Now Viewing:


Newspaper clipping with a large photograph of two people getting married with the headline "More than Partners"

Connecticut Issues Same-Sex Marriage Licenses for the First Time – Today In History: November 12

On November 12, 2008, Connecticut issued its first marriage licenses for same-sex couples after Kerrigan et al. v. Commissioner of Public Health et al..


The Trailblazing Bessye Bennett

In 1974, Connecticut finally admitted its first African American female lawyer, Bessye Bennett.


Race Restrictive Covenants in Property Deeds

Race Restrictive Covenants in Property Deeds

February 24, 2023 • Immigration, Law, West Hartford

“No persons of any race except the white race shall use or occupy any building on any lot…” Language such as this still appears in Hartford-area housing covenants today.


The Fundamental Orders

The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

The Fundamental Orders, inspired by Thomas Hooker’s sermon of May 31, 1638, provided the framework for the government of the Connecticut colony from 1639 to 1662.


Connecticut Ratifies US Constitution – Today in History: January 9

On January 9, 1788, Connecticut became the fifth state to ratify the Constitution of the United States.


The Living Actually Haunted Many Connecticut Taverns – Who Knew?

Early Connecticut laws deemed anyone who spent excessive time in taverns as a “tavern haunter” and subjected them to fines and ridicule.


The Connecticut Poll Tax

November 16, 2022 • Law, Politics and Government, The State

The Connecticut poll tax lasted for almost 300 years and encompassed four different variants.


Connecticut Residents Did Not Let Veterans Day “Go Commercial.”

Despite passage of the federal Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968, Connecticut residents were largely reluctant to move Veterans Day observances from November 11.


Mohegan Federal Recognition

“We are no longer the little old tribe that lives upon the hill. We are now the Nation that lives upon the hill.”


April 18, 1991 Headline after State Senate approved gay-rights bill - Hartford Courant

Eighteen Years in the Making: Connecticut’s 1991 Gay Rights Law

Connecticut’s 1991 “gay-rights law” was one of the state’s first LGBTQ+ civil rights laws and prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment, and credit.


Education/Instrucción Combats Housing Discrimination

September 26, 2022 • Law, Hartford, Social Movements

This group’s bilingual name reflected its educational mission as well as its dedication to unified, multicultural cooperation for the common good.


Picking Tobacco in the Connecticut River Valley

Literacy Tests and the Right To Vote

Connecticut was the first state to require a literacy test of would-be voters and, even as the practice came under fire as a tool of discrimination, the state held steady until 1970.


Blue background with a seal in the middle. Banner under the seal with Latin words.

Connecticut’s Official State Flag – Who Knew?

While Connecticut used variations of flags for state functions, the legislature did not adopt an official state flag until 1897.


Two Days After Marriage

Grounds for Divorce – Who Knew?

August 30, 2022 • Everyday Life, Law, Who Knew?

While Connecticut was not the first to grant a divorce, it was the first to define the grounds for dissolution of a marriage in An Act Relating to Bills of Divorce.


Suffragette Helena Hill Weed of Norwalk, serving a 3 day sentence in D.C. prison for picketing July 4, 1917

19th Amendment: The Fight Over Woman Suffrage in Connecticut

In Connecticut, Frances Ellen Burr and Isabella Beecher Hooker took up the cause by forming the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association (CWSA) in 1869.


The Long, Ambiguous History of Connecticut’s Blue Laws

July 24, 2022 • Everyday Life, Law, The State

Connecticut’s blue laws are a series of laws based on puritan values that restrict or ban certain “morally questionable” activities on days of worship or rest.


Painting of a man sitting in a chair. There is a drapery behind him. He is wearing a reddish brown suit from the 18th century

Roger Sherman Dies – Today in History: July 23

On July 23, 1793, Roger Sherman—a Connecticut merchant, lawyer, and statesman—died in New Haven.


Black and white photograph of the profile of a woman wearing a hat and sheer veil over her face

Emmeline Pankhurst’s “Freedom or Death” Speech Energizes Connecticut Women in 1913

In 1913, a famous British suffragist, Emmeline Pankhurst, gave a powerful and memorable speech on the steps of the Parsons Theater in Hartford.


Detail of Warwick patent copy by John Winthrop, Jr., 1662

The Charter of 1662

The Connecticut Charter, which provided the basis for Connecticut government until 1818, was secured because of Connecticut’s realization after the restoration of Charles II to the English throne in 1660 that the government of the colony lacked any legal foundation.


Constance Baker Motley: A Warrior for Justice

New Haven lawyer Constance Baker Motley became famous for arguing some of the most important cases of the civil rights movement.


Death of Captain Ferrer

The Amistad

After enslaved people revolted and took control of the Amistad in 1839, Americans captured the ship off Long Island and imprisoned the enslaved in New Haven.


Dr. C. Lee Buxton and Mrs. Estelle Griswold

Griswold v. Connecticut – Today in History: June 7

On June 7, 1965, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Griswold v. Connecticut.


Map of a collection of islands. There is a key in the bottom left hand corner

The Incident of the Stonington Schooner ‘Breakwater’: A View from Indian Country

Hundreds of American Indians served as mariners, including on the Stonington schooner ‘Breakwater,’ which survived capture in the Falkland Islands.


Bridge on the grounds of Gillette's Castle

A Public Responsibility: Conservation and Development in the 20th Century

The seemingly contradictory calls to use or preserve the state’s natural resources are, in fact, closely related efforts that increasingly work in tandem—but not without conflict.


Playing with Time: The Introduction of Daylight Saving Time in Connecticut

March 13, 2022 • Agriculture, Everyday Life, Law, Hartford

Despite both formal and informal attempts to regulate the observance of Daylight Savings Time in Connecticut, it still remains a controversial topic for many state residents.


P. & F. Corbin hardware shipping crate

The Corbin Cabinet Lock Company and Patent Law: A Lesson in Novelty from a CT Perspective

New Britain, fondly known as the “Hardware City,” had numerous companies that contributed to modern industrialization.


To show the man, Richard Reihl, who was murdered in Wethersfield in a hate crime in 1988

Richard Reihl: The Hate Crime That Became a Turning Point for LGBTQ+ Civil Rights

The 1988 murder of Richard Reihl, a gay man from Wethersfield, galvanized and mobilized communities to organize and transform LGBTQ+ civil rights legislation in the state for decades to come.


Uriah Tracy

Uriah Tracy Authors the Rules for Impeachment

Uriah Tracy was an attorney and politician who took up arms against the British after the Battles of Lexington and Concord.


Section of page from the Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1852

Rubber Vulcanization and the Myth of Nathaniel Hayward

Colchester has a persistent myth that Hayward invented vulcanization—a process that helps make rubber useful for manufacturing—but did not receive the credit he deserved.


Elizabeth T. Bentley, 1948

Elizabeth Bentley Born – Today in History: January 1

Elizabeth Terrill Bentley is best known for her role as an American spy for the Soviet Union—and for her defection to become a US informer.


Courtyard at New-Gate Prison

First New-Gate Prisoner – Today in History: December 22

December 22, 2021 • East Granby, Crime and Punishment, Law

On December 22, 1773, John Hinson, the state’s first inmate, arrived at New-Gate Prison.


Dodd Gun Bill Becomes Law

Thomas J. Dodd and the Gun Control Act of 1968

In 1963, Thomas J. Dodd crafted Senate Bill 1975, a “Bill to Regulate the Interstate Shipment of Firearms.”


The White Pine Acts – Who Knew?

The British government made it illegal for colonials to cut down white pine trees over 24 inches in diameter—preserving the trees for use as masts on British naval ships.


American Whaler printed by Elijah Chapman Kellogg

New London’s Indian Mariners

November 18, 2021 • Law, Native Americans, New London, Work

In an era of dispossession and diminishing autonomy on land, Native American mariners learned to use Anglo-American structures and institutions to establish a degree of power and personal freedom for themselves.


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.


The Articles of Confederation: America’s First Constitution

The Articles of Confederation loosely served as the nation’s first formal governing document, until ultimately being replaced by the US Constitution.


Man wearing a hat with card stating "Bread or Revolution"

How the Wobblies Won Free Speech

Denied the right to free assembly in public spaces, Connecticut workers joined in a larger national movement of civil disobedience.


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.


New-Gate Prison courtyard

Notorious New-Gate Prison

A failed Simsbury copper mine is now a national historic landmark in East Granby.


New Netherlands and New England map

Reckoning with the Dutch: the Treaty of Hartford, 1650

Hartford place names, such as Dutch Point, Huyshope Avenue, and Adriaen’s Landing, are reminders of a time when Connecticut was part of New Netherlands.


Prudence Crandall

Prudence Crandall Fights for Equal Access to Education

A headmistress champions education for African American women and although forced to close her school in 1834, she helped win the battle for generations that followed.


An illustration from A Sketch of the life, trial, and execution of Oliver Watkins

Connecticut Draws the Curtain on Public Executions

Brooklyn’s status as county seat in 1831 resulted in the town hosting what is widely accepted as the last public hanging in Connecticut.


Connecticut Attorney General John H. Light and His Fight for Woman’s Suffrage

Attorney General John H. Light made his pro-suffrage stance public at a time when such advocacy could still lead to criticism


Fort Trumbull neighborhood, New London

Private vs. Public Property – Today in History: June 23

June 23, 2021 • Law, New London

On June 23, 2005, the US Supreme Court ruled in a precedent-setting eminent domain case Kelo et al vs. New London,.


The Platt Amendment – Today in History: June 12

Orville Platt from Meriden presented the Platt Amendment to Congress in 1901. It essentially made Cuba an American protectorate.


An English woodcut of a Witch

Alse Young Executed for Witchcraft – Today in History: May 26

On May 26, 1647, Alse Young of Windsor was the first person on record to be executed for witchcraft in the 13 colonies.


Elevated view of Storrs Agricultural College

The Yale-Storrs Controversy

In the late 1800s, under pressure from frustrated farmers, the Connecticut General Assembly voted to transfer land-grant status and revenue from Yale to the Storrs Agricultural School (UConn).


Litchfield Law School

The Litchfield Law School: Connecticut’s First Law School

The Litchfield Law School, founded in 1784 by Tapping Reeve, became the first professional law school in Connecticut.


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.


Kimberly Mansion, Glastonbury

The Smith Sisters, Their Cows, and Women’s Rights in Glastonbury

By refusing to pay unfair taxes, these siblings became national symbols of discrimination suffered by women and of the struggle of the individual against government.


The Old State House, Hartford

Jackson v. Bulloch and the End of Slavery in Connecticut

Nancy Jackson sued for her freedom in 1837. Her victory helped further the abolitionist cause in a state slowly moving toward outlawing slavery.


A Journal of Captain Cook’s Last Voyage to the Pacific Ocean by John Ledyard

First General Copyright Law – Today in History: January 29

On January 29, 1783, Connecticut became the first state to pass a general colonial copyright law.


Starr Mill

Buckling Up For Auto Safety

Connecticut joined several other states and the District of Columbia mandating seat belt usage for children and adults in automobiles in 1985.


Courtyard at New-Gate Prison

First New-Gate Prisoner – Today in History: December 22

December 22, 2020 • East Granby, Crime and Punishment, Law

On December 22, 1773, John Hinson the state’s first inmate arrived at New-Gate Prison.


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.


Thomas Dodd (at podium), Nuremberg trial, ca., 1945-46

Connecticut Lawyer Prosecutes Nazi War Criminals at Nuremberg

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, Thomas Joseph Dodd served on the United States’ prosecutorial team as Executive Trial Counsel at the International Military Tribunal (IMT).


Witchcraft in Connecticut

Well before the Salem trials, Connecticut residents were executing “witches.” Connecticut is home to what was most likely the first execution of its kind in colonial America.


Pamphlet, 1692

Accidental Shooting Leads to Witchcraft Conviction – Today in History: October 3

October 3, 2020 • Crime and Punishment, Law, Windsor, Women

On October 3, 1651, Henry Stiles of Windsor was killed when the gun of Thomas Allyn, also of Windsor, accidentally discharged during a militia exercise.


Capital Punishment in Connecticut: Changing Views

Connecticut’s struggles with the issue of capital punishment date back…


President Richard Nixon visits Hartford

The 42-Day Income Tax

In 1971, to eliminate the state’s budget deficit, Connecticut legislators approved a tax on income. Just forty-two days later, they repealed it, instead voting to increase the state’s sales tax.


Aerial view of Connecticut State Prison

Wethersfield Prison Blues

September 8, 2020 • Crime and Punishment, Law, Wethersfield

In September 1827, the newly constructed Connecticut State Prison in Wethersfield opened its doors to 81 inmates once housed at Newgate Prison.


Trolley Campaigners Storm Small Towns and Votes for Women is the Battle Cry

In the wake of a 1912 trolley campaign, the woman’s suffrage movement rapidly gained ground across Connecticut.


Sheff v. O’Neill – Today in History: July 9

July 9, 2020 • Education, Law

On July 9, 1996, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the state had an affirmative obligation to provide Connecticut’s school children with a substantially equal educational opportunity.


The Lemon Law – Today in History: June 4

On June 4, 1982, Connecticut made legislative history by pioneering the country’s first Lemon Law.


Connecticut Supreme Court

Parking Authority Created in New Haven – Today in History: June 2

June 2, 2020 • Law, New Haven, Transportation

On June 2, 1953, the Connecticut Supreme Court of Errors ruled that creating a parking authority in the city of New Haven was constitutional.


Mary Hall: Connecticut’s First Female Attorney

Writer and suffragist Mary Hall studied law under John Hooker and became Connecticut’s first female attorney.


Setting Speed Limits – Today in History: May 21

On May 21, 1901, Connecticut passed An Act Regulating the Speed of Motor Vehicles.


Courtyard at New-Gate Prison

New-Gate Prison Breakout – Today in History: May 18

On May 18, 1781, the largest mass breakout in the history of New-Gate Prison took place.


Connecticut Suffragists, 1919

Connecticut Suffragists 1919

Despite the fact that the women in this well-known photograph are unidentified, Connecticut was home to many important figures in women’s struggle for equal rights.


Detail from the front page of The Woman Voter's Bulletin, 1923

A Day for Women – Today in History: March 8

Women’s fight for the right to vote in the Constitution State may be dated to 1869, when the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association (CWSA) was organized.


Andover Lake: A Lesson in Social Change

While residents of Andover and other nearby towns enjoy the property’s 159 acres, Andover Lake played in challenging racial boundaries during the Civil Rights Era.


Governor Ribicoff

Abraham Ribicoff dies – Today in History: February 22

On February 22, 1998, the first Jewish governor in Connecticut’s history, Abraham Ribicoff, died.


Racial Change Map displaying the Non-White Population in 1970

How Real Estate Practices Influenced the Hartford Region’s Demographic Makeup

February 3, 2020 • Bloomfield, Everyday Life, Law, Hartford

Persistent segregation is the historic legacy of steering and blockbusting, two discriminatory tactics that played a role in shaping suburban neighborhoods.


A Journal of Captain Cook’s Last Voyage to the Pacific Ocean by John Ledyard

First General Copyright Law – Today in History: January 29

In 1783, Connecticut became the first state to pass a general colonial copyright law, entitled “An Act for the Encouragement of Literature and Genius.”


Manumission document for slave Bristow, from Thomas Hart Hooker, Hartford

Gradual Emancipation Reflected the Struggle of Some to Envision Black Freedom

Connecticut enacted gradual emancipation in 1784 but the abolition of slavery would not occur until 1848.


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


Amos Doolittle, The looking glass for 1787. A house divided against itself cannot stand

The Connecticut Ratification Convention

Though approved at a renegade convention on September 17, 1787, the US Constitution did not become “the supreme law of the land” until 9 of the 13 states ratified the document.


Illustrations showing each farmer's branding earmarks

Branding Law Enacted – Today in History: February 5

In 1644, Connecticut enacted the first branding law in the colonies, calling for all livestock owners to ear-mark or brand their cattle, sheep, and swine.


An Orderly & Decent Government: Making Self-Government Work, 1776-1818

The freedom won in the American Revolution did not spread to African Americans. The Constitution of 1818 formed the basis for state government until 1965.


Advertising label for Fine Old Bourbon Whiskey, 1855

Video: No Booze for You – Who Knew?

During Prohibition, many Connecticut residents found it easy to obtain alcohol illegally, though violations of Prohibition led to an increase in violent crime.


Map of school busing and integration in the greater Hartford area, 1966

Sheff v. O’Neill Settlements Target Educational Segregation In Hartford

April 27, 2016 • Education, Law, Hartford, Social Movements

This landmark case not only drew attention to inequalities in area school systems, it focused efforts on reform.


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

100 Years of Workers’ Compensation

April 18, 2015 • Business and Industry, Law, Work

Early attempts to enact industrial accident protections for workers were ruled unconstitutional by US courts, but a New York tragedy paved the way to successful legislation in Connecticut and elsewhere.


Am I not a man and a brother?

Early Anti-slavery Advocates in 18th-century Connecticut

Ideals advanced during the American Revolution inspired many of the state’s religious and political leaders to question and oppose slavery in the late 1700s.


Free Speech for Some – Who Knew?

October 4, 2014 • Hide Featured Image, Law, Work

In 1939, 150 years after the original passage, Connecticut finally ratified the US Bill of Rights, guaranteeing workers the right to free speech.


Somers' prison opening day

Osborn Correctional Institution

April 27, 2014 • Crime and Punishment, Law, Somers

When the Connecticut Correctional Institution opened in Somers in 1963, it represented yet another chapter in the state’s history of housing those convicted of crimes.


HOLC Residential Security Map of Hartford Area 1937

The Effects of “Redlining” on the Hartford Metropolitan Region

March 18, 2014 • Business and Industry, Law, Hartford

Historical data reveals long-term patterns of inequality that can be traced back to now-illegal practices adopted by federal and private lenders in the 1930s.


Video – Connecticut’s Cultural Treasures: Prudence Crandall Museum

Connecticut’s Cultural Treasures is a series of 50 five-minute film vignettes that profiles a variety of the state’s most notable cultural resources.


Dedication of the New State Capitol, 1876

New State Capitol 1878

By the 1870s, the State’s practice of having dual capitols in Hartford and New Haven was considered awkward and ineffective.


Video – Connecticut’s Cultural Treasures: Litchfield Historical Society

Connecticut’s Cultural Treasures is a series of 50 five-minute film vignettes that profiles a variety of the state’s most notable cultural resources.


Women Protestors of the Day March for the Vote

Looking Back: How the Vote Was Won

Today it is the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (The Kate) but it began as the Old Saybrook Musical and Dramatic Club.


More Articles


Sign Up For Email Updates

Oops! We could not locate your form.