until 1767 when the Venerable Society appointed him their missionary at New Haven and West Haven. He divided his labors equally between these two places until the Revolution – which despite some stormy times due to the British invasion of New Haven, he and his church weathered fairly well. After that period, until 1791, he gave only a quarter of his time to West Haven; and from 1791 until his death in 1812, he spent his time almost entirely in New Haven.  He is known at trinity as the first minister to keep records.

Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson (1696 – 1772).  Best perhaps called the “American President Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson” to avoid confusion with the better known Dr. Samuel Johnson of London, this American Johnson founded Trinity Church parish in 1723. Johnson was a renowned teacher, a brilliant language scholar, a pillar tutor of Yale in its darkest hour, a notorious convert to Anglicism, a missionary priest of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts with pastoral responsibly for about one-third of the Colony of Connecticut including Trinity parish New Haven, Rector of Christ Church, Stratford, Connecticut from 1723 until his death in 1772 – save for the years he was President of King’s College – the founder of Stratford’s well-regarded parish school and college preparatory boarding school, and the founder of some 25 Connecticut Anglican parishes, for which he is known as “The Father of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut”. He was a student of the idealist philosopher George Berkeley, and became himself the greatest American philosopher of his day. He was the most learned man in Colonial America, and the man that introduced Enlightenment ideas and authors into the American college curriculum. He was the author of 34 books, including the first American textbook on philosophy, the first American-authored and domestically printed English Grammar and Hebrew grammar, a popular children’s catechism, and numerous sermons and controversial religious works. He was the founder and first President of King’s College (now Columbia University), leading it from 1755 to 1763: while residing in New York, he was also Assistant Rector of Trinity Church, New York City. He is buried in the Johnson family vault near Christ Church, Stratford.  There is a August 17 feast day of the Episcopal Church remembering him, his friend Timothy Culter, and his disciple Thomas Bradbury Chandler.

Nathan Smith (1770 –1835) was a member of Trinity who is commemorated by a plaque above the side altar. Smith was born in Woodbury, Connecticut, and origionaly was a tinker.  He then studied law with his brother and at Litchfield Law School in 1790, was admitted to the bar in 1792, and began practicing law in New Haven.  In 1808 Smith received an honorary master’s from Yale. He was also an co-founder along with Harry Croswell of Washington College, later known as Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.  He was a well known member of the Toleration Party, acting as prosecuting attorney  for New Haven County from 1817 until his death in 1835.  He was elected to the United States Senate and  served from March 4, 1833, until his death.
Ithiel Town (October 3, 1784 – June 13, 1844) was the architect of the 1815 Trinity Church building.  He was a seminal and influential American architect, and made major contributions to the Federal, revivalist Greek and Gothic architectural styles. He was also fond of geometrical triangles and golden ratios. For more on this early American Architect, see Itheil Town. Architect of Trinity Church by Joe Dzeda.





ARTIFACTS, including digitized pamphlets, brochures, tickets, photographs, paintings, etchings, images, and memorabilia of the parish.

History - Archive Facebook snippetFor more on the ongoing effort of archivists at Trinity, see the Trinity Episcopal Church Historical Archive Facebook page. There you will find lectures or “Trinity Discovery Story” videos on artifacts from Trinity’s archive.



Below are some of the artifacts relating to Trinity Church.

1. Trinity Church Home was incorporated in 1862.  A distinguished board of trustees, led by Rev. Dr. Harwood,was appointed to govern it. In 1868, it moved to a location on George Street, which now houses the Salvation Army. From this point to 1791, it was located in five different locations sponsor a home for elderly women – something necessary in the days before social security and women in the work place.  Published versions of the bylaws, board members, and governing rules were published a number of time over the years.

Trinity Church Home 1873 (image scanned by Trinity History Ministry from Archive copy)

Trinity Church Home 1894 (image scanned by the University of California

Trinity Church Home 1924  (image scanned by Trinity History Ministry from Archive copy)

Trinity Church Home 1948. This is a transcription of a short pamphlet on the “Charter, Extract from Constitution, By-Laws of the Almoners, Rules for the Government of the Home, History of the Home, Extract from Deed of Trust, and Form of Bequest” by Mrs. Timothy Pickering, Privately Printed Trinity Church, New Haven, 1948. The Home was established in May 1852 as a refuge for “the poor and friendless members of Trinity Parish, and such others as the board of managers may think entitled to its benefits”. Some handwritten edits were added on June 27, 1949, to revise the charter, and the end page has this handwritten postscript: “Charter under Rev. Mr. Harwood, May 1762, The most learned perhaps and colorful rector Trinity ever had. Great work of Mrs. Timothy Pickering (Sudly?) Bryn Mawr and Friendships, CKE”.

Trinity Home 2012.    This contains an introduction and Timeline, as well as a transcription and update to the 1948 booklet with proceeds going to Trinity Chuch; you may also purchase a copy by at

2. The Letters of Harry Croswell.  An amusing series of letters purportedly from the Ghost of Harry Croswell, the acerbic Rector of Trinity from 1815 to 1858 “to my dear people” of Trinity Church.  The letters are actually the work of Edward J. Getlein, Trinity’s Historian, thespian, wit, and author of Here Will I Dwell: A History of Trinity Church On-The-Green, New Haven, Connecticut, 1976. Trinity’s Historian the late Ed Getlein began editing these letters in 1979 as a regular column in the Parish Newsletter Still Small Voice.

3. Bible “Tickets” — A printed parchment sheet with scripture passages on the front side, and instructions for its use on the back side. According to the Archives of the National Church, the Diocese of Connecticut met on November 24, 1813 at Trinity Church in New Haven to discuss the election of a Bishop.

Artifiacts - Bible_Tickets_3_views

This souvenir was hand-typeset and (according to the instructions on the back) intended to be cut into small “tickets” to be pasted into one’s Bible, presumably for the attendees of the Convention.  The “ticket” recommends reading 1 Corinthians ii.13 — Ephesians vi. 17 — John xvii.17 — John xiv.26– John xvi.13.  On the back are instructions: “With a wafer, or a little paste, attach this ticket to the lid of your Bible.  Thanks to Joe Dzeda for sharing this bit of rescued history with us.

4. Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven, Connecticut Marriage Records, 1768 – 1800, with an analysis of the data. This transcribed table of 186 marriage records reveals a number of interesting historical facts. Why were the most popular months in the late eighteenth century New Haven to marry in the winter? And why did the sailor James Ellis marry a girl named Cook? One of the editors of this text discovered why her own daughter was named Statyra.

5. Harry Croswell lays down a distinct line between Church and State with his seminal A Sermon Preached at the Anniversary Election,Hartford, May 14, 1818, By the Rev. Harry Croswell, A.M., Rector of Trinity Church, New-Haven.

6. Trinity Goes to War with 1943 Booklet.  At the height of World War II, Trinity printed a pamphlet giving the history, organization, groups and parish directory. It notes that the church was founded by Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson (but gives the date of 1732 instead of 1727/8), and lists some of the rectors and major events. Among other things, it informs us that Trinity had a Rector Lawson Willard Jr., Rector Emeritus Charles O. Scoville, two assistant rectors, Vicar Frederick Williams of All Saints Chapel, an Organist and an Assistant, a Parish Visitor, a Parish Secretary, Church Sexton, Parish House Sexton and a Director of Physical Education. They collected bandages and food for the troops, and joined in a World Wide Communion Sunday on October 3, 1943.

Artifacts - Trinity 1943 Episcopal Church around the worldArtifacts - Trinity 1943 World Wide Communion

This artifact, preserved by Trinity History Ministry member Carol Davidson, is a 3.5 x 7 inch booklet titled “TRINITY CHURCH, New Haven, Connecticut – that you may know and take part” was accompanied with an insert, with “A Special Invitation” to World Wide Communion service to be held on October 3, 1943 on one side, and a reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper on the other.  The Special Invitation was to a service to bear witness “in these days of war” in army camps and naval bases, on shipboard, in churches large and small, to the unbroken and unbreakable fellowship of Christians around the world.

7.Trinity Players Program c. 1937. In the 1930s The Trinity Players was a thriving community theater group with plays at the parish house, now Whitney Humanities Center. In this program of three one act plays, Clarence D. Johnson directed The Valiant by Holworthy Hall and Roberty Middlemass, Thursday Evening, by Christopher Morley, and The Marriage Proposal by Anton “Tchekoff”; he also started in the play by Checkov.

One of the three, The Valiant, written in 1921 was serious and is still today deeply moving. The play opens with a Warden and a prison Chaplain discussing a unnamed prisoner 30 minutes prior to his execution for murder. Due to the publicity this case has received, thousands of letters have been written and phone calls made asking who this man is. The two men decide to bring the prisoner to the Warden’s office to try one last time to discover the man’s identity, but the prisoner is determined to take his secret to the grave. Suddenly, a strange young woman comes to the prison requesting to see him; she has come with the hope of finding her long lost brother. The two people, one doomed to death and one doomed to acknowledge death, share a story of sacrifice. The play concludes with a line from Shakespeare as the man is lead to his death: “Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.”

Thursday Evening is a comedy and The Marriage Proposal is a farce, but still the theater group taking on these plays was bold and impressive: the theater group seems to have gone inactive during the second world war. It was not until 1975 that Rev. Robert Sandine resurrected the Players as two groups – the community theater The Something Player, performing in the parish hall until it was sold in 1980, and thereafter in various local spaces and the Eli Whitney Barn, and Trinity Players performing sermon or liturgical dramas as part of the worship service at Trinity Church.

8. Parish House 9:15 Sunday School Trifold Pamphlets (compressed).  These three pamphlets, each with six pictures, describe the Sunday School at 53 Wall Street at the 9:15 service in 1967-68, 1968-69, and 1969-70.  They contain descriptions of classes and teachers, celebrating the 151st, 152nd, and 153rd years of Trinity Church Sunday School.  For an uncompressed image (which may take some time to load) select Parish House 9:15 Sunday School Trifold Pamphlets (uncompressed).

9. The Churchman Magazine on November 10, 1906, (p. 722) printed an article “Repairing Historic Trinity Church, New Haven, Conn.”, reproduced here in full:

“Fifty to seventy thousand dollars are being expended on historic Trinity church, New Haven, Conn. The location of Trinity on the city’s green, with two Congregational neighbors, is unique. It is central, but that is about the only advantage, for thirty years of negotiation were necessary to secure the little plot, 20 by 40 feet, on which space the chancel stands, and even now, were the church to burn, a new location might have to be secured. The church was completed in 1814. For many years the gallery supports have appeared to be defective, and recent examination showed the roof to be in some danger of falling. Since July repairs have been in progress, and it may be February before they will be completed. An unusual framework of steel, somewhat like that of the modern office building, is being put in to support both gallery and roof. A new organ, having parts in chancel and gallery, is to be put in place, and a ceiling in place of a former defective one, will be constructed and then the entire Interior decorated. The Rev. C. O. Scoville is acting rector for a term of two years, ending at Easter, 1908, and a new curate, the Rev. H. P. Sterrett, late of St. George’s, New York, has just entered upon work. Trinity parish was given during the year a fine old mansion’ on Elm street, fronting the Green, with $12,000 to alter It into a parish house. It was the gift of Mrs. Lucy H. Boardman, whose death occurred last spring, and who had previously given the rectory to the parish. The cost of the changes In the parish house will be $30,000, and so work has not begun, pending the completion of changes in the church. The present parish house in Temple street, which is not large enough, will be rented after the new one is ready for use. Trinity congregation is worshiping with St. Thomas’s parish in Elm street, until Trinity church is reopened.”

Trinity’s Architecture

Below find more on the architecture of the two Trinity parish churches and buildings owned by the Parish, including the 1712-3 First church, the 1714-1712 Second church, the George Street compound, and various other parish offices and Glebe buildings.

The First Gothic Style Church in America

Architecture - trinity_chuch standard shot of tower against blue skyThe people of the parish of Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven, have built two churches in their long history since organized Episcopal services began in the town in 1723. The first church was built between July of 1752 and the summer of 1753. The second church was built between 1814 to 1816 by Ithiel Town, a pioneer in the Gothic Revival Style in America,  For more on this influential and seminal early American architect, see the article Ithiel Town, Architect of Trinity Church.

After much research and long debate, it appears that the current Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven, by almost a decade, is indeed the first Gothic Style Church in America.1 — what the Trinity building committee in 1812 called the “Gothic Stile” and  Bishop Jarvis in 1814 called the “Gothick” style—an architectural movement that spawned an American Gothic Style architectural movement called variously “Gothic Survival”, “Gothic Revival” or “neo-Gothic” style.  It led to the building of at least 1,821 historic neo-Gothic churches in America in a similar style, Carpenter Gothic houses and small churches, Collegiate Gothic campus buildings, interior decorations, ironwork, and bridges culminating in the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883.  It was built prior to the earliest Gothic Revival Style churches in Canada as well (New Haven had a thriving trade with Canada from its early days on though the 1800s), making it the first Gothic-Revival building in North America.

It is built out of local seam-faced “trap rock” or diabase, a dark volcanic rock whose iron weathers to a rusty brown when exposed to the air, giving the church a distinct reddish appearance. Built of the same stone as East Rock Park, its tower echoes the tall exposed rock ridges that border New Haven. For more on this unique stone, see the article Rock of Ages: Trinity’s Trap Rock Exterior.

Walk-throughs and Descriptions

History - Walk-trhrough Select the picture or the link for Six Walk-throughs, of text with pictures showing different parts of Trinity on the Green’s unique architecture. Learn about Trinity’s windows, monuments, organs, clock, secret spaces, “the big dig” of the 1960’s that created its undercroft, and the unique and beautiful Columbarium.
Architecture - Trinity First Church Munson Painting with a 1 Select the picture or the link for an essay on Trinity’s First Church, the crown-topped building built between 1752 and 1753 that annoyed the Puritans and the Patriots, but sheltered Trinity’s tiny oppressed Anglican community for 63 years.
Architecture -Trinity in snow with a 2 Select the picture or the link for a full description of the amazing history of our current church, known as Trinity’s second or “Gothic Church”.


In 2015-6, Trinity Parishoners delivered a series of lectures on Trinity’s history.

Peg Chambers AISSelect the picture of Peg to the left or click on this link for a presentation by Architect Peg Chambers, AIA, about the History of Trinity Church and its Architect Ithiel Town.




Neil Olsen from Puritan to Yankee thumbnailSelect the picture to the left or click on this link for a presentation by historian Neil C. Olsen, From Puritan to Yankee: How Trinity overthrew the Last Theocracy in America,




_Diana%2520Beardsley%2520-%25200016Select the picture to the left or click on this link for a presentation by historian Ray Chappell, on the windows of Trinity,


A Video of The Gothic Chuch EXhibition, made by Peg Chambers in October of 2015


1. A review of buildings from Category: Gothic Revival architecture in the United States accessed on February 13, 2012 in Wikipedia at found 1,821 buildings listed in the category of “American Gothic Revival”, with 1,774 type P (Protestant), 25 type C (Catholic) and 2 type F (other). Trinity Church on the Green New Haven, built between 1714 and 1716, was the oldest. The next oldest was St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Washington, Connecticut, built in 1822.  The third oldest was also built by Ithiel Town: it was Christ Church (now Cathedral), Hartford, Connecticut, built in 1827 to 1829. Another church listed in the count of Gothic buildings was St. John’s Episcopal Church in Warehouse Point, Connecticut.  Originally built in 1804 in the Federalist style, the church was moved from its original location in 1844; ten years later, Henry Austin of New Haven was hired to remodel the church in the Gothic style, and this work was completed in 1855; thus only the inside is Gothic Revival style, and it was crafted well after the 1816 completion of Trinity Church. Note that there were elements of a Gothic style in wooden churches in America before 1814; Christ Church, Stratford Connecticut in 1743 had pointed arch windows, for example, but Trinity was the first stone church to be built entirely in the style.

The earliest authority for the originality of the Trinity New Haven Gothic style church is found in Jarvis, Bishop Samuel, An Address, delivered in the City of New Haven, at the Laying of the Corner-Stone of Trinity Church, May 17th, 1814; together with the Form of Prayer composed for that occasion. New-Haven, 1814. A number of other commentators since Jarvis have observed its seminal place as the origin of this architectural style as well. Dr. Dwight in his account of New Haven wrote that “The Episcopal church is a Gothic building the only correct specimen it is believed in the United States.” Blake, Henry, Chronicles of New Haven Green from 1638 to 1862, Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Press, 1898, p. 27. The architect See also, Buggeln, Gretchen, Temples of grace: the material transformation of Connecticut’s churches, 1790-1840,  UPNE, 2003, p. 110, which notes that, “Trinity was the first of several Gothic buildings erected by Episcopal congregations in Connecticut in the next few decades. Sr. John’s in Salisbury (1823), St. John’s in Kent (1823-26), and St. Andrew’s in Marble Dale (1821-23) are good examples of the standard form these early Gothic churches assumed in more rural areas, rendered in brick or stone.” Buggeln also quotes Bishop Hobart and Rev. Harry Croswell on p. 115; Croswell in his unpublished Annals, New Haven Museum, p. 55 calls it “the first attempt at the gothic style of architecture in church-building in New England”, and credits it with bringing in new members.  See also, Seymour, G. D., “Ithiel Town” entry in the Dictionary of American Biography, Base Set, American Council of Learned Societies, 1928-1936. The first stone neo-Gothic church in Canada was probably St. John’s Church in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1824, the same year work began on Notre-Dame de Montreal, making Trinity the first Gothic Style church in all of North America. There were earlier examples of Gothic elements: Christ Church Stratford (1743) had pointed arch windows, for example, but these eighteenth century wooden church are not considered Gothic-Revival style churches, but in the Colonial style with Gothic details. The oldest church in the United States is St. Luke’s “Old Brick Church in Smithfiled, Va., (1632) is a rectangular “room church” which also shows Gothic details, some of which were added in the nineteenth century.  However, it was Town’s Trinity Church that launched modern the Gothic revival moment in North America.



ARTICLES about Trinity Church, its people, places, ideas, and history, including links to the rich set of papers, printed sermons, and other documents that illuminate the rich history of one of the most culturally significant Episcopal churches in America.

Project Canterbury has collected and digitized many published many public domain texts, and has a section for Trinity Church New Haven.  Many of the sermons and other documents are referenced in the timline in the History Overview page..

Some of the below articles are original contributions by Trinity Church History Mission’s  group members, while others are links to various journal articles published over the years relating to Trinity Church.

Some of the files are in .pdf format and may take some time to load.

1. The First Years: from Missions to Revolution, a description of the missionary years, the building of the First Church, and Trinity during the Revolutionary War.
2.The Last Two Slaves sold in New Haven. They were Lois Tritten age 40 and her daughter Lucy Tritten age 16, and were sold to Anthony P. Sanford, a shareholder of Trinity, who quickly freed them.
3.The Reverend Harry Croswell, and Black Episcopalians in New Haven, 1820-1860, by Randall K. Burkett. Burkett is a noted Black History Scholar, and curator of African American collections at Emory University. This brilliant scholarly work used Harry Croswell’s diaries to give a unique widow into the complex issues of slavery in Trinity and in New Haven in the pre-civil war period.
4.A Short History of the Organs and Music of Trinity Church, New Haven, Connecticut, Prepared for the 200th Anniversary of Trinity Church 1752-1952, By G. Huntington Byles, New Haven: no publisher, 1952. It is in two parts:

I. (tbd)
II. The Music and the Choirs of Trinity Church
5.A History of Trinity Church, New Haven, by Frederick Croswell, esq. Read March 8, 1868. The paper was written by Judge Frederick Croswell, Rev. Harry Croswell's son; it covers the vexing issues of Trinity's decade long attempt to obtain a proper deed for the church, and ends in 1812 with the death of Rev.Bela Hubbard.
6.Amos-Doolittle-AN-OLD-NEW-HAVEN-ENGRAVER-AND-HIS-WORK-v1.pdf by Rev. William A. Beardsley, M.A. [Read December 19, 1910.] Amos Doolittle was an early republic copper engraver, silversmith, mapmaker, publisher, "tune book" printer, political cartoonist, founding member of the New Haven Mechanic Society, tax assessor, and brethren of the Masonic Fraternity, who is listed as author or illustrator of over 185 books, 100 Maps, 6 Musical scores, and other formats – with a total of 330 media listing him as “author”. But he is best known as “The Paul Revere of Connecticut”, as he was a silversmith who not only fought in the Revolutionary War, but engraved scenes from it on copper plates and printed them. He was a member of the famous Trinity Doolittle family, he was married in 1797 at Trinity Church to Phebe Tuttle, just around the corner from his printing shop in New Haven.
7.Trinity Church Parish School and Home, from an article iexcerpted from the American Journal of Education, 1878. Henry Barnard was an American educational reformer, who lived and died in Hartford. It also contains a brief Consecration Sermon given at the dedication by Bishop John Williams Of Connecticut. The buildings were the gift of Mr. Joseph E. Sheffield, the principle donor of the School.
8.The Beginnings of the Episcopal Church in New Haven, by Rev. Dr. Edwin Harwood, 1895. It begins "ABOUT the year 1750, if a man of the world,--or, as he would have been called in those days, a man of wit and fashion,--had seen the little town of New Haven, and known anything of the tastes and the pursuits of its people, he would have described it as a well planned but thinly settled country village, the inhabitants of which were devoted to saving their own souls, to money making, and to perpetual quarreling with each other on topics of theological interest." He ends his history with the advent of Dr. Hubbard in 1767, and closes with the ecumenical observation that, “It is a matter of great joy to think that the old bitter theological and ecclesiastical passions are buried and gone. We are living in a better day.” The discourse was written ten years after a series of tragic events for Hardwood’s family, ending when his own daughter converted to Catholicism on the eve of her death from malaria, and was buried with both Roman Catholic and Episcopal ceremonies.
9.The Ministers of Trinity Church Parish, New Haven, Connecticut, by Neil C. Olsen, June 2015. The Article covers the list of all Anglican ministers that are known to have been responsible for the region covering the modern day parish of Trinity Church, New Haven, from the itinerant missionaries in 1705 to the installation of Rev. Dr. Luk de Volder as Rector in 2011.
10.Sketches of Church Life in Colonial Connecticut, Being the story of the transplanting of the Church of England into forty two parishes of Connecticut, with the assistance of the Society for the propagation of the gospel; written by members of the parishes in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the society, Edited by Lucy Cushing Jarvis, was written in 1902, and contains this section on Trinity Church, New Haven.
11.Why are we named Trinity?A speculation on why two churches/parishes were named Trinity in Connecticut in 1727 when the convention was to name any non-self-supporting parish "Christ Church", by Neil C. Olsen.