This book is the product of valuable contributions by students, colleagues, and community partners across the metropolitan region of Hartford, Connecticut. Most worked with me through the Cities Suburbs and Schools Project at Trinity College, an undergraduate seminar that I first taught in Spring 2002, which expanded into an ongoing community-learning research project with summer fellowships and independent study opportunities.[1] Collaborators played different roles: formulating research questions, negotiating partnerships, digging through archives, conducting interviews, digitizing primary sources, compiling and analyzing data, designing interactive charts and maps, creating and maintaining web content, drafting essays and reports, presenting findings to the public, and offering insightful feedback. Key contributors are credited below and also named in specific bylines, captions, and endnotes of the book. Any content that a collaborator co-authored or authored is clearly labeled, including cases where former students granted permission for me to adapt or expand on their original work and credit them accordingly. Any text or digital item that does not include a co-author means that I created it by myself.

When collaboration is done well, it often requires more time than working alone in academia, but it often yields richer outcomes. If I had defined my goal very narrowly, such as producing the greatest number of publications for career advancement, then in my field of history it probably would have been faster to work alone. Fortunately, that was not my goal. We already have too many shelves of books and databases of articles that very few people actually read. Instead, this book seeks to engage with a wider audience by crossing boundaries between academic disciplines, and more importantly, divisions between scholars and the public. Listening to how other people made sense of this topic on their own terms forced me to think outside of my own head. As a result, the clarity and connections in this book became clearer with each draft. Moreover, learning how to publish our words, maps, interviews, and other supporting evidence on the public web created valuable resources that already have proven useful to web visitors from Hartford and beyond. Collaboration took time, but it led to a richer and more readable book than I could have imagined if working alone.

Any chapter that a collaborator created or co-created is clearly credited in the byline. If no name appears, it means that I wrote it solo. Co-authors in the bylines and I jointly share the copyright for specific chapters, and as the lead author I hold the copyright for the book as a whole. Contributors agreed to distribute our work under a Creative Commons license, which allows readers to freely share the content with others. As noted in specific chapters, portions of this book that were published previously elsewhere have been revised and expanded for this edition, and appear here with permission of the original copyright owner.

In addition, collaborators also contributed on creating many digital elements in this book, such as interactive maps and oral history videos. See captions for source credits and links to named individuals or teams. Most data visualizations also are distributed under an open-source MIT license, and readers can click on “view the code” links to learn more details.

*To come — list of all contributors*

  1. Cities, Suburbs, and Schools Project at Trinity College,