New Haven mayor appoints library’s Michael Morand as city historian

  • Man in blue jacket with brown and blue patterned tie and hands clasped smiles at camera
April 15, 2024

Michael Morand, director of community engagement for Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library—and a longtime active member of the New Haven community—has been named the official city historian of New Haven.

“Michael has a deep love for the Elm City,” Mayor Justin Elicker said in announcing the appointment, “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.”

“Few places have as much historic material per capita in archives, architecture, and local history organization groups than New Haven, a place at once extraordinarily diverse and dynamic while also compact and accessible,” Morand said. “I’m excited to do all that I can to further catalyze and connect our community’s constellation of memory keepers and help read the future through the past.”

Morand is also a member of the Yale and Slavery Research Project, which published “Yale and Slavery: A History” with Yale University Press in February. Morand contributed the chapter titled “The 1831 Black College,” an account of the city’s failed plan to establish the first Black college in New Haven.

Morand will serve a five-year term in the unpaid position. He is stepping into the role formerly occupied by Judith Schiff, the longtime and highly regarded chief research archivist at Yale Library. Schiff, the first female New Haven city historian, served from 2012 until 2022 and was preceded by the inaugural city historian, Richard Hegel.

Read more in the Yale News story by Mike Cummings and in the article in Yale Daily News.

—Deborah Cannarella