Town Historian

In 1987, Public Act 87-278 was introduced by Senator Thomas “Tim” Upson (R) of Waterbury, and passed by the Legislature of the State of Connecticut, establishing the practice of appointing municipal historians for the 169 municipalities in the state of Connecticut. Under Section 7-148. “Scope of municipal powers.” subsection (5) D of the Connecticut General Statutes, municipalities may now provide for the appointment of a municipal historian. Middlebury’s first municipal historian from 1987 to 2001 was Bradford E. “Brad” Smith.

In October 2001, the Middlebury board of selectmen appointed Dr. Robert L. “Bob” Rafford as Brad’s successor. The municipal historian, often called the “town historian,” is intimately involved with collecting, preserving, recording and distributing historical artifacts, structures, news and stories concerning our town. He is here to answer questions, supply information and to inspire others to become involved in our history. Bob has been on the board of the Middlebury Historical Society, Inc., since 1986, and currently serves as its president.

Bob has written over 100 articles for the town’s monthly newspaper, the Bee-Intelligencer, many of which are available online (, searching on the name “Rafford” in the search box); he also writes for the monthly Middlebury Neighbors Magazine, which is mailed to all Middlebury residents (all back issues of the Bee and Middlebury Neighbors are available at the historical society). If you have historical questions or concerns about Middlebury’s history, please contact Bob at 203-206-4717 or email him at

The Middlebury Historical Society, Inc., is a private 501(c)(3) organization, incorporated in the State of Connecticut in 1975. It is privately funded and receives no funds from the town. It occupies the town-owned Center School, a magnificent two-room schoolhouse designed by McKim, Mead and White. The building houses a museum, archive and research center to assist all interested in our history.

Learn more about our inclusive policy here.