News & Updates

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

April 3, 2023 • Civil War, War and Defense

On the morning of April 3, 1865, the 29th (Colored)…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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,…


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.


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.


Clare Boothe Luce Changed Perceptions about Women in Business and Politics

Clare Boothe Luce became the first woman to represent Connecticut in the US House of Representatives and later became an ambassador to Italy.


Artwork of a ship close to shore with people in rowboats. There is a large flag protruding from the mast of the ship. There is text at the bottom of the image.

Connecticut’s French Connections

From Huguenots to French Canadian mill workers to modern immigration, Connecticut has always been a place shaped, in part, by a steady French influence.


Page from a book with colorful illustrations of animals in a human town situation

The Road to Busytown: Richard Scarry’s Life in Fairfield County

Inspired by Connecticut communities, Richard Scarry invented and illustrated some of the most beloved characters and communities in children’s literature.


The Trailblazing Bessye Bennett

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


Ella Grasso at the Danbury Fair, ca. 1975-80

America’s First Woman Governor: Ella Grasso, 1919-1981

Born to Italian immigrant parents in Windsor Locks, Grasso held state and federal offices at a time when women politicians were rare.


Fields and pastures, Sharon

Turnpikes and Transportation in Sharon

March 7, 2023 • Sharon, Transportation

The town of Sharon, like many early communities in the…


Food Needed to Win the War Comes from Washington

During World War I, the Town of Washington instituted a number of programs to increase food production and preservation to feed Allied armies and the European people,


Large ornate building

Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Captures the Gilded Age in Norwalk

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion provides a glimpse into the opulence of the Gilded Age when railroad tycoons built summer homes along the New England shoreline.


Lyman Allyn Art Museum

The Lyman Allyn Opens – Today in History: March 2

On March 2, 1932, the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, founded by Harriet Upson Allyn in New London, had its grand opening.


Gwen Reed, circa 1950's

Actress Gwen Reed Best Remembered for Dedication to Childhood Literacy

Gwen Reed was an actress and educational advocate who grew up in Hartford in the early 20th century.


William Gillette’s Last Performance – Today in History: February 27

On February 27, 1936, William Gillette made his last appearance…


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 Socially Dynamic Drumlin of Foss Hill

February 23, 2023 • Education, Environment, Middletown

The changing nature of Foss Hill (on the campus of Wesleyan University) tells the story of evolving cultural influences that altered the landscapes of universities across the country.


Black and white photograph of a group of men sitting or standing in front of a brick building

Southington Cutlery Company: From Silverware to Hardware

Initially known for table cutlery, the Southington Cutlery Company began operations in a two-story brick factory in downtown Southington in 1867.


The Sea in their Blood: The Portuguese in New London County

Many Portuguese immigrants came to the US as mariners serving aboard ships, some remained to build new lives and communities in Connecticut.


Picture of George W. Bush as a baby

Connecticut’s Only US President – Who Knew?

43rd President George W. Bush was born in New Haven at the Grace-New Haven Community Hospital on July 6, 1946.


Detail of Bethany area from Map of Connecticut, from actual survey by Moses Warren, 1811

Bethany: Small-town Perseverance in the Face of Growing Industrialization

February 17, 2023 • Beacon Falls, Bethany, Woodbridge

One contribution the town of Bethany makes to historical scholarship comes from a look at its evolution from a parish and agricultural settlement to a thriving residential community.


Discovering the Mysterious Identity of the “Kent Limner”

It took over a century to solve the mystery of Ammi Phillips’ identity—one of the most prolific folk portraitists in 19th century America.


James Lindsey Smith Takes the Underground Railroad to Connecticut

James Lindsey Smith was one of many slaves who found freedom through the Underground Railroad network that included many stops in Connecticut.


Detail of A Map of the Fortified Country of Man’s Heart

The Open and Fortified Country of the Human Heart: A Victorian Lady’s View of Love

A pair of 19th-century prints provides a virtual road map to the human heart, illustrating contemporary male and female attitudes towards courtship and love.


Cornwall Bridge Furnace, Cornwall

Two Cornwall Firms Part of Famed Salisbury Iron District

February 13, 2023 • Cornwall, Business and Industry, Salisbury

The serenity found in Cornwall’s wooded hillsides and remote location…


Patent drawing of an ironing board improvement

Sarah Boone: First Connecticut Black Woman to Receive Patent

In1892, Sarah Boone of New Haven became the first Black woman in Connecticut to be awarded a patent—for an improvement in the use of an ironing board.


Poster with a blue and red swirl

Alexander Calder and Making Art Political

In addition to his famous works of art, Alexander Calder lent his talents and reputation to support political campaigns in the 1960s and 70s.


Detail from the bird's-eye map Bristol, Conn. Looking North-East, 1889

Joel T. Case and the Victorianization of Bristol’s Federal Hill

February 8, 2023 • Bristol, Historic Preservation

The Victorian designs of inventor and architect Joel T. Case make substantial contributions to the landscape of the Federal Hill area in Bristol.


The Blizzard of 1978

Blizzard Halts Mail Delivery – Today in History: February 7

February 7, 2023 • Environment, Weather

On February 7, 1978, the US Postal Service was unable…


Charles Ethan Porter, Fruit: Apples, Grapes, Peaches, and Pears

Charles Ethan Porter, Portrait of a 19th-Century African American Painter

Charles Ethan Porter was a prolific still life painter in the 19th and early 20th century.


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.


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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