Date of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Tom Wickman


James Hammond Trumbull was born in Stonington, Connecticut in 1821 and died in Hartford in 1897. Although he spent his life within the borders of a single state, his remarkable achievements in the fields of colonial history and Native American language resounded throughout a rapidly expanding America. Trumbull’s Native American scholarship can be organized into three categories. Within the context of southeastern Connecticut, he examined obscure colonial records that led him to an understanding of the Pequot War that challenged traditional narratives. However, he never formally printed his misgivings. On a state level, as a high-ranking official, he collected colonial documents and analyzed Connecticut’s native place names even as his government worked to erase tribal identities. Nationally, Trumbull collaborated with the Smithsonian Institution and the Bureau of American Ethnology in government-funded efforts to collect, catalog, and eventually silence indigenous languages across the country. More than his limited published work, the annotations in his personal library, his detailed research notes, and his extensive correspondence networks illuminate Trumbull’s place within the scholarly and social debates of his time. As reflected in substantial archival material, Trumbull’s Native American scholarship was a passionate, but careful, pursuit.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in History.