Dr. William E. Buckley
by Jim Hall

William E. Buckley was arguably the state's leading historian, as well as being one of Manchester's most civic-minded individuals.

Born in Manchester, Buckley graduated from Yale University in 1913 and received a Master's degree from Trinity College in 1927. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Trinity in 1957.

He began his teaching career in Hackensack, NJ, where he taught for 7 years before returning to Connecticut in 1920. For the next 41 yers, he taught history at Hartford Public High School, retiring from public school teaching in 1961 after 20 years as its History Department chairman. After his retirement, he continued teaching at Manchester Community College and at Trinity College.

A member of the Manchester Board of Education from 1933 to 1964, Buckley was honored by the town in 1955 when the elementary school on Vernon Street was renamed the Buckley Grammar School.

During the 1930s, Buckley urged the town to adopt zoning regulations to control growth , and in 1937 he became one of the first members of the town's Planning and Zoning Commission. He later served for 6 years on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

From 1936 to 1943 he served as president of the Manchester Garden Club; and from 1944 to 1983 he also served on the town's Library Board. Buckley also helped found the Manchester Historical Society, becoming its first president in 1965.

In 1973, Buckley -- a lifelong resident of Manchester -- wrote the comprehensive "A New England Pattern: The History of Manchester, Connecticut" to coincide with the town's sesquicentennial (150 years') celebration. Other books by Buckley include "History of the Pitkin Glass Works" for which he received an award from the Connecticut League of Historical Societies; and "Connecticut and Its Governmant," which he co-authored.