Skip to main content

Nan F. Heminway papers


Identifier: 2004-25-0

Scope and Contents

The personal papers of Nan Ferguson Heminway (1920-2006), whose professional career spanned 50 years. She took up permanent residence in 1971 in Litchfield and decorated many historic homes. She was extensively involved with historic preservation, the Garden Club, and the Litchfield Historical Society. The papers consist of files related to Hemingway's decorating projects and professional activities and include notes, correspondence, minutes, reports, wallpaper samples, carpet samples, drawings and blueprints, specifications, invoices, billing statements, landscaping plans, paint analyses, research, photographs, and other papers. The papers consist of files related to Hemingway's decorating projects and professional activities. They are arranged in two series: Series 1. Project files, 1953-2003 This series contains 7 boxes containing various decoration jobs of Nan Heminway's throughout Litchfield and the surrounding area. Dates range from 1953-2003. Projects are arranged alphabetically by name. The papers include notes, wallpaper samples, carpet samples, drawings and blueprints, specifications, invoices, billing statements, landscaping plans, paint analyses, research, and photographs. In the files are photos of the artifacts, as they have been removed to collections storage. Series 2. Professional activities and subject files Series 2 has four boxes, containing files which include documents from Nan Heminway's professional activities in the Green Advisory Committee, Village Improvement Society, Historic District Commission, and CT Historical Commission. The files are arranged in two ways: sub-series 1 arranges the projects by title and sub-series 2 arranges the files by date. The files are mainly minutes, agendas, memorandums, correspondence, applications for and certificates of appropriateness, and various notes. The major projects included in these files are: --The inclusion of Litchfield in the National Registry of Historic Places --Landmark district boundaries review --A study of West Street --Litchfield Courthouse clocktower repairs and restoration --The proposed addition for the First National Bank --The Courthouse re-location --The Post Office location --The Litchfield Volunteer Ambulance project --Action and vision plans for the Borough


  • Created: 1953-2003
  • Other: Date acquired: 05/10/2000


Conditions Governing Access

Financial information contained within Series 1 (Project Files) is restricted as a condition of the donation.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has been transferred to the Litchfield Historical Society for materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical or Historical Information

Hemingway was born Nov. 12, 1920, in Brooklyn, N.Y. She and her family moved frequently during her childhood. Her step-father was Herbert Sidney Jones, known in Litchfield as Capt. Jones, who helped establish the Litchfield Historic District in 1959. She attended the Oxford School in West Hartford and graduated from Finch Junior College in New York City, where she became interested in decorative art and design. She married Buell T. Heminway of Watertown during World War II when both were naval officers. Mrs. Heminway served with the rank of ensign in the Naval Communications Intelligence Organization, assisting in decryption of Japanese Navy codes. For her wartime work, she was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. After the war, she began working part-time as a wallpaper and fabric designer, working from home in Litchfield during the early 1950s. She also become involved in local civic affairs at this time. In the late 1950s, the Heminway family moved to Detroit. Following her divorce, she moved to Washington, D.C. and started a corporate interiors firm. In the late 1960s, she joined a New York firm as senior interior decorator. She also volunteered with the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  She moved to Litchfield in 1971 following the death of her mother. In addition to her work decorating homes in Litchfield, she was crucial in the formation of the Litchfield Historic District Advisory Commission, serving for many years as its chairman. The Commission reviews exterior alterations to buildings in the Litchfield Historic District and her tenure saw the legitimization of the Commission as an active participant in town government. She was also instrumental in gaining the nomination of the Litchfield Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places. She was president of the Litchfield Garden Club and recipient of its Historic Preservation Award for Zone II; consultant to the Litchfield Historical Society for the Tapping Reeve historic site and chair of its Tapping Reeve Committee; adviser to The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation; liaison to the Connecticut Historical Commission from the Connecticut Association of Historic District Commissioners; a director of Connecticut Preservation Action; consultant to The Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden in Bethlehem and a property of the  Antiquarian and Landmarks Society, of which she was a member. She was also an honorary trustee of the Litchfield Historical Society and chair of its Collections Committee. Heminway's work was publicly recognized in 2006 when she received the Janet P. Jainschigg Award for Excellence and Professionalism in Historic Preservation from the Connecticut Trust. She died on July 3, 2006.

Note written by


20.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The papers are arranged in two series: 1. Project files 2. Professional activities and subject files

Source of Acquisition

Nan F. Heminway

Method of Acquisition


Accruals and Additions

Nan Hemingway made an initial gift in 1998 (1998-11-0). She made an additional gift in 2004 (2004-25-0). Following her death, her son Buell Hemingway made a gift (2006-27-0).

Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Related Materials

multi-part note content

Other Descriptive Information

The collection overview for this collection was completed with support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Nan F. Heminway papers
Leith Johnson and Katie Blouin
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Litchfield Historical Society Repository

7 South Street
P.O. Box 385
Litchfield CT 06759
860-567-3565 (Fax)