The CONNector: The Connecticut State Library Newsletter
Connecticut State Library
1938 Hurricane Aerials

1938 Hurricane Photography Now Online

Detail shows the Great Gordon Tire Works, 110 Connecticut Boulevard in East Hartford on Sept. 24, 1938, after the Connecticut River flooded following the 1938 Hurricane. Picture source: Connecticut State Archives, PG160 Aerial Survey of Connecticut Hurricane damage photograph 00021.

The hurricane of Sept. 21, 1938, battered Connecticut and Rhode Island, as can be seen in 132 oblique aerial photographs taken by the 118th Photographic Section of the U.S. Army Air Corps on Sept. 23-24. The photographs show flooding along the Connecticut River from Windsor to Wethersfield and in Cromwell, along Long Island Sound from East Haven to Narragansett, Rhode Island, along the Willimantic and Shetucket Rivers from Stafford to Norwich, and along the Quinebaug River in Putnam.

Bridges collapsed or were overrun by the waters they were meant to cross. Train tracks were washed out, trees were downed, and homes were obliterated as the flood made its way north up the Connecticut River Valley.

Resources: Connecticut's Aerial Surveys : The 132 photographs taken after the 1938 hurricane are available online at along with the 1934 Aerial Survey. This is one portion of the Connecticut State Library Digital Collections found at at

Anderson, Jerome S. ed., assisted by Edward A. Adler and Eugene W. Buston. A matter of moments : a photographic record of damage wrought in Stonington, Mystic and Noank, Connecticut by the hurricane and tidal wave of September 21, 1938. Stonington, Conn. : Stonington Publishing Co., c. 1938. CSL call number: F104.S85 M3 1938

Champe, Howard C. High winds, high hopes : a patriotic effort to restore the hurricane-stricken meeting house at historic Lebanon, Connecticut. Hartford, Conn. : Case, Lockwood & Brainard, 1939. CSL call number: F104.L4 C45 1939

Connecticut Disasters : lists disasters in these categories: such as Blizzards, Construction Disasters, Fires, Floods, Hurricanes and Tornados at

Connecticut. State Dept. of Health. The 1938 flood and hurricane disaster : day by day account of how health was protected. [Hartford? : Connecticut State Dept. of Health?, 1938] CSL Call number: H342n

Research Guide to Aerial Photographs at the Connecticut State Library - : Our website describes how to access other years' aerial surveys, both online and in the original.

Southern New England Telephone Company The hurricane and flood of September, 1938. [New Haven] The Southern New England Telephone Company, 1939. CSL call number: HE8841.C8 S68 1939

By Jane F. Cullinane and John J. Lenehan, Preservation Office

CONNector, July 2007