PETER HARING JUDD was born in Hartford Hospital, the first of two children of Carolyn (Griggs) Judd and Stuart Edwards Judd. He grew up in Waterbury, Connecticut where he attended McTernan’s School, and later boarded at The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, Conn. From there he went to Harvard College, graduating AB cum laude in 1954, with a major in History and Literature. He served in the U.S. Army as an enlisted man, for two years, eighteen months of these in Staff Communications at the Pentagon. In 1959–60, he served as an Education Officer, in Maiduguri, Bornu Province, Northern Nigeria where he taught history in the Provincial Secondary School. In the course of that work, he met a number of journalists and scholars working on African subjects; on his return, working with a publisher, he commissioned articles on the subject then prominently in the news, the transition from colonial rule to independence in sub-Saharan Africa.  African Independence: the exploding emergence of the new African nations was a mass-market paperback that sold tens of thousands of copies. (New York: Dell Publishing Co, 1962).

Later in 1962, Stuart Edwards Judd, the sole owner and President of the Mattatuck Manufacturing Company in Waterbury, became suddenly incapacitated. The Mattatuck, founded in the 1890s by his father, manufactured small metal parts from brass and steel wire and sheets. At the time it had about sixty employees; in World Wars I and II and the Korean War there had been four or more times that number. Over the course of ten months, Peter successfully sold the firm to an owner who maintained and later expanded the workforce. In More Lasting than Brassthere is a history of the Mattatuck, its products and role in central Connecticut metal-working industry of its era, the involvement of two Waterbury families, the labor troubles of the 1950s, and its transfer to new ownership.

Shortly thereafter, Peter began graduate studies in International Relations in what was then the Department of Public Law and Government at Columbia University. He received a PhD from the University in 1970, with a dissertation, British Perspectives on the United States, 1840-1860.  In those decades, the United States had greatly expanded by land and had become a considerable presence on the seas. How did the attentive public in Britain perceive this rising power? Did any see it as a future threat, and I so, what to do about it. If not, for what reasons? While at Columbia, he published two articles: “The Attitudes of the African States toward the Katanga Secession” and “Thucydides and the Study of War.” (New York: Columbia University: School of International Affairs, The Dean’s Papers, vols. 1 and 2, 1966.) He taught for a year at Columbia College 1967-68. In the spring of the latter year, he witnessed the student riots at Columbia and the “liberation” of buildings on the campus. He joined other faculty seeking to prevent intra-student violence.


Following completion of his graduate studies, in the absence of academic positions, Peter served as a consultant on environmental planning and policy with a number of organizations, including the Holden Arboretum, The New England River Basins Commission, and the University of Connecticut. He wrote an account in non-technical language of a then ongoing scientific study of the effect of the thermal discharge from the Connecticut Yankee nuclear power plant on the fishery and biota of the Connecticut River whose water used for the plant’s cooling. (The River and a Nuclear Power Plant (Northeast Utilities, 1969.) This led to long-term and full time affiliation with the Corporate and Environmental Planning Department of Northeast Utilities in Connecticut. He worked with NU for twenty years, with numerous writing assignments and latterly planning a system-wide energy conservation initiative.

In the 1960s and 1970s, he was a resident of Killingworth, Connecticut where he built a house in a field surrounded by woods, a mile from a paved road in all directions. He insulated it to the then highest standard to make efficient use of electric baseboard units supplemented by a wood-burning stove. He pruned and harvested the surrounding woods in keeping with sustainable forestry practices; he had vegetables in season from the garden and did roadwork with pick and shovel after storms.

In 1983 Peter was appointed Assistant Commissioner, Energy Conservation Division, in the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) in New York City. He was responsible for assessing the potential for improving the efficiency of heating systems in the tens of thousands of multi-family buildings in the city. A young and enthusiastic staff developed targets for improvements in the largely oil-fired and steam systems in the multi-family housing stock in the city. The unit worked with industry groups as well as with the managers of city-owned buildings. The result was the development of base line analysis of the then current fuel use, examples of greatly improved efficiency, and recommendations as to effective measures. These conclusions, reflected in a number of reports, remain pertinent today when a massive shift from oil to natural gas is taking place. After a six-year tenure at HPD he briefly served in the city’s Department of Environment Protection to develop approaches to more efficient use of water as the city introduced universal water metering. His experiences in these agencies led to two books, The Overheated City1992 (private distribution) and How Much is Enough? Controlling Water Demand in Apartment Buildings (Denver: American Water Works Association, 1993) and numerous papers identifying energy efficiency measures in buildings that led to lower fuel use and operating costs.

In New York he lives in a cooperative apartment on the Upper West Side of which he served as president for fifteen years. He was a member of St. Michael’s Church at Amsterdam Avenue and 99th Street and served on its vestry in the 1990s. He was chairperson of the committee overseeing a major restoration of the interior of the church, including its Tiffany-designed chancel and chapel. He served on the board of Horizon Concerts for some years, including as its president; its musicians brought live music to community centers throughout the city. He served as a Trustee of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYGB) from the latter 1990s to his resignation in December 2006. He was a member of the Executive Committee and chaired its Strategy Committee. His article, “The Haring Family Notebook and the Origins of the Haring Family in Hoorn, Holland, was published in the Society’s Record in June 2004. “The E. Haring Chandor Manuscript Collection: Catalogue Including Transcriptions and Summaries,” which he prepared with Carolyn G. Stifel, was published by the Society in 2004. In the same year, the Society’s Researcherpublished “The World’s Oldest Lawyer,” an interview by a New York reporter in 1875 with Elbert Herring (1777–1876), a New York attorney who had served in the bar of Hamilton and Burr and lived to the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant. He served as a member of the Council of the New England Genealogical and Biographical Society from the late 1990s until 2010. He published “The Search for Thomas Herring: Bringing to light dramatic events in the life of a previously almost unknown merchant in early-nineteenth-century New York City,” in New England Ancestors in 2004. The Pascack Historical Society in New Jersey had a letter dated January 12, 1776 from Mary Smith to Miss Betsey Ivers in New York, a dramatic time when the city had essentially thrown off British rule and an invasion was likely. With the contributions of others, Peter identified both young women and their families. His article, “’such distressing times with you at New York’: researching a January 1776 letter,” was published in New England Ancestors in 2009.

Music is an abiding interest. His first experience of opera at age fourteen led to a lifetime of interest and experience of opera at the Metropolitans and other companies in New York and Europe. In the city, he regularly attends symphonic and chamber music and recitals.  For almost two decades, he contributed articles to the Opera Orchestra of New York newsletter.

Another abiding interest is hiking. For over two decades from 1960, he took one or two backpacking trips a year in the American West with the Sierra Club and other organizations. These included the West Elk Wilderness and the San Juan’s in Colorado, the Palisades and Kings Canyon in California, theWallowa Mountains, Oregon, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area and Glacier National Park and the Beartooth Wilderness Area in Montana, Navaho Lands in Arizona, and the White Mountains in New Hampshire. From the 1980s each year, he takes walking trips in Europe. In New York City he regularly takes and has led hikes in Manhattan and the outer boroughs. For over two decades he has been a weekly student of the Alexander Technique.

His The Hatch and Brood of Time: Five Phelps Families in the North Atlantic World, 1730–1880, was published by the Newbury Street Press. Boston in 1999; it received the Year 2000 award for Family History from the Connecticut Society of Genealogists and in 2001 it was awarded the Donald Lines Jacobus Award by the American Society of Genealogists. His More Lasting than Brass: a Thread of Family from Revolutionary New York to Industrial Connecticut was published in fall 2004 by the Northeastern University Press and it received the grand prize in genealogy from the Connecticut Society in 2005. It includes extensive accounts of Haring and Clark forebears in the American Revolution and the War of 1812 and an account of the White, Griggs, and Judd families in 19th and 20th century Waterbury.  In 2008 he published a three volume account of the direct paternal and maternal ancestries of his four grandparents, Four American Ancestries: White, Griggs, Cowles, Judd, including Haring, Phelps, Denison, Clark, Foote, Coley, Haight, Ayers, and related families. This work includes a fourteen-generation Ahmentafel that lists each name in the direct paternal and maternal lines from the first arrival in America to the present. Using records and journal articles, he identified well over three quarters of the potential individuals in these lines. While less detailed than the previous books, Four American Ancestries includes extensive historical material to provide context for early residents of Hartford, New London, New Haven, Norwich, Fairfield and Fairfield County, and other places in Connecticut and Massachusetts and the smaller number of descendants of immigrants who arrived in New York and Pennsylvania. In 2009 he published the paperback edition of his Affection: Ninety Years of Family Letters, 1850s-1930s: Haring, White, Griggs, Judd Families of New York and Waterbury, Connecticut in two volumes and the next year the Connecticut Genealogical Society gave it its Literary Awards Contest Prize for Family History. He summed up his approach to using historical context in genealogy in “Adding Muscle and Sinew: Spicing up a Family Narrative.” in the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. March 2008. See Publications.

He is a professional actor and performs regularly in New York’s smaller theaters. See Stage and Screen.