News & Updates

A Civil War Soldier Engineers an Iconic Career

Horatio Wright was a Connecticut native who served with distinction…

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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.

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Governor Trumbull becomes first governor in the nation to qualify for a pilot's license

John H. Trumbull: Connecticut’s “Flying Governor”

In 1926, at the age of 53, Connecticut governor John H. Trumbull received his pilot’s license. Piloting flights to his own appointments, he became known as “The Flying Governor.”

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Lyman Allyn Art Museum

The Lyman Allyn Opens – Today in History: March 2

On March 2, 1932, the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, in…

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The boiler that fed the machinery at the Fales & Gray Car Works in Hartford exploded

Today in History – Fales & Gray Explosion Underscores Need for a Hartford Hospital

At 2 pm on March 2, 1854, the power of…

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Olin Library and The Debate About Open Space at Wesleyan University

The history of Wesleyan’s library system includes a debate that reveals how values associated with the environment in the early 1900s helped shape the campus’s development.

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Rex Brasher, Tree Sparrow and Western Tree Sparrow

Rex Brasher Dies – Today in History: February 29

February 29, 2020 • Arts, Kent

On February 29, 1960, noted wildlife illustrator Rex Brasher died….

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Andover Lake: A Lesson in Social Change

Constructed in the early 20th century, Andover Lake is a…

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

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

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Bridgeport: The First Borough

February 26, 2020 • Bridgeport, Politics and Government

Bridgeport, by a special act of the General Assembly in October 1800,
became the first borough created in Connecticut

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Colt Revolver display case

The Revolving Gun – Today in History: February 25

On February 25, 1836, Samuel Colt received a patent for…

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Governor Ribicoff

Abraham Ribicoff dies – Today in History: February 22

On February 22, 1998, Abraham Ribicoff died. An American Democratic…

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Union Station during the Fire of February 21, 1914

Fire and Ice: A Very Bad Week in 1914

Hartford’s Union Station and Allyn Hall caught fire on two different days in February. Only one still stands today.

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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…

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Postcard of Charles Island, Milford, CT

A Good Spot and a Healthy Place: A Short History of Charles Island

Before becoming a part of Silver Sands State Park, Milford’s Charles Island served as everything from a luxury resort to the home of a fertilizer factory.

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Park Central Hotel disaster

Park Central Hotel Boiler Explosion – Today in History: February 18

In the pre-dawn hours of February 18, 1889, the Park Central Hotel in Hartford was ripped apart by a steam boiler explosion.

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Karen Mission Compound at Maulmain

Baptist Missionaries at Work in 19th-Century Burma

Justus Vinton was a missionary and humanitarian dedicated to spreading…

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A Successful Lawyer and Politician Who Never Went to College

Chauncey Fitch Cleveland was a lawyer and politician who served…

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Bronze Hall of Fame medal of Josiah Willard Gibbs

Josiah Willard Gibbs’s Impact on Modern Science

February 15, 2020 • New Haven, Science

New Haven’s Josiah Willard Gibbs laid the groundwork for the development of physical chemistry as a science, to the point that Albert Einstein called him “the greatest mind in American history.”

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Meriden town hall during renovation, 1890

Meriden Town Hall Burns Down – Today in History: February 14

February 14, 2020 • Disaster, Meriden

On February 14, 1904, Meriden’s town hall burned to the…

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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.

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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…

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Constitution Plaza Then and Now

Hailed as Hartford’s first major redevelopment project, Constitution Plaza was built as part of the urban renewal initiatives that swept the nation’s cities in the 1950s and ’60s.

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The Interstate Highway System Comes to Hartford

February 11, 2020 • Hartford, Transportation

By Richard C. Malley Beginning in the mid-1930s, state and…

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Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller dies – Today in History: February 10

February 10, 2020 • Literature, Roxbury

On February 10, 2005, the award-winning American playwright Arthur Asher…

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Mr. and Mrs. Charles Stratton

Charles Stratton and Lavinia Warren Wed – Today in History: February 10

He was rich, handsome and famous, she was considered a great beauty and their wedding was front page news around the nation.

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Illustration of Hebron by John Warner Barber

Changing Sentiments on Slavery in Colonial Hebron

Residents of Hebron rescued local slaves Lowis and Cesar Peters, and their children, from South Carolina slave traders. After emancipation, the rescued family became farmers in town.

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North and South: The Legacy of Eli Whitney

After studying to become a lawyer, Eli Whitney actually helped further American industrial production methods through his numerous clever inventions.

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

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

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

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Armory Fire

Colt Armory Burns – Today in History: February 4

On February 4, 1864, most of Colt’s East Armory burned…

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A 1947 Movie Details the Unsolved Murder of a Bridgeport Priest

An unusual murder of a Bridgeport, Connecticut, priest in 1924 inspired the movie, Boomerang!, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 1947.

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Racial Change Map displaying the Non-White Population in 1970

How Real Estate Practices Influenced the Hartford Region’s Demographic Makeup

February 3, 2020 • Bloomfield, Everyday Life, Law, Hartford

Persistent segregation is the historic legacy of steering and blockbusting, two discriminatory tactics that played a role in shaping suburban neighborhoods.

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February 2, 1902, a fire broke out at Reid & Hughes dry goods store in Waterbury

Six Cities Respond to 1902 Waterbury Fire – Who Knew?

…that the fire, which swept through Waterbury on a stormy…

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Portrait of James Mars

1850s Equal Rights Activist James Mars

James Mars was born into slavery in Connecticut in 1790….

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Hartford Times – Voices of Change

1960’s photographs from The Hartford Times offer a look back at a decade of protest that focused local and national attention on the civil rights of African Americans, the war in Vietnam, and the inequalities facing women.

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A Journal of Captain Cook’s Last Voyage to the Pacific Ocean by John Ledyard

First General Copyright Law – Today in History: January 29

On January 29, 1783, Connecticut became the first state to…

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The Boardman Building, New Haven

First Commercial Telephone Exchange – Today in History: January 28

On January 28, 1878, the Boardman Building in New Haven…

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HMS Resolution and Discovery in Tahiti

John Ledyard, Connecticut’s Most Famous Traveler

January 27, 2020 • Exploration and Discovery, Groton

This intrepid voyager, one of the most adventurous figures in Connecticut’s long history, would have made a great fictional character had he not been real.

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Original waterwheels, Waterbury Brass Company

Birth of the Brass Valley

January 25, 2020 • Business and Industry, Waterbury

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

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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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Total eclipse by Frederick E. Turner, Willimantic, January 24, 1925

The Astronomical Event of the Century

Church bells chimed and factory whistles blew and automobiles, trains, and trolleys throughout the state came to a standstill.

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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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John Fitch's steamboat model

John Fitch Born – Today in History: January 21

On January 21, 1743, John Fitch, an inventor and pioneer…

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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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Attributed to Osbert Burr Loomis, Nancy Toney, oil on canvas

Nancy Toney’s Lifetime in Slavery

From scant evidence, including a portrait, gravestone, census data, and will, a partial image of a Connecticut life lived in slavery emerges.

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View of the Hartford Civic Center roof, which collapsed on January 18, 1978

Almost a Tragedy: The Collapse of the Hartford Civic Center

In the early morning of January 18, the roof of the sports coliseum collapsed onto 10,000 empty stadium seats.

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Boot Blacks and the Struggle to Survive in Hartford

January 17, 2020 • 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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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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Phoenix Life Insurance Building, Hartford

The Phoenix Building, Hartford

January 15, 2020 • Architecture, Hartford

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

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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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