News & Updates

The U.S. frigate United States capturing H.B.M frigate Macedonian

Site Lines: The Mysterious Blue Lights

During the War of 1812, warning signals in the form of two blue lights prevented US ships from slipping past the British blockade of New London’s harbor. This left officials and the public to wonder: who was lighting these “torches of treason,” and why?

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Ernest Borgnine: Breaking the Hollywood Mold

Ernest Borgnine, a native of Hamden who served ten years in navy, became one of the world’s most recognized and revered actors.

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Artist’s rendering of the Connecticut Yankee Power Company Plant

Connecticut Yankee and Millstone: 48 Years of Nuclear Power

In 1968 the prospect of nuclear power energized those hoping to find an alternative to coal, oil, and other fossil fuels.

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Mamie Eisenhower launches the USS Nautilus

The Launch of the USS Nautilus – Today in History: January 21

On January 21, 1954, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower launched the…

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The New Haven Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 1979

New Haven Coliseum Imploded – Today in History: January 20

On January 20, 2007, the 35-year-old New Haven Veterans Memorial…

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

Anna Louise James Makes History with Medicine

Anna Louise James was born on January 19, 1886, in…

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Martin Luther King

Dr. King’s Dream Had Roots in Connecticut

In the summer of 1944 a young Martin Luther King…

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Dr. Emma Irene Boardman

Dr. E. Irene Boardman Never Stopped Serving the Public

Emma Irene Boardman was born January 17, 1889, in Great…

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South view of the Hempstead House, New London

The Joshua Hempsted Diary: A Window into Colonial Connecticut

January 16, 2021 • Everyday Life, New London

This accomplished New London resident chronicled his daily life over a 47-year period from 1711 to 1758.

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Placard commemorating the adoption of the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

The Fundamental Orders: Connecticut’s Role in Early Constitutional Government

Embracing the ideals supported by Hartford founder the Rev. Thomas Hooker, the Fundamental Orders represent what many consider to be the first written constitution in the Western world.

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Sam Colt

Sam Colt’s Funeral: The Day Hartford Stopped

The funeral of America’s first great munitions maker was spectacular—certainly the most spectacular ever seen in the state’s capital city.

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“Appalling Calamity”: Loss of the Steamboat Lexington – Today in History: January 13, 1840

On January 13, 1840, over 150 people perished on Long Island Sound when the steamboat Lexington caught fire. Only four survived the “Appalling Calamity,” as newspapers across the country described it.

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Portrait of James Williams from his biography

James Williams, More than Trinity College’s Janitor

James Williams was an escaped slave who became a janitor at Trinity College from the institution’s founding in 1823 until his death in 1878.

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Apostle of Peace: Elihu Burritt’s Quest for Universal Brotherhood

Elihu Burritt, a blacksmith by trade, became an advocate for peace around the world throughout the 19th century.

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Airmen returning home, Bradley Field, Windsor Locks

Bradley Airport’s Military Origins

In 1941, with war raging on the European continent, the…

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Thomas Jefferson and the Embargo of 1807

Connecticut and the Embargo Act of 1807

The Embargo Act of 1807 stifled Connecticut trade with Europe, but ultimately boosted local manufacturing.

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Governor Ella Grasso

The Education of Ella Grasso

The daughter of Italian immigrants becomes Connecticut’s first woman governor.

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Map of the West Indies, 1717

Connecticut and the West Indies: Sugar Spurs Trans-Atlantic Trade

This profitable exchange brought wealth and sought-after goods to the state but came at the price of supporting slavery in the bargain.

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Starr Mill

Buckling Up For Auto Safety

Controversy over seat belt laws has long been a part of their evolutionary history.

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Drawing from Remarkable Apparitions, and Ghost-Stories, 1849

The Ghost Ship of New Haven Sets Sail Shrouded in Mystery

Tales of a spectral ship seen sailing in the skies above New Haven have haunted Connecticut’s imagination since the late 1640s.

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Ellis Ruley: Art that Celebrated Life

January 5, 2021 • Arts, Norwich, Slavery and Abolition

Ellis Ruley, the son of a slave who escaped to Norwich, rose to prominence as an artist, but prosperity and racial tensions created resentment among members of the local population.

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Lounsbury Elected Governor – Today in History: January 4

On January 4th 1899, George Edward Lounsbury was elected the…

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Maria Sanchez and Alejandro La Luz, Puerto Rican spokesmen, Hartford

Maria Sánchez, State Representative and Community Advocate

The first Latina elected to the Connecticut General Assembly started as a grassroots activist for Hartford’s Puerto Rican community.

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Hat-factory With Hose-house On The Hill, Danbury

Rivers of Outrage

Pollution of Connecticut’s waters by industrial waste and sewage in the decades after the Civil War was arguably the state’s first modern environmental crisis.

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Connecticut Turnpike Opens – Today in History: January 2

On January 2, 1958, Governor Abraham Ribicoff officially opened the Connecticut Turnpike—today the Governor John Davis Lodge Turnpike—to traffic.

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The Great Remedy. Hand-colored lithograph by E.B. & E.C. Kellogg

The Great Remedy: Picturing the Emancipation Proclamation

On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, declaring more than three million African Americans in those states in rebellion against the United States to be forever free.

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Illumination of Old State House, Hartford, December 31, 1900

A Turn-of-the-Century New Year’s Eve

December 31, 2020 • Everyday Life, Hartford, New Britain, Windham

Hailed as the “Century Celebration,” the evening of December 31,…

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Soldiers with cannons, 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery

The Complicated Realities of Connecticut and the Civil War

Citizens’ dedication on the battlefield and home front did not always signal agreement on key issues of the day.

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Guy Hedlund playing Guy Frances in Fortune's Pet

Portland’s Guy Hedlund: Actor and Activist

December 29, 2020 • Popular Culture, Portland, World War II

Guy Hedlund was a Connecticut native made famous through his…

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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.

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There’s No Place Like Home for the Designer of Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers – Who Knew?

December 27, 2020 • Arts, Naugatuck, Popular Culture, Who Knew?

Connecticut-born Adrian, the American clothing designer who found success in Hollywood, designed Dorothy’s ruby slippers for The Wizard of Oz.

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A Godmother to Ravensbrück Survivors

Philanthropist Caroline Ferriday aided women whose internment at a German concentration camp during WWII left them scarred, physically as well as psychologically.

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Wagonload of Christmas trees, Hartford

O Christmas Tree!

December 25, 2020 • Belief, Everyday Life, Hartford, Popular Culture

On Thursday morning, December 25, 1890, The Hartford Courant reported…

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A worker on the final assembly of a WASP engine

Pratt & Whitney Debuts Wasp Engine – Today in History: December 24

On December 24, 1925, aviation engineer and head of the…

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Detail of the South Part of New London Co.

The Rogerenes Leave Their Mark on Connecticut Society

December 23, 2020 • Belief, Everyday Life, Ledyard, Waterford

A refusal to compromise became the governing principle of this religious group active in the New London area for some 200 years.

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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…

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Spillway and bridge near Saville Dam, Barkhamsted

Barkhamsted Reservoir Construction Washes Away a Community

The Barkhamsted Reservoir is the primary water supply for the…

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An example of two different Kewpie dolls

The Kewpies Buy A House in Westport

The Kewpies originally appeared as a comic strip in the Christmas issue of the 1909 Ladies Home Journal.

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Girl’s Stays

Little Nutmeggers: Four Centuries of Children’s Clothes and Games

December 19, 2020 • Everyday Life

Modes of dress and means of play for youngsters reflect more than changing tastes; they reveal shifts in societal attitudes toward the pre-adult years.

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The Austin House

Hartford’s “Façade House”: The Unique Home of Chick Austin

December 18, 2020 • Architecture, Arts, Hartford

A. Everett “Chick” Austin Jr. and his wife, Helen, designed one of the most unique homes of the 20th century in Hartford.

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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.

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Monumental Bronze Company

The Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport was the only producer of a unique type of grave marker in the United States between 1874 and 1914.

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State Street and Old Ferry Landing, New London

New London’s Ferries: A Transportation Tradition

December 16, 2020 • Groton, New London, Transportation

For more than three centuries, ferry service has provided vital transportation to residents and businesses around New London.

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The Hartford Convention or Leap no leap

The Hartford Convention or Leap no Leap

December 15, 2020 • Arts, Politics and Government, War of 1812

A political cartoon lampoons radical members of New England’s Federalist party by poking fun at their motivations for gathering in Hartford to end the War of 1812.

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Benjamin Silliman

First Recorded Fall of Meteorites in the United States – Today in History: December 14

December 14, 2020 • Science, Weston

At the break of dawn on December 14, 1807, a…

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German American Bund parade

Southbury Takes On the Nazis

In the late 1930s, in an attempt to avoid a…

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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.

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Leroy Anderson at home in the 1950s

Leroy Anderson Composed Iconic Music in Woodbury

Leroy Anderson, a long-time resident of Woodbury, was one of…

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Poem relating the Beadle murders

The Beadle Family Murders – Today in History: December 11

December 11, 2020 • Crime and Punishment, Wethersfield

Following the Boston Tea Party, the British Parliament passed a…

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Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Company

Bevin Brothers Helps Transform East Hampton into Belltown, USA

The town of East Hampton is informally known as “Belltown,…

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