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Health and Medicine

Person facing towards the camera with classes, holding a pipe in one hand in their mouth. They are wearing a jacket

Alan L. Hart: Pioneer in Medicine and Transgender History

An early person to undergo gender affirmation surgery, Alan L. Hart was a physician who pioneered the use of x-ray in early detection for tuberculosis.


Newspaper clipping featuring text and an image of two men

Connecticut Discovered Lyme Disease – Who Knew?

The discovery of Lyme disease, and its transmission through ticks, got its start around Lyme, Connecticut in 1975.


Benjamin Spock: Raising the World’s Children

Pediatrician Benjamin Spock revolutionized childcare in the 20th century before becoming a leading figure in the anti-war movement of the 60s and 70s.


Black and white profile portrait of a woman looking to the side.

Alice Hamilton: The Nation’s Leading Expert on Industrial Diseases

Dr. Alice Hamilton was a leading authority on industrial diseases and the first female faculty member at Harvard before she retired to Hadlyme, Connecticut.


Dr. Mary Moody sitting on her front porch

Dr. Mary B. Moody Challenges Victorian Mores About Women in Medicine

New Haven resident Dr. Mary Moody the first female graduate of the medical school at the University of Buffalo, and the first female member of the American Association of Anatomists.


Leech jar, England

This Won’t Hurt a Bit! A Brief History of Anesthesia

After 1844, persons undergoing limb amputations, tooth extractions, and other painful procedures had reason to thank Dr. Horace Wells.


National Biscuit Company graham crackers, circa 1915

Sylvester Graham: Progressive Advocate for Healthy Living

Sylvester Graham is known as much for his sermons on morality as his advocacy of a healthy lifestyle and his creation of the graham cracker.


Morton Biskind Warned the World About DDT

A Westport physician named Morton Biskind became one of the first to warn the world about the dangers of DDT. His work ultimately helped inspire the writings of Rachel Carson.


Hospital Rock, Farmington

Farmington’s Hospital Rock Dates Back to 18th-Century Smallpox Inoculation

Deep within the woods of Rattlesnake Mountain in Farmington are the remains of a late-18th-century smallpox inoculation hospital.


Nurses getting water at Base Hospital No.21, Rouen. This unit supported the British Expeditionary Force

Ruth Hovey: Heroic Battlefield Nurse

A 28-year-old nurse from Hartford, Ruth Hovey served on the battlefields of World War I.


Benjamin Silliman and Soda Water – Who Knew?

Yale’s first professor of chemistry, Benjamin Silliman, was also the first American to produce soda water in bulk.


The health of the child is the power of the nation

Helen F. Boyd Leads the Charge for Better Public Health

A long-time Connecticut resident, Helen F. Boyd Powers was a national advocate for greater public access to nursing and healthcare education.


Anna Louise James seated, with a cat on her lap

Miss James, First Woman Pharmacist in CT Right in Old Saybrook

Remembering Anna Louise James, the first woman pharmacist in the state of Connecticut.


Headline of An Act concerning Operations for the Prevention of Procreation

LGBTQ+ Mental Health Treatment in the 20th Century

The simultaneous development of accepted mental health practices and LGBTQ+ visibility over the decades offers a chance to examine how psychological research contributed to the discrimination of LGBTQ+ individuals and communities.


Ashbel Woodward house, Franklin

Franklin’s Ashbel Woodward was a Battlefield Surgeon and Historian

Ashbel Woodward was a physician, historian, and farmer who spent most of his life serving the town of Franklin.


Advertisement for Phillips' Milk of Magnesia in the Washington DC Evening Star, 1945

Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia Originated in Stamford

In 1873, Charles H. Phillips patented Milk of Magnesia and his company produced the popular antacid and laxative in Stamford, Connecticut, until 1976.


Eighty-Five Hundred Souls: the 1918-1919 Flu Epidemic in Connecticut

December 12, 2021 • Disaster, Health and Medicine, New London

The state’s busy ports provided an easy point of entry for the disease that claimed millions of lives around the world.


Horace Wells

Horace Wells Discovers Pain-free Dentistry

This Hartford dentist played key role in the development of anesthesia but competing claims to discovery obscured his accomplishment.


Mr. Timothy Hall who died with the small pox July 29th, 1775

The Pest House Completed – Today in History: December 4

On December 4, 1760, the town of Durham announced the completion of their hospital house, precipitated by an outbreak of smallpox the year before.


Taking on the State: Griswold v. Connecticut

In the 1960s, Estelle Griswold challenged Connecticut’s restrictive birth control law, making it all the way to the Supreme Court.


US District Court, New Haven

Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut – Today in History: November 1

On November 1, 1961, Estelle Griswold and Dr. C. Lee Buxton opened the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut in New Haven.


State Tuberculosis Sanitarium, Norwich, Conn.

The White Plague: Progressive-Era Tuberculosis Treatments in Connecticut

Treatments for tuberculosis included everything from exposure to extremes in temperature to regimens involving access to the outdoors.


Seaside Sanatorium, Waterford

Seaside Tuberculosis Sanatorium: Waterford’s Contested Oceanfront Gem

Connecticut’s Seaside Sanatorium in Waterford is the site of a former nationally recognized tuberculosis hospital.


Dr. Sheffield's creme dentifrice box

Aristocratic Dental Cream Gets Squeezed

Taking advantage of his skills as a dentist and chemist, Dr. Washington Wentworth Sheffield, in 1850 at the age of 23, invented modern toothpaste.


Jimmy Piersall’s Public Struggle with Mental Illness

Professional baseball great Jimmy Piersall battled with mental illness all of his life.


Crisis Management during the American Civil War: The Hartford Soldiers’ Aid Society

The Hartford Soldiers’ Aid Society was one of the most important relief organizations during the Civil War and provided new opportunities for women in the public sphere.


American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, Hartford

Gallaudet’s Vision Advances Deaf Education

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet is acclaimed today for pioneering education for the deaf in the US and establishing the American School for the Deaf in Connecticut.


Landscape Architect Frederick Law Olmsted, early 20th century

Landscape Architecture Helps in Healing – Who Knew?

Frederick Law Olmsted re-designed the grounds on the campus of the Hartford Retreat for the Insane to help induce healing and serenity.


The Influence of Woman, Harper's Weekly, 1862

Bridgeport Women Answer the Call – Today in History: April 15

On April 15, 1861, the women of Bridgeport created the nation’s first soldiers’ aid society during the American Civil War.


The Girl in White, movie advertisement starring June Allyson as Emily Dunning Barringer

New Canaan’s Pioneering Female Physician

Dr. Emily Dunning Barringer was the first female ambulance surgeon in New York City and the first female physician to work as an intern in a New York City hospital.


St. Anthony Comstock, the Village nuisance

Connecticut and the Comstock Law

Connecticut passed its own state law in 1879 that carried the anti-contraception movement further than any other state in the country.


Photograph of Hilda Crosby Standish

Hilda Crosby Standish, Early Proponent of Women’s Reproductive Health

A pioneer of sex education and family planning, this physician directed the state’s first birth control clinic in 1935.


Anna Louise James behind the soda fountain in the James' pharmacy

Anna Louise James Makes History with Medicine

Anna Louise James operated a drugstore in Hartford until 1911, making her the first female African American pharmacist in the state.


Dr. Emma Irene Boardman

Dr. E. Irene Boardman Never Stopped Serving the Public

Having suffered from polio as a child, Emma Irene Boardman found her calling in relieving the pain of others.


Merritt Hat Factory, Danbury

Ending the Danbury Shakes: A Story of Workers’ Rights and Corporate Responsibility

Despite the known dangers of prolonged exposure to mercury, the hat-making industry was slow to safeguard workers against its toxic effects.


Wood-cut representing Alexis St. Martin's wound

The Father of Gastric Physiology Born – Today in History: November 21

November 21, 2020 • Health and Medicine, Lebanon, Science

On November 21, 1785, physician and physiologist William Beaumont was born in Lebanon. 


Smoke billows from Hartford Hospital

The 1961 Hartford Hospital Fire

On December 8, 1961, the casual disposal of a cigarette spread raging flames and deadly smoke through Hartford Hospital.


Red Cross Emergency Ambulance Station

The Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918

For those who lived through the 1918 flu, life was never same. John Delano of New Haven recalled, “The neighborhood changed. People changed. Everything changed.”


Contagious Ward, Greenwich General Hospital, 1916

Health Department Fights Unseen Enemies During World War I

How Greenwich faced the menace of two highly contagious and potentially deadly diseases: polio and Spanish Influenza.


Civil War Sanitary Commission

Sanitary Fair – Today in History: July 25

On July 25, 1864, the Stamford Ladies Soldiers’ Aid Society held a Sanitary Fair in response to the needs of Civil War soldiers


Dr. Eli Todd

Medical Pioneer Eli Todd born – Today in History: July 22

On July 22, 1769, Eli Todd was born in New Haven and in 1824 became the first director of the Connecticut Retreat for the Insane in Hartford.


First American Medicine Patent – Today in History: April 30

On April 30, 1796, Samuel Lee Jr. of Windham, Connecticut, received a Letters Patent for his composition of bilious pills.


The Innumerable Accolades Afforded Dr. William H. Welch

Trained at Yale, William Welch was a native of Norfolk, Connecticut, and one of the most celebrated physicians of his time.


Video – Emily Dunning Barringer Tribute Film

The Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame pays tribute to long-time New Canaan resident, Dr. Emily Barringer, the first female ambulance surgeon and first female physician in the nation to secure a surgical residency.


Waterbury’s Radium Girls

In the early 20th century, girls working at the Waterbury Clock Company faced death and disease from exposure to radium in the workplace.


Florence Wald

The First Hospice – Who Knew?

Founded by Florence Wald, a former dean of Yale University School of Nursing, Connecticut Hospice opened in March of 1974.


The boiler that fed the machinery at the Fales & Gray Car Works in Hartford exploded

Today in History – Fales & Gray Explosion Underscores Need for a Hartford Hospital

At 2 pm on March 2, 1854, the power of steam incorrectly managed and harnessed wreaked havoc at the railroad-car factory Fales & Gray Car Works in Hartford.


Broadside announcing changes to Mansfield's Poor-House

Connecticut Poor Law Aimed to Care for the Needy

Connecticut instituted a Poor Law in the 17th century to comply with a directive from the British government that the colony ensure for the care of the poor within its borders


Video – Vampires and Witches in Connecticut a Lecture and Panel Discussion

Explore Connecticut’s aggressive prosecution and execution of accused witches between 1647 and 1663, decades before the famous Salem witch trials.


Right foot of James Wilbraham

Civil War Soldier Dies of Gangrene – Today in History: July 10

On July 10, 1864, Civil War soldier Curtis Bacon of Simsbury died of gangrene from injuries he suffered in combat nearly two months earlier.


Video – Florence Wald Tribute Film

The Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame pays tribute to Florence Wald, founder of hospice care in the United States. 


Heart Pump out of an Erector Set – Who Knew?

Yale medical student William Sewell Jr. built the first artificial heart (partly out of Erector Set pieces), and conducted successful bypass experiments in 1949.


Designed to Heal: The Connecticut General Hospital for the Insane

The design of this state facility in Middletown reflects 19th-century beliefs about the environment’s ability to influence mental health.


Tomlinson Cottage, Retreat for the Insane, Hartford

Hartford Retreat for the Insane Advanced Improved Standards of Care

In the 1800s, this Connecticut hospital stood at the forefront of medical practice in the US in its new approaches to the treatment of mental illness.


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