David Humphreys House -  Home of Derby Historical Society

Derby Historical Society
“Celebrating a Proud Past and a Promising Future”

Founded April 18, 1946, to serve the Naugatuck Valley towns of Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour, & Shelton

 Office: Sarah Riggs Humphreys House (gray house behind the Humphreys House)
37 Elm Street Ansonia, CT 06401
Telephone: (203)735-1908 and (203)701-9171

General questions & research inquiries
: info@derbyhistorical.org

A NEW website is under construction and we are excited to share it with you soon - thank you for your patience!

Office & Research Library Hours:  9 am - 1pm, Monday through Friday by appointment

Summer Office Hours: Tuesday through Friday 9 am to 1 pm

The Derby Historical Society is taking measures to ensure our visiting guests are safe. We have therefore certified our operations to be in compliance with the State of Connecticut's guidelines for reopening. Museums may open outdoor and indoor exhibits at 50% capacity in the current phase of reopening.

As Connecticut reopens its museums, the State wants to enable its citizens to continue to enjoy its rich cultural and historical heritage, as well as some quality time indoors and outdoors. Such activities must be undertaken only after prioritizing the health and safety of employees and consumers.

Museums inherently present lower risks of contagion. There is little touching, and density of visitors in any particular space is usually low and can be further limited. The set of rules we are following allows you to enjoy the state's cultural treasures.

We require that guests practice six-foot distancing measures, as well as utilize the proper face-covering while on the property of the Derby Historical Society and General David Humphreys House Museum.

Our signage ensures the following:

• Maximum occupancy of each exhibit area/room • Social distancing protocols • Cleaning and disinfection protocols • Personal protection protocols (face masks, gloves) for visitors and employees • Employees shall stay home if sick/experiencing symptoms • Customers shall not enter if they are experiencing symptoms

• Guests are required to bring & wear masks or cloth face covering that completely covers the nose and mouth unless doing so would be contrary to his or her health or safety due to a medical condition.

• The Derby Historical Society will be taking the proper measures that ensure our guests are visiting a clean and disinfected space. All programming/exhibits will be outdoor only. Hand sanitizer will be available for our guests.

While protocols provide a way for us to reopen as safely as possible, risks to visitors and employees cannot be fully mitigated. Visitors who choose to come to the David Humphreys House museum during this time should be aware of potential risks. Individuals over the age of [65] or with other health conditions should not visit, but instead continue to shelter in place. The Derby Historical Society and General David Humphreys House Museum take these rules as the minimum baseline of precautions needed to protect public health in Connecticut.



 Tours of the Humphreys House - By Appointment
Suggested Donation is $5 per person

Please like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/davidhumphreyshouse  - updates and exciting news is shared on our page!  Also, follow us on Twitter @DerbyHistorical


The Derby Historical Society is now accepting Pay Pal for donations, membership renewals, and event registration.

Your financial support is greatly appreciated and is very much needed to ensure that we are able to continue in our mission of preserving the Valley's history and culture.

When making your donation please specify on the donation form, in the section marked "Optional Note" , what your donation is supporting i.e. Membership, General Donation, or Event.


Give a gift that costs nothing during your lifetime ~ Please consider the Derby Historical Society in your Legacy and Estate Planning

Visit the www.valleygivesback.org for more information on planned giving to the Derby Historical Society



Upcoming Events and

General David Humphreys House News

Work is underway at the David Humphreys House -  pictures and updates will be on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/davidhumphreyshouse


Derby Historical Society’s

12th Night


Sunday, January 10, 2021

David Humphreys House

 37 Elm St, Ansonia

11 am to 3 pm

The Derby Historical Society marks the end of the Christmas season with our annual Twelfth Night Celebration. History and warmth await you at the hearth – we’ve added an outdoor fire and an urn full of delicious hot cocoa to help you stay safe and warm.

Join us outside for our annual reading of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and be sure to visit our Gift Shop to find that unique item.

For more information call (203)735-1908 or email to info@derbyhistorical.org

* Masks are required for indoor events according to current State of CT guidelines - Group/tour sizes monitored *


Derby Historical Society’s

Christmas Fair

Sunday, December 13, 2020

David Humphreys House

37 Elm St, Ansonia

11 am to 3 pm 

A crackling fire and a cup of hot cider are the cure for the season’s blues. If you are in need of good cheer - history and unique gifts await here!

Come one and all and be greeted by the smells, sights, and sounds of the season. Enjoy our historic David Humphreys house and learn about its colorful colonial past. Help support your local crafters! Coon Hollow Farm, Wood ‘n Bark, and Big Bear Trading Co. will be displaying their hand-made items, perfect for that personal gift you have been looking for.

For more information call (203)735- 1908 or email to info@derbyhistorical.org. Onsite parking available.

* Masks are required for indoor events according to current State of CT guidelines - Group/tour sizes monitored *


The Dr. John I. Howe Award is awarded to a businessman or woman, individual, group, firm, corporation, or industry whose presence has consistently benefited one or more communities in the Valley region in the spirit of its namesake. This benefit is either through activism, perseverance, and/or philanthropy to the extent that the Derby Historical Society recognizes that they will be remembered in an historical context by future generations. The Derby Historical Society is happy to announce that the Dr. John I. Howe Award recipient for 2020 is Patricia C. Tarasovic.

Pat has selflessly served the people of the Valley in many ways throughout her career. We are excited to announce that she has earned the distinction of being selected for the Dr. John I. Howe Award. The Award is named after Dr. John Ireland Howe who was a founding father of the Industrial Revolution. Howe invented the mass production machine which made the pin "common". The Industrial Revolution which Dr. Howe helped engineer led to increased immigrant migration into the Valley making it a melting pot for many nationalities.

Patricia (Pat) Tarasovic is a resident of Oxford since 1979 who served as Director of the Volunteer Action Center and Vice President of Community Engagement at Valley United Way from 1991 to 2020. In addition, Pat has always been an active volunteer in Oxford and the Valley community. Pat is married to Nicholas (Nick) Tarasovic and they have 3 children, and 6 grandchildren.

Pat worked for close to thirty years for Valley Non Profits. During her time at VUW, she founded the Corporate Volunteer Council (CVC) and High School Volunteer Council, which has provided non-profits and individuals with hundreds  of projects, and thousands of hours of service. Such initiatives helped tackle food security in the Valley and assisted vulnerable families in need through programs like the Back to School for Kids Program and Holiday Giving. She founded Harvest House with the CVC, a community wide initiative to build a house of food that provided hundreds of thousands of pounds of nonperishables to local pantries since 2005. In 2014, Pat helped to develop a Food Task Force in the Valley with the Council for Health and Human Services where she was Chairman from 2016-2018.

Pat has been the recipient of several regional, state, and congressional awards from local agencies such as the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce, Connecticut Education Association, Connecticut Junior Women, Derby-Shelton Rotary Club, TEAM, Inc. YMCA, Birmingham Group Health Services and Valley Women Making a Difference, TEAM, Inc. Pat is a Corporator for Griffin Hospital. She was Co-Founder of Griffin Hospital’s Valley Goes Pink and served as Co-Chair for the Campaign for Breast Wellness that supported the development of the Hewitt Breast Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital. Pat was appointed by the Governor to Serve on the State of Community Service Commission.

Howe House Preservation Easement Success -

"The Derby house was built in 1844 by Dr. John I. Howe (1793-1876), a prime mover in American industrial history. Between 1830 and 1842, Howe invented and perfected an automated pin-making machine and organized the Howe Manufacturing Company, moving it to Derby in 1838. With Howe’s machinery and processes, American pin makers were able to outstrip their English competitors. As expanded in about 1850 and about 1870, the house is an exceptionally well-constructed masonry residence, built of granite by a local stonemason, Lucius Hubbell. With its solid walls, unusual cruciform plan, and finely detailed porches, the house is a prominent presence among the nineteenth-century buildings of Caroline Street in downtown Derby. Like the Sturges-Wright house, the Howe house is individually listed on the National Register. Because of its significance, the Derby Historical Society bought the Howe house in the 1980s with the intention of operating it as a museum to recognize Derby’s industrial history. The society did some restoration, most notably reconstructing the two-story porch that Howe added to the house in the 1860s or ‘70s. However, the museum plan never came to fruition. After several years, the society determined that the best course of action was to sell the house for private development with a preservation easement to ensure its protection. The expectation is that the house will be renovated for multi-family occupancy, in keeping with the character of the surrounding neighborhood. Thanks to the easement, PCT will be able to guide the renovation." - Preservation CT, 2020

DHS AWARDED A MULTI-YEAR RESPONSIVE GRANT FROM THE VALLEY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION The Derby Historical Society has been awarded a multi-year Responsive Grant through the Valley Community Foundation's Responsive Grant making cycle, which is done with their' partner in philanthropy, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (TCF).  Supporting donor advised funds from the Warichar Family Fund also helped make this $30,000 grant possible.  The grant will be paid out over a 3 year period and will provide general operating support to the Society to preserve, maintain and celebrate the rich history of the Naugatuck River Valley.  It will also allow us to present more programming and colonial demonstrations to the general public and grow our "A Day in 1762" program for Valley students and beyond!!  We look forward to the opportunity for growth and doing our part to Preserve Our Place in History!!

DHS RECEIVES $7,500 GRANT FROM THE PERSBACKER FAMILY FOUNDATION TOWARD FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF OUR EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING Derby Historical Society has received a generous $7,500 grant from the Persbacker Family Foundation toward further development of our educational programming at the David Humphreys House and Museum.  We are optimistic that we will be able to offer our A Day in 1762 program to more school students in CT and also add more programming on history of the American Revolution.  We anticipate offering our expanded programming during the 2019 and 2020 school years.

UPDATE ON MULTI-YEAR CAPACITY BUILDING GRANT FROM THE VALLEY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION  The Derby Historical Society has recently completed  a multi-year Capacity Building grant from the Valley Community Foundation which was used towards the restoration project at the General David Humphreys House & Museum.  This grant was paid out over a three year period and totaled $50,000.

DHS RECEIVED $20,000 GRANT FROM THE PERSBACKER FAMILY FOUNDATION TOWARD THE RESTORATION PROJECT OF THE GENERAL DAVID HUMPHREYS HOUSE & MUSEUM   The Derby Historical Society received a generous $20,000 grant from the Persbacker Family Foundation toward the restoration project at the General David Humphreys House & Museum.  The grant helped us to "Preserve Our Place in History".  The Persbacker Family Foundation also provided  us an opportunity to receive an additional $30,000 in matching funds.   We are pleased to say that we met the match!! Thanks to all the support of the community and individuals below!!! (some donors chose to remain anonymous)

We would like to thank the people listed below for their generous financial support towards the Restoration Project of the General David Humphreys House & Museum.

Thank you to:  The Persbacker Family Foundation, Brewster LaMacchia, Maurice J. Donini, Jean & Richard Widmark Foundation, Timothy P. Chaucher, Bernadette Norton, James Oram, Marian O'Keefe, John Cavallaro, Marion Aiello, Heather Barrett, Valley Community Foundation on behalf of Martha Dulla-Andrade, Elsie Valeski, Elaine Brandon, Valley Community Foundation on behalf of Beth Colette, Eugene & Addie Coppola, Judith Augusta, Renate Segrist, Marilyn Flynn, L. R & Janet Wade, Southern CT Dental Group,  Lucille & Joseph Palmucci, Timothy J. Riordan, Helen Ploski, Thomas Wells, Arlene Jachyra, Virginia Costigan, Jamie Cohen, Dorothy Gleason, Georgia Morgan, Mark Anthony Izzo, John J. Walsh, John N. Wilmot, Lee Schroeter, Carolyn Balusek, Jenkins-King Funeral Home, Henry & Sandra Jemioto, Janis & Walter Yakimovich, William & Stephanie Miller, William V. McDonnell, Jr., John Coporale, Myrtle Bartolotta, Raymond Mackowski, Robert Ahearn, Tifany Gherlone, a grant from the Sophie and Robert W. Rapp Family Fund at the Valley Community Foundation by the Fund's advisor, Jo-Anna Rapp Holden.  Also a grant from the Bassett Family Foundation at the Valley Community Foundation, A. John Rodriguez, Joseph Warichar, George A. Clark "In Memory of Doris & George Bush Clark", Mary Ann Micklus, Maurice Donini, James Oram, Paula & Merritt Clark, David Axelrod, Geoff & Annette Widomoski, Sally Paez, James & Patricia Oram, Kevin & Joan O'Mara, Myrtle Bartolotta, Synchrony Financial, an Anonymous Donor,  and a grant from UTC.



Your continued support of the DHS  helps us "Preserve Our Place in History"!     

DHS at the Memorial Day Parades:




Dave Loda promoting LTC David Humphreys, Derby Historical Society and the Dean Webb Museum encampment in Olde Wethersfield on Channel 3:

Older news and events have been moved to the DHS Archived News And Events page

Visit the Humphreys House Gift Shop!

Click here for details


This website began in 1998 as part of the Electronic Valley Project, linking the towns of the Lower Naugatuck Valley to the World.
Initial funding was provided by the SNET Museums for the Millennium Project.

City of Derby Home Page

The Electronic Valley

Sigill Civitat Ansonia In Repub. Connecticutensi *1893*
City of Ansonia Home Page

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The Naugatuck River Valley (comprised of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Derby, Naugatuck, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton) was chosen as an All-American City in 2000.

Copyright © 2001-2020 by Derby Historical Society.
All trademarks or product names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

Updated June, 2020