News & Updates

Detail of a map of Middletown, Connecticut

Middletown’s Beman Triangle: A Testament to Black Freedom and Resilience

One of the earliest and most politically active free Black neighborhoods in Connecticut emerged in Middletown in the late 1820s, the Beman Triangle.

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A man sitting at a piano and a woman standing, singing

Rosa Ponselle: Meriden’s Famous Musical Daughter

Rosa Ponselle etched her name in history as the first American-born and American-trained singer to star with the Metropolitan Opera Company.

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Drawing of a group of women gathered together sewing

Hebron’s Josephine Sophia (White) Griffing and a Vision for Post-Emancipation America

From before emancipation and the 13th Amendment, Josephine Sophie White Griffing of Hebron, Connecticut, was an ardent advocate for enslaved and free people.

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Print showing three men working in a printshop preparing a plate for the press and operating the press, circa 1642

Thomas Short – Connecticut’s First Official Printer

Thomas Short became the Connecticut Colony’s first official printer in 1708, printing the laws and proclamations for the colonial legislature as well as the colony’s first book.

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Engraving drawing of several buildings

John Warner Barber’s Engravings Chronicle Connecticut History

John Warner Barber chronicled 19th-century Connecticut history through his historical writing and hundreds of engravings—many of which still exist today.

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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..

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Two people standing next to a large printing press

Charlton Publications: Song Lyric Printing Business to Major Player in the Comic Book Industry

By the late 1950s, Charlton Publications was home to some of the most accomplished artists and writers in the comic book industry.

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Oil painting of numerous men gathered around a table listening to one man reading

Linonian and Brothers in Unity: The Societies that Built Yale University’s Library

Two undergraduate literary societies, Linonian and Brothers in Unity, donated their large book collections to Yale’s nascent library.

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Industrial scene where several men are working at a manufactured gas plant

Early Connecticut Gas Light Companies

The first private gas light companies in Connecticut appeared just before 1850 in New Haven, Hartford, and Bridgeport.

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Large building in the background across from a green lawn and walking path

Connecticut College for Women: The State’s First All-Female Institution of Higher Learning

At a time when most universities accepted only men, Connecticut College for Women provided a liberal arts education for women.

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Print of a factory

Illuminating Connecticut’s Past: The Bradley & Hubbard Legacy

Meriden’s Bradley & Hubbard Manufacturing Company was an industry-leading American manufacturer of kerosene lamps and metal household items.

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Print of a parade of a two-faced Benedict Arnold through the streets of Philadelphia

New London’s Tradition of Burning Benedict Arnold…in Effigy – Who Knew?

New London has a yearly tradition of burning an effigy of Benedict Arnold, the infamous Revolutionary War general turned traitor.

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Black and white photograph of a submarine draped in American flags on the water.

Electric Boat: From Innovation Trials to WWII Submarine Leadership

US submarines accounted for 63 percent of all Japanese ships sunk during WWII—Electric Boat’s vessels were responsible for a significant number of these successful outcomes.

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Section of a handwritten document

Black Loyalist Refugees: Toney Escapes During the Burning of Fairfield

The British burning of Fairfield during the Revolutionary War provided an opportunity for enslaved people to escape, including a man named Toney.

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Poster with a blue and red flag and several people underneath cheering

Army-Navy “E” Award Honors Connecticut for Support Against the Axis Powers

During WWII, the US military bestowed 175 Connecticut war plants with the Army-Navy “E” Award for outstanding production contributions to the army and navy.

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Fairground

A Fair to Remember in Brooklyn

Sponsored by the Windham County Agricultural Society, the Brooklyn Fair is held annually in August to promote and preserve the area’s agricultural heritage.

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A white sign in the foreground with a yellow house in the background

Miss Porter’s School in Farmington

Miss Porter’s School, founded in 1843 in Farmington, is an elite, female, privately funded, 40-acre, educational institution in central Connecticut.

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Photograph of a horse hitched to a wagon driven by a man with milk cans in the wagon.

Derby’s Osbornedale Farms, Frances Kellogg, and the Dairy Industry

A family legacy developed by Frances Kellogg, Derby’s Osbornedale Farms stands out for its impact on the Holstein-Friesian breed and contributions to the dairy industry.

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Newspaper headline that reads "Girl Flyer Gets License, Aviation Writer's Paper Gets Story By Hard Work"

“Girl Pilot”: Mary Goodrich Jenson Breaks Barriers in Aviation and Journalism

Blending her aviation and journalism careers, Wethersfield’s Mary Goodrich Jenson pushed the boundaries of both fields.

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A car with one person driving and a man with a camera standing on the back bumper and a woman kneeling on the roof with a camera.

Photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White: “No Picture Was Unimportant to Her”

Margaret Bourke-White photographed some of the 20th century’s most significant people and events, but spent her later years in Darien, Connecticut.

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Dark colored cornish hen standing in grass with leaves

Jacques and Therese Makowsky and the Development of the Cornish Game Hen

In 1950, the Makowskys crossed a white Cornish cock with a White Plymouth Rock hen to produce a small hybrid that they patented as the Rock Cornish Game Hen.

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Red onion surrounded by text

Oniontown: How Hard Work, Tall Tales, and Red Onions Built Wethersfield

Until the 19th century, the red onion trade supported Wethersfield as the first commercial town along the Connecticut River.

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Detail of a land point on a map labeled "Cornfield Point"

Cornfield Point: Old Saybrook’s Forgotten Scenic Alcove

Cornfield Point, a rocky scenic area bordering the Long Island Sound, is often overlooked but is significant in the state’s maritime and prohibition histories.

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Man sitting on a bench in front of a storefront

Jewish Farming Communities in Connecticut in the 19th and 20th Centuries

As Jewish immigration to Connecticut increased in the late 19th century, close-knit farming communities formed in Chesterfield and Colchester.

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Lithograph depicting two steamboats crashing into each other with people jumping over the sides into the water. There is text at the bottom.

Disaster on the Sound: The Collision of the Steamboats Stonington and Narragansett

The crash involving the S.S. Stonington and the S.S. Narragansett resulted in the death of dozens, massive destruction, and a media frenzy.

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Tan colored bonnet with a green ribbon attached

Sophia Woodhouse Welles: Wethersfield’s World-Famous Bonnet Maker

Wethersfield’s Sophia Woodhouse Welles made a name for herself as an inventor and a businesswoman in antebellum America with her bonnets.

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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.

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Two photos stitched together. Left photo is a three story house with an extension. Right photo is an Italianate Victorian building.

The Amos Bull House and Sterling Opera House: The First Connecticut Listings on the National Register of Historic Places – Who Knew?

The Amos Bull House in Hartford and the Sterling Opera House in Derby are tied for Connecticut’s first listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

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A photograph of a rowing shell with 8 rowers sitting at attention and one coxswain on the water

Derby Day on the Housatonic

A rowing event on Lake Housatonic, “Derby Day,” was so popular among Yale students that it drew upwards of thirty to fifty thousand spectators.

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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.

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Detail of a fire insurance map with outlined and labeled structures

Connecticut’s First Roman Catholic Church

Hartford’s Holy Trinity Church became the first Roman Catholic church in Connecticut in 1829 and served the community for over 20 years.

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Large room with many people sitting in rows facing a man speaking at a podium

Connecticut and the Armenian Genocide

The Armenian genocide during the early 20th century had a profound impact on Armenian communities and their descendants in Connecticut.

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Two picture books propped up against a shelf that has more books

Lillian Hoban: Beloved Illustrator of “I Can Read” Books

Lillian Hoban contributed her talents to nearly one hundred books, securing herself a place as one of the country’s best-loved authors and illustrators.

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Man sitting at a piano, turned away from the piano, facing the photographer. He is wearing a white shirt. There is a potted plant to his left and lots of music books on the piano

James Merrill: Connecticut’s First Poet Laureate

As one of the leading American poets of the 20th century and Connecticut’s first poet laureate, James Merrill lived in Stonington for four decades.

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Wooden sign in front of a tree reading "welcome to Banner Lodge"

Banner Lodge: A Vacation Playground for an Excluded Population

From the 1930s to the 1970s, Banner Lodge was one of the most popular vacation destinations in Connecticut and actively welcomed a Jewish clientele.

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The 29th First to Enter Confederate Capital When It Surrenders – Today in History: April 3

On the morning of April 3, 1865, the 29th (Colored) Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry awoke to find that the enemy had abandoned their positions in Richmond, Virginia.

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Fuller Brush building following collapse of tower

Fuller Brush Tower Collapses – Today in History: March 31

On March 31, 1923, a 56,000-gallon water tank dropped through 4 concrete floors of the Fuller Brush Company Tower.

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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.

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Several people in a tobacco barn

Polish Tobacco Farmers in the Connecticut River Valley

Many Polish immigrants found work on the tobacco farms in the Connecticut River Valley that specialized in the tobacco used for cigar wrappers.

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Best remembered for her short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” this Hartford author’s larger legacy is a life dedicated to women’s issues and social reform.

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Bursting of the Staffordville Reservoir

Bursting of the Staffordville Reservoir – Today in History: March 27

On March 27, 1877, the Staffordville Reservoir Company’s dam burst, flooding the valley for a distance of five miles and causing the loss of two lives.

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Southern New England Telephone Company Operator School

Connecticut’s First Female Telephone Operator – Today in History: March 24

On March 24, 1879, Marjorie Gray became Connecticut’s first female telephone operator.

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Portrait painting of a man from the chest up wearing a red shirt, light colored coat, a hat, and glasses

George Laurence Nelson: Artist of Kent’s Seven Hearths

In addition to his artistic pursuits, George Laurence Nelson lived in Kent, Connecticut, for over half a century and restored the historic Seven Hearths house.

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Lydia Sherman: The Derby Poisoner

Lydia Sherman confessed to killing three husbands and four children, but it is believed that the total number of her victims may be much higher.

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Connecticut Agricultural College coeds gathering maple sap for war effort

A New Source of Farm Labor Crops Up in Wartime

During times of war, in Connecticut, as in many other states, women became an increasingly important resource in food production.

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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.

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1956 St. Patrick’s Day parade

St. Patrick’s Day – Today in History: March 17

March 17, 2023 • New Haven, Popular Culture

On March 17, 1842, the New Haven Hibernian Provident Society, founded in 1841, sponsored the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade held in New Haven.

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Hartford Street Railway Company Electricians, ca. 1907. Electrifying the railroad created new jobs

A Revolution in Horse Power: The Hartford & Wethersfield Horse Railroad Goes Electric

In 1888, Hartford commuters and city-goers zipped down Wethersfield Avenue in a horseless trolley car for the first time.

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Photograph of a brown two story house with an attic and two chimneys. There is a white fence in front of the house

The Welcoming Warmth of Kent’s Seven Hearths

For over 272 years, Kent’s Seven Hearths has lived many lives—from trading post to school to artist’s home to historical society.

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