News & Updates

The Bryan-Andrew House, Orange

The Bryan-Andrew House: Still Standing After All These Years

Believed to be the oldest house in Orange, the Bryan-Andrew…

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Map of changing Connecticut's boundary lines

Surveying Connecticut’s Borders

After some 350 years, the matter of where exactly some of the state’s boundaries lie continues to be debated.

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Hospital Rock, Farmington

Farmington’s Hospital Rock Dates Back to 18th-Century Smallpox Inoculation

Deep within the woods of Rattlesnake Mountain in Farmington are…

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Sophie Tucker - World-Telegram photo by Dick DeMarsico

Sophie Tucker, The Last of the Red-Hot Mamas

Hartford’s own leading lady was a lively entertainer whose career spanned over five decades and whose generosity spilled over to various and numerous charities.

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The Webb Mansion, Wethersfield

Washington Didn’t Only Sleep Here: George Washington at Wethersfield’s Webb House

The first time this founding father traveled through Connecticut, he was an ambitious Virginia colonel hoping to advance his career in the British military. When he last visited Connecticut, he was the first president of the new United States.

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The Gilbert clock model is on the right

Papier-Mache Clocks – Who Knew?

…that the William L. Gilbert Clock Corporation of Winsted was…

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Walnut Grove, Hammond Estate, Waterford

“Gentleman’s Farming” Comes to Waterford

Walnut Grove is the former estate of the Hammond family,…

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1893-94 Duryea

Frank Duryea Drives the First Automobile in Connecticut

Frank Duryea was a long-time Madison resident who helped develop…

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The Middlesex Quarry, Portland

Portland Puts Its Stamp on an Architectural Era

The brownstone quarries in Portland, Connecticut, owe their existence to…

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John Howard Hale: Glastonbury’s Peach King

May 12, 2022 • Agriculture, Glastonbury, Seymour, Work

John Howard Hale came from a family of fruit growers in Glastonbury and developed a new type of peach that flourished in the harsh New England climate.

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Hervey Brooks's pottery wheel

Hervey Brooks’s 19th-Century Pottery Barn

Hervey Brooks was an American potter and farmer who made red earthenware domestic products in Goshen for more than half a century.

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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.

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John Brown: A Portrait of Violent Abolitionism

John Brown of Torrington used violence to oppose the spread of slavery prior to the Civil War, ultimately leading a bloody raid on the armory in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.

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Original brass stencil used for decorating Hitchcock chairs

The “Fancy Chair” Craze of the 1800s: Lambert Hitchcock and the Story of the Hitchcock Chair

More than something to sit on, “fancy chairs” were emblems of social mobility for middle-class Americans.

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Edwin Land Inventor of the Polaroid Born – Today in History: May 7

On May 7, 1909, Edwin Herbert Land, founder of the…

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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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Louis’ Lunch eatery at its original location on George Street

Louis’ Lunch and the Birth of the Hamburger

In 1900, in answer to a customer’s rush order for something “quick and delicious,” Louis Lassen of New Haven served up a meal that is credited as being the first hamburger.

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English barn, Ashford

Barn Design in Connecticut

Most barns still on the Northeast landscape are New England-style barns from the 19th century and later.

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Portrait of an older man wearing a black suit and a white clerical collar. He is also wearing glasses and has a white handkerchief in his breast pocket

Canon Clinton Jones: A Revolutionary Figure in Connecticut’s LGBTQ+ History

Canon Clinton Jones was a central figure in Connecticut’s LGBTQ+ community and a pioneer for compassionate care, queer visibility, and gender affirmation in the mid-20th century.

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Hoffman Wall Paper Company in Hartford

Tradition and Transformation Define Hartford’s Jewish Community

May 2, 2022 • Belief, Immigration, Hartford

From the mid-1800s to the present, Jews have called Connecticut’s capital city home and enriched it with their cultural traditions and civic spirit.

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Chinese Educational Mission: the college, Hartford

Yung Wing, the Chinese Educational Mission, and Transnational Connecticut

In their respective tragic but inspiring final American acts, Yung and the Mission reflect the worst and best of the Chinese Exclusion Act era.

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photo of Dave Brubeck, jazz musician

“Take Five” with Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck was one of the leading jazz pianists and composers of the 1950s and 60s and made his home in Wilton.

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Drawing of a man's profile turned to the left. He has a long beard and is wearing glasses.

Arbor Day’s Roots in Connecticut – Who Knew?

…that Connecticut’s Reverend Birdsey Grant Northrop popularized Arbor Day celebrations…

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The Collins Company Dry Grinding Department, Collinsville

World-renowned Maker of Axes: The Collins Company of Canton

The New England factory town of Collinsville, which can still be toured today, once supplied the world with axes, machetes, and other edge tools.

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Jared Eliot

Jared Eliot Calls on Colonists to Change their Agricultural Practices

In 1760, this Killingworth minister and farmer published the first agricultural advice book in the British American colonies.

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Woman sitting in a small boat on a body of water with a fishing pole in her hand.

Edith Watson: Camera Artist

Over the five decades Edith Watson traveled around North America, her keen eye and box camera lens captured the otherwise untold stories of women, providing a unique perspective on the humblest of lives.

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Detail from Map of Windham County, Connecticut

The Pike Family Lived a Life of Dyeing

The history of textile manufacturing in eastern Connecticut is well…

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Frances Laughlin Wadsworth: Sculpting the Past

April 24, 2022 • Thomas Hooker, Arts, Hartford, Women

Her statues honor the famous, from Thomas Hooker and Helen Keller to Alice Cogswell, the first pupil of what became The American School for the Deaf.

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Public library, Southington

A History of Libraries Speaks Volumes About Southington

While it is not uncommon in the modern era for…

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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.

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University of Connecticut, Commencement

UConn and the Evolution of a Public University

April 21, 2022 • Education, Everyday Life, Mansfield

From farming and war work to physics and sports, the University of Connecticut has diversified over the years and become New England’s leading public university.

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Connecticut Shore, Winter by John Henry Twachtman

Connecticut and American Impressionism

French Impressionists celebrated their new modern lives, but American Impressionists looked instead to a New England countryside like that in Connecticut for evidence of a stable, timeless order beneath the dazzle of the ephemeral.

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Shaker women and buildings, Enfield, 1890s

Shakers Revolutionize Garden Seed Business – Who Knew?

…that the Shakers of Enfield first packaged seeds in small…

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Vivien Kellems Takes On the IRS

Reformer Vivien Kellems fought her most famous battle against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as she sought tax reform for businesses and single people.

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Marian Anderson with (on left) Governor Chester Bowles and W.C. Handy

Marian Anderson’s Role in the Civil Rights Movement

She performed in concert halls where blacks could not be seated, traveled to performances in segregated Jim Crow railroad cars, and, despite it, emerged as one of the great singers of the 20th century.

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Aldrich Free Public Library, Plainfield

Aldrich Free Public Library: Dedicated to the Dissemination of Knowledge

Over 100 years ago, residents of the Moosup section of…

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Soldier, Patriot, and Politician: The Life of Oliver Wolcott

Oliver Wolcott served in military in the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution, but was also a popular member of the Continental Congress and governor of Connecticut.

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Deep River, 1934 aerial survey

Road Signs of the Air

In the 1920s, when aviation was still in its infancy, most pilots navigated using road maps and by following highways, rivers, and other landmarks that they could see from the air.

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Charles H. Dow

Humble Beginnings of the Dow Jones: How a Sterling Farmer Became the Toast of Wall Street

The life of Charles Dow, in many respects, follows the…

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Black and white photo of a large brick and wood house. The house is asymmetrical and has many gables. There are large trees surrounding the house.

George Griffin: “Devoted Friend” to Samuel Clemens

Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and used his “good-natured” and “devoted” servant, George Griffin, as a likely model for one of literature’s most memorable figures—Jim, the runaway enslaved man.

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Governor Ribicoff

Abraham Ribicoff: Kennedy Confidant and Connecticut’s First Jewish Governor

Abraham Ribicoff rose from a New Britain tenement to become Connecticut’s first Jewish governor and a confidant of President John F. Kennedy.

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Keney Park Meadow, ca. early 1900s

The Park Movement in Hartford

The Hartford City Parks Collection comprises a rich archive, documenting Hartford’s pioneering effort to establish and maintain a viable system of municipal parks and connecting parkways between them.

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Shad Hat

Mad about Shad: Connecticut’s Love Affair with an Oily Fish

Some Connecticut River towns continue to hold an annual shad festival, replete with a “Shad Queen” and a feast known as a “shad planking.”

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Mounds Candy Bar Involved in Espionage – Who Knew?

…that a storied Naugatuck business had its own “navy” and…

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A man hitting a pitched baseball. Two men stand behind the hitter, the catcher and the umpire.

Muzzy Field: A Historic Ball Park Survives in a Post-Industrial City

April 7, 2022 • Bristol, Sports and Recreation

After over one hundred years, Bristol’s Muzzy Field continues to welcome ball players and fans of sports history.

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Self portrait Samuel Waldo Lovett

Samuel Waldo Born – Today in History: April 6

Samuel Lovett Waldo was an early 19th-century portrait artist who worked among such famous colleagues as John Trumbull, Benjamin West, and John Singleton Copley.

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J.O. Davidson, Battle of Port Hudson

Connecticut’s Naval Contributions to the Civil War

From makers of gun boats to bakers of ship biscuits, companies across the Nutmeg state helped keep the Union navy afloat while sea-savvy leaders and sailors from the state kept it in fighting form.

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Eleanor: The Maltese Port painting by Vincenzo D'Esposito

The Slaters Go Round the World

In 1894, a well-to-do Norwich family set sail from New London on a ship outfitted with Persian rugs, oil paintings, a library with hundreds of titles, and 75 cases of champagne.

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Lebanon Grange Hall

The Lebanon Grange Followed a Different Tune than National Movement

April 3, 2022 • Agriculture, Arts, Everyday Life, Lebanon

Music played a central role in fraternal rituals and sense of community.

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Picture of a man sitting in front of a large illustration of a monster. The man is wearing a dark sweater and has his right arm propped up.

Where the Wild Things Are: Maurice Sendak

Authoring and illustrating dozens of books, such as ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ and ‘In the Night Kitchen,’ Maurice Sendak redefined children’s literature throughout the 20th century.

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