The 20th Annual Induction Ceremony for the Silas Bronson Library’s Waterbury Hall of Fame will be held on Saturday, October 22, at 2 p.m. The ceremony will be held at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury. This year’s honorees are Augustus S. Chase, Dr. Theodore R. Lovelace, and Attorney James F. Gill. The ceremony is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided by the Friends of the Silas Bronson Library.
Pomfret native Augustus S. Chase (1882-1896) came to Waterbury in 1850 to take a position as an assistant cashier at the Waterbury National Bank, of which he became president in 1864, retaining that position for thirty years. He also became president of several companies, including Waterbury Manufacturing, Waterbury Watch, Benedict & Burnham Manufacturing, Waterbury Buckle and the American Printing company. Chase was one of the original members of the Second Congregational Church in 1851 and one of the founders of Waterbury Hospital in 1883. He was the first president of the Waterbury Club, a trustee of St. Margaret’s School (now Chase Collegiate School) and its first treasurer. He was the first treasurer of the City of Waterbury, a member of the school and water boards, the Board of Agents of the Silas Bronson Library, and the State Legislature. His sons succeeded him in the industrial development of Waterbury as the Chase Companies became part of the Waterbury brass industry.
Dr. Theodore Roncevert Lovelace (1904-1967) was the first African American doctor to practice at St. Mary’s Hospital and at Waterbury Hospital. Originally from Danville, Virginia, Lovelace graduated from Virginia Union University with a Bachelor of Science in 1925, earned his M.D. from Howard University, and completed his Family Practice/General Surgery internship at Freedman’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. He came to Waterbury in 1946. A gifted and brilliant physician, Lovelace was the public health director for the Town of Prospect, school physician for the Waterbury Board of Education, the official physician for the Connecticut Boxing Commission, and the State Athletic Commission physician for Waterbury. He is still fondly remembered for making house calls in Waterbury. A prominent politician, Lovelace was a member of Waterbury Housing Authority and ran for treasurer of the City of Waterbury. He was the first African American president of the Pearl Street Neighborhood House, president of the Waterbury NAACP, which named him “Man of the Year.” Lovelace was a member of the Waterbury Medical Association, the Connecticut Medical Association, the American Red Cross Board of Directors, and president of the Family Doctor’s Association. He was a member of the Elks Lodge, the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the Ashanti Club, and president of the Bacchanta Social Club.
Waterbury native James F. Gill was once dubbed by The New York Times as “one of the least known but most influential officials in New York.” The Waterbury native, born in 1941, has served on every major board and commission in New York City and chaired Mayor Edward Koch’s Commission on Integrity in the Public Schools, known as the Gill Commission. He is one of the most prominent attorneys in the city and has worked closely with every New York senator and governor over the last half century. His pro bono service has included general counsel to the board of trustees of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and voluntary representation of labor leader Cesar Chavez. A devout Catholic, he was named a Knight of St. Gregory, and a Knight of Malta. He also holds the Fordham Law School Lifetime Achievement Award and chairs the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, directing the distribution of $54 million a year in donations.
The Silas Bronson Library’s Waterbury Hall of Fame is comprised of Waterbury natives and residents who have made a significant impact on the history of Waterbury or who have achieved recognition for their accomplishments throughout the city, state, country or world.
The mission of the Hall of Fame is to honor these notable Waterburians, to educate the public about Waterbury’s rich past and present, to promote interest in Waterbury history and the local history resources of the Silas Bronson Library and other city institutions and, through the nomination process, to increase the library’s historical information about the city.
Hall of Fame members are elected annually by a nine-member committee appointed by the library Board of Agents. Nominations are submitted by the general public as well as committee members. Candidates include – but are not limited to - civic, cultural, government and religious leaders, artists, writers, educators, historians, war heroes, industrialists, business and professional people, and sports figures. The Waterbury Hall of Fame is on permanent view at City Hall.