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Post Date:04/11/2024 12:00 PM

NEW HAVEN, CT— Today, Mayor Justin Elicker announced the appointment of Michael J. Morand as the official City Historian of the City of New Haven. The appointment to the position, which is unpaid, is for an initial five-year term through December 31, 2028. 

“New Haven has an extraordinarily rich and diverse history, and when we engage with and learn from the events and lessons from our past, we can better understand not only who we have been, but who we are and where we can go in the future. Historians have a special charge to help illuminate these stories and truths for us, and every time I speak with Michael Morand, I learn something new and interesting about New Haven,” said Mayor Elicker. “Michael has a deep love for the Elm City – and he has the knowledge, experience, and passion to help our residents and institutions better explore and understand New Haven’s history, while inspiring community engagement and action from the lessons we learn from it. I’m thrilled he’ll be our next city historian.”

“New Haven has more accessible cultural heritage material per capita than just about anywhere in the country. This means we have great opportunities to help inform and activate more New Haveners as history keepers and history makers—and make New Haven the community in Connecticut that has the most inclusive and dynamic history and archives,” said City Historian Morand. “Our city is blessed with wonderful libraries and cultural heritage and community memory groups – the New Haven Museum; the Ethnic Heritage Center and its constituents; Beinecke and other Yale Library collections; SCSU special collections; art and science museums; religious congregations; Grove Street and other historic cemeteries; New Haven Preservation Trust; among so many others – all in a compact city.”

A New Havener since 1983, Morand has long been passionate about local history. He is Director of Community Engagement for Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, which as part of its expansive collections holds important materials on New Haven and Connecticut history. Morand also serves as chair of the Friends of the Grove Street Cemetery; on the board of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and the W. E. B. Du Bois Museum Foundation (USA/Ghana); and as chair of the history committee of the Dixwell Community House.

Recently, Morand authored a chapter in Yale and Slavery: A History (2024) and has been a leader of Yale’s research project on slavery in this region. He is also lead organizer of the exhibition Shining Light on Truth: New Haven, Yale, and Slavery at the New Haven Museum.

Morand’s prior public service includes two terms as first ward alder in New Haven, member of the State of Connecticut Judicial Selection Commission, and chair of the board of the New Haven Free Public Library and its affiliated foundation. He has served as past president of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, as vice president of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, and on other civic boards.

Mayor Elicker and City Historian Morand noted anniversaries on the horizon that will provide meaningful opportunities for community collaboration and celebration, including the upcoming semiquincentennial of the founding of United States on July 4, 1776, and the semiquincentennial of the City’s incorporation on January 8, 1784.

“America’s 250th anniversary in 2026 and New Haven 250th anniversary in 2034 are times to reflect on the past and to recommit ourselves to forging a better and brighter future,” observed Mayor Elicker. “I look forward to working with City Historian Morand to develop ways for the City to organize and support civic experiences and participation around these historic milestone events in the life of our city and nation.”

“In this centennial year of James Baldwin’s birth, I think often of Baldwin’s declaration: ‘History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history,’” noted Morand. “As City Historian, I look forward to being a connector and cheerleader for New Haven’s brilliant constellation of community memory workers. There is so much we can do working together.”

Connecticut State Historian Andy Horowitz celebrated the news, saying “Many people care about New Haven, but few know so much about it, and nobody is more enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge of this place than Mike Morand. This well-earned designation confirms his role as an essential New Haven advocate, scholar, educator, connector, and truth-teller. I’m excited to continue to learn from Mike about where we are and who we are as New Haveners.”

Carolyn Baker and Diane Petaway, Co-Presidents of the Greater New Haven African American Historical Society, greeted the appointment saying, “We know how committed and passionate Michael Morand is about preserving and sharing interesting facets of New Haven history. Over the years, we have collaborated with him to uncover exciting and precious stories from our common past, to unlock hidden narratives, and to share the power of history with so many.”

Frank Carrano, a founder of the Wooster Square Italian Immigrant Historical Society, cheered the appointment: “I am looking forward to continuing to work with Mike in efforts to preserve the rich immigrant history of New Haven. He brings enthusiasm, and creativity to the task of identifying and preserving the discrete stories that are part of New Haven’s past.”

Morand is the third City Historian in the City’s history. Richard Hegel was the first, appointed by Mayor Biagio DiLieto and serving until his death in 2012. Judith Schiff followed Hegel, appointed by Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., and served until her death in 2022.

“Dick Hegel and Judy Schiff were both friends and mentors I deeply cherish,” Morand said. “I am grateful to Mayor Elicker for this opportunity, inspired by the Mayor’s commitment to honest and inclusive history, and honored to follow in a trail Dick and Judy blazed.”

Michael Morand photo 2023-24


Lenny H. Speiller; (203) 725-4249;

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