World War I memories sought for free Digitization Day

Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center, located at 132 Main Street, is the venue for a free World War I (WWI) Digitization Day offered by the Connecticut State Library (CSL) on Sunday, June 10, from 1 to 4 p.m.

On that day, area residents are invited to bring in their photographs, diaries, letters, and other keepsakes from WWI for digitization by a CSL-trained team equipped to capture images of objects as well as oral histories. The digital images and stories collected will be added to the Connecticut State Library’s online archive and made freely accessible for public use.

“We are thrilled to be the venue for this,” said Hilary Micalizzi, board president. “Cass Gilbert and his wife, Julia, who lived here at Keeler Tavern during the war years, were intensely concerned about the war in Europe and supported United States involvement in what they certainly hoped would be ‘the war to end all wars.’” Digitization Day is being offered by Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center and the Ridgefield Historical Society as part of Ridgefield Remembers World War I, a townwide commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Funded by a Common Heritage grant given to the Connecticut State Library by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the digitization day aims to create a repository of the stories of ordinary men and women who served on the front or at home during the war.

Items to be digitized should pertain to the World War I era (defined as 1914 to 1919) or, if post-war, must clearly reference World War I (e.g., artwork depicting the war). They must be related to wartime, home front activity or other war efforts; owned by the individual; and be original. Post-war items related to World War I veterans — including those who served on the Mexican front in 1916 — will be accepted. No photocopies, photostats or copyrighted materials will be digitized.

Items do not need to be Connecticut-related provided that the person submitting them is a Connecticut resident. Full details about items to bring and the CSL World War I archive may be found at

Further background on the project will be available at Connecticut in World War I, a lecture by Connecticut State Library’s Christine Pittsley (Ridgefield Library, June 3, 2 p.m.).

Digitization Day at Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center is free, but registration is required and should be made online at

Keeler Tavern Museum is open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. The Ridgefield Historical Society, 4 Sunset Lane, is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 5 p.m.