News & Updates

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.

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Image of Soldiers Memorial, Company B, 29th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers

Connecticut’s Black Civil War Regiment

“If you win freedom and citizenship, we shall share your freedom and citizenship.” With these words, abolitionist Frederick Douglass reminded African American soldiers from Connecticut that they fought for the hopes of many.

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Segregation Picket line-Noah Webster School, Hartford

Black History Resources

February 1, 2023 • Everyday Life, Social Movements, Women

Dr. Carter G. Woodson, known as the “Father of Black…

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Rocky shore in front of a white lighthouse and several white buildings.

New London Harbor Lighthouse: Connecticut’s First Official Lighthouse

New London Harbor Lighthouse, originally opened in 1761 and rebuilt in 1801, is Connecticut’s oldest surviving and tallest lighthouse.

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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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Yale Daily News

Oldest College Daily – Today in History: January 28

On January 28, 1878, the first edition of the Yale…

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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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Phoenix Life Insurance Building, Hartford

The Phoenix Building, Hartford

January 26, 2023 • Architecture, Hartford

The Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Building, also known locally as…

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Oakwood Acres temporary housing

The Debate Over Who Could Occupy World War II Public Housing in West Hartford

In the 1940s, African American war workers eligible for government-funded housing found access restricted to some properties despite vacancies.

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Total eclipse of the sun, Willimantic vicinity, January 24, 1925

A Total Eclipse of the Sun – Today in History: January 24

On January 24, 1925, Connecticut residents witnessed a full solar…

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Music Vale Seminary, Salem

Music Vale Seminary in Salem Credited as Being First in US

In the mid-19th century, Orramel Whittlesey founded a music conservatory…

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The Van Vleck Observatory: A Reflection of Environmental Conditions

January 20, 2023 • Architecture, Environment, Middletown, Science

Designers of the Van Vleck Observatory overcame numerous environmental and geographical challenges to help Wesleyan University make an impact on the world’s understanding of the universe.

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Senator Hiram Bingham of Connecticut

From the State Historian: Discovering the Explorer Hiram Bingham III

Of all the Connecticans who have left their mark in distant places, perhaps none made a more lasting—or more controversial—impression than this explorer.

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Civic Center Collapse

Civic Center Roof Collapses – Today in History: January 18

On January 18, 1978, at about 4:20 in the morning,…

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Boot Blacks and the Struggle to Survive in Hartford

January 17, 2023 • Everyday Life, Hartford, Work

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, young boys who shined shoes (sometimes 70 hours per week) were the primary breadwinners for many struggling families.

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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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The Fundamental Orders

The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

The Fundamental Orders, inspired by Thomas Hooker’s sermon of May…

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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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Detail of number 15 the Derby Silver Company from the birds-eye map Birmingham, Conn

The Derby Silver Company

January 12, 2023 • Business and Industry, Shelton

The Derby Silver Company was founded in 1872 and began…

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Timothy Dwight

Timothy Dwight Dies – Today in History: January 11

On January 11, 1817, Timothy Dwight (theologian, educator, poet, and…

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Man sitting on a donkey in front of a fence

Yukitaka Osaki and Gillette Castle: One of Hadlyme’s First Japanese Immigrants

For over four decades, Japanese-born Yukitaka Osaki worked for Gillette, becoming a recognizable neighbor in the Hadlyme community.

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Connecticut Ratifies US Constitution – Today in History: January 9

On January 9, 1788, Connecticut became the fifth state to…

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Elm Arcade, Temple Street, New Haven

A Beautiful and Goodly Tree: The Rise and Fall of the American Elm

Almost every Connecticut town of any size has an Elm Street, named for the popular trees that grew in abundance until a fungal infestation greatly diminished their numbers.

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Portrait of a man dressed in 18th century clothing. He is wearing a black suit with a white neckcloth

Samuel Huntington, the first President of the United States, dies – Today in History: January 5

Samuel Huntington not only served as Connecticut’s governor and as a member of the Continental Congress, but, some would argue, he was the first President of the United States.

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Mayor's Council Armenian Group, Hartford, 1920

Building an Armenian Community in New Britain

Since the late 19th century, Armenian immigrants and descendants have created a community and shaped New Britain history.

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Writing-arm chair attributed to Ebenezer Tracy

Ebenezer Tracy Made Some of the Finest 18th-Century Furniture

Ebenezer Tracy was a carpenter from Lisbon, Connecticut, who specialized…

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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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Creative License, or Fundamental Fact?

Investigating Connecticut’s claim to be “The Constitution State.”

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

A Turn-of-the-Century New Year’s Eve

December 31, 2022 • Everyday Life, Hartford, New Britain, Windham

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

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Advertisement for Isaac Doolittle's bell foundry

Early Church Bell Founders

Church bells served many important functions in early New England. Consequently, skilled bellfounders in Connecticut found themselves in high demand.

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Original waterwheels, Waterbury Brass Company

Birth of the Brass Valley

December 29, 2022 • Business and Industry, Waterbury

The brass industry in Waterbury began in the mid-18th century…

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Workers on the Charter farm on Crystal Lake Road, Ellington

William Pinney Does It All for Ellington

William N. Pinney’s life was one of public service. A…

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City of Hartford, Connecticut

Bird’s-eye Views Offer Idealized Portraits of Progress

Panoramic prints of growing cities and towns became popular in the late 1800s as Connecticut transformed from an agricultural to an industrial state.

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MT. Higby Reservoir

Middletown’s Reservoirs Drive Growth Throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries

The Laurel Brook and Mount Higby Reservoirs helped provide reliable sources of water that drove the growth of Middletown.

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US Post Office, 1946, Bethlehem

Connecticut’s Christmas Town

Nestled in a quiet section of Litchfield County lies the picturesque town of Bethlehem, known best for its designation as “Connecticut’s Christmas Town.”

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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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Late 19th century Christmas postcards

Sending Season’s Greetings: Christmas Cards in Connecticut

For nearly a decade, this little Connecticut town was renowned as the Christmas-card center of the world.

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Girl’s Stays

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

December 19, 2022 • 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 16, 2022 • 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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The Old State House, Hartford

The Hartford Convention – Today in History: December 15

On December 15, 1814, delegates to the Hartford Convention met…

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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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Image of an advertisement with a red train coming through a mountain and a boy in white clothing waving. There is a body of water next to the train with two boats. The tagline reads "Ives Toys Make Happy Boys." Catalog 1925

The Ives Manufacturing Company: Connecticut’s Foremost Toy Maker

The Ives Manufacturing Company—arguably Connecticut’s most famous toy company—became known for its variety of clockwork toys and trains.

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Illustration of the Connecticut Charter boundary, 1662

From the State Historian: The Map That Wasn’t a Map

The Charter of 1662 described Connecticut boundaries that extended all the way to the the Pacific Ocean!

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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.

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Waste Not, Want Not: The Colonial Era Midden

From tools, dishes, and clothing to muskrat bones, household trash from 1700s reveals how Yankees of the era lived.

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Benjamin Silliman

Benjamin Silliman and the Collection That Inspired the Yale Peabody Museum

In early July of 1779, a pregnant Mary Silliman watched…

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Black and white drawing of a man from the waist up. He is wearing a collared jacked with a neck covering

Lemuel Haynes: America’s First Black Ordained Minister

Lemuel Haynes was a father, husband, pastor, and patriot—he is widely considered to be the first Black man in America to be ordained by a Protestant church.

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Map of the 1761 transit of Venus

Transit of Venus: German Scientists Visit Hartford

December 6, 2022 • Hartford, Science

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the transit was an important opportunity for scientists to calculate the distance between the earth and the sun—the basis for the astronomical unit.

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Little Sorrel

Little Sorrel, Connecticut’s Confederate War Horse

A foal born on a farm owned by Noah C….

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East Thompson train wreck, December 4, 1891

The Day Four Trains Collided in East Thompson

December 4, 2022 • Disaster, Thompson, Transportation

Thompson, Connecticut, was the site of one of the most…

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