Since 1976, Michael has collected and dealt in old & rare books, a hobby/business he started as a graduate student. He has acquired and collected manuscripts and books from the thirteenth to twentieth centuries. His personal collection of books and manuscripts includes scarce and unusual works on American history, nautical history, natural sciences, American literature, travel & exploration, local history, 19th century spiritualism, and personal journals kept by common men in historic situations. The books and manuscripts in his collection provide him with raw material for much of his historical writing. He also works as news librarian for the Republican-American in Waterbury and writes historical articles for the newspaper.
Michael's new book - Clueless in New England - was published in May, 2010. It relates to three unsolved disappearances along the New England- New York border. Two of the cases are the oldest cold cases in Vermont and Connecticut.
An Historical Account of Charles Island (2006) was Michael’s first book and traces the history of this small island off the coast of Milford. The island was discovered by Adriaen Block in the 17th century, reputedly used by William Kidd as a burial site for part of his treasure, home to a 19th century summer resort, provided a tranquil setting for a Dominican Retreat in the 20th century, and is now part of Silver Sands State Park and a natural preserve for nesting birds. This book was nominated for the Homer D. Babbidge Award for the best work on a significant aspect of Connecticut’s history published in 2006.
His second book, Milford Lost & Found (2009), re-discovers events that have been either lost in the dustbin of history or simply forgotten with the passage of generations and time. The collective memory of any community is frighteningly short. Events happen, sometimes history is made, and people remember for a while. Big events become firmly entrenched in the community at large and those stories are passed down to the next generation and documented by historians. Others, perhaps less impactful, are gradually forgotten as memories fade. These bits of history become “lost” in a sense. At the time they happened they added color to people’s lives, were discussed at the dinner table, and in various ways influenced the community.
In their time, many of the topics included in Milford: Lost & Found didn’t seem to be anything more than the stuff of daily living. Who would have thought that a 19th century nickname for Milford might have its roots in American literature, or a group of kids camping on a beach in 1861 would have any significance, or that a company of pioneer filmmakers might make their mark in Milford in 1915. Historic events are happening all around us but we don’t think of them as such. History is viewed as something ancient, not recent. But it doesn’t take long for recent to become historic. Milford Lost & Found resurrects some of Milford's lost stories that deserve to be preserved.
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