The Godfrey Memorial Library was incorporated in 1947 and first opened its doors in May 1951. In 2017, we
celebrated our 70th anniversary as an independent, non-profit library. Below are some important milestones
in the library's history.
A. Fremont Rider accepts a job as librarian at Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT) and eventually
becomes the chief librarian of Olin Library at the University. He retires twenty years later in 1953.
The first volume of the American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI) is published. Over time,
the Index grows to 226 volumes, containing references to more than four million people living in the 17th,
18th, and 19th centuries.
The Godfrey Memorial Library (GML) is incorporated in Connecticut as a nonprofit organization. At
the first meeting of the Board of Trustees, Rider is elected Chairman of the Board.
Constructed on property owned by Rider and adjacent to his home in Middletown, the GML opens its
doors to the public.
Rider gives his entire personal collection of bound book publications to the GML as a gift.
The work of indexing the genealogy column (1896-1941) of the Boston Evening Transcript is
completed by GML staff.
Rider dies in Middletown (CT) at the age of 77.
Ancestry acquires the exclusive electronic publishing rights to the AGBI.
Rider is named by American Libraries, the flagship magazine of the American Library Association,
as one of the 100 most important people in 20th-century librarianship.
GML designs and launches the Godfrey Scholar, our online research tool containing searchable
databases and our own digitized content. The library also receives authorization to create a Family History
Center, a licensed branch of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT.
The Ed Laput Connecticut Cemetery Project begins.
GML amends its certificate of incorporation and becomes a "member" organization.
LIBRARY DIRECTORS - Past & Present
A. Fremont Rider
134 Newfield Street (Route 3), Middletown, CT 06457