Now Viewing:

Emergence of Modern America


Triangle Shirtwaist Fire: Connecticut Lessons from a Tragedy

While the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in New York City is one of the most famous tragedies behind the organized labor movement, Connecticut had its share of equally dangerous work environments in the early 20th century. Many of them inspired Connecticut Workers to organize.

Read

A Woman Ahead of Her Time: Mabel Osgood Wright

This writer and photographer founded the Connecticut Audubon Society and created Fairfield’s Birdcraft Sanctuary.

Read

Anna Louise James seated, with a cat on her lap

Miss James, First Woman Pharmacist in CT Right in Old Saybrook

Remembering Anna Louise James, the first woman pharmacist in the state of Connecticut.

Read

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.”

Read

Lyman Allyn Art Museum

The Lyman Allyn Opens – Today in History: March 2

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

Read

Ruins of North College, Wesleyan University, Middletown

Fire at Wesleyan’s North College – Today in History: March 1

On March 1, 1906, North College at Wesleyan University in…

Read

Holmes at Home: The Life of William Gillette

William Gillette was an American actor, playwright, and stage director most famous for his stage portrayal of Sherlock Holmes and for the stone castle he built in East Haddam.

Read

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.

Read

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.

Read

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…

Read

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.

Read

The “Red Scare” in Connecticut

The Palmer Raids, launched in Connecticut in 1919, were part of the paranoia known as the “Red Scare” that resulted in numerous civil rights violations committed by law enforcement officials.

Read

Climax Fuse Company, 1899

Avon Industry: From Underground to Outerspace

The Climax Fuse Company manufactured safety fuse, a type of…

Read

Senator Brandegee Stonewalls Women’s Suffrage

Senator Frank Brandegee of New London vehemently opposed progressive legislation at the national level, particularly when it came to the issue of women’s suffrage.

Read

Bridgeport’s Catastrophic 1911 Train Wreck

In the early morning hours of July 11, 1911, a train derailed in Bridgeport, killing fourteen people. Among the first responders were members of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.

Read

Charles K. Hamilton

Hamilton Breaks Air Records – Today in History: June 13

On June 13, 1910, Charles Keeney Hamilton of New Britain…

Read

Frog Hollow: Hartford’s Living Landmark

Between 1975 and 2000, the Frog Hollow Puerto Rican population grew rapidly, building a “barrio” that defied traditional stereotypes sometimes ascribed to community diversification.

Read

School children placing flowers on the graves of World War I servicemen

Memorial Day 1920 Brings a Changing of the Guard

In 1920, veterans groups played an active role in orchestrating…

Read

Rediscovering Albert Afraid-of-Hawk

Albert Afraid-of-Hawk was born Cetan Kokipa on the Great Sioux…

Read

Setting Speed Limits – Today in History: May 21

On May 21, 1901, Connecticut passed An Act Regulating the…

Read

Hamilton Wrecks Aeroplane – Today in History: April 22

On April 22, 1911, aviation pioneer Charles Hamilton crashed his…

Read

An Orderly & Decent Government: Business and Government, 1905-1929

The early years of the 20th century were a time of vigorous political and social reform.

Read

An Orderly & Decent Government: A Clash of Cultures, 1888-1905

In the last decades of the 19th century, Connecticut was transformed by a massive flood of immigrants fleeing political and economic instability.

Read

An Orderly & Decent Government: Searching for the Common Good, 1905-1929

J. Henry Roraback dominated Connecticut like no political leader before him.

Read

An Orderly & Decent Government: Significant Events & Developments, 1905-1929

Early 20th century life in Connecticut was marked by the election of 1912, US entry into World War I, and the Great Depression.

Read

An Orderly & Decent Government: Making Self-Government Work, 1905-1929

With war’s end, suffrage advocates stepped up their campaign for equal rights.

Read

Type Writing Machine

The Portable Typewriting Machine – Today in History: April 12

On April 12, 1892, the first US patent for a…

Read

The wreck of Major Lufbery's machine, May 19, 1918

World War I Flying Ace Raoul Lufbery

Although his time as a Connecticut resident was short, this aviator left his mark on Wallingford and a generation fighter pilots.

Read

Fred. J. Hoertz, Your work means victory: Build another one

Freighter Worcester Launched – Today in History: April 5

On April 5, 1919, the steel-hulled freighter Worcester was launched…

Read

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.

Read

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…

Read

Williams Shaving Cream and Aqua Velva ad, ca. 1929

The Aqua Velva State – Today in History: November 17

On November 17, 1917, the J.B. Williams Company of Glastonbury…

Read

Separable Attachment Plug

First US Detachable Electric Plug – Today in History: November 8

On November 8, 1904, Harvey Hubbell II patented the first…

Read

State Tuberculosis Sanitarium, Norwich, Conn.

The White Plague: Progressive-Era Tuberculosis Treatments in Connecticut

Tuberculosis was a leading cause of death in the early 20th century. Treatments for included everything from exposure to extremes in temperature to regimens involving access to the outdoors.

Read

The Colt's Manufacturing Company float for the parade dedicating the Bulkeley Bridge, October 7th, 1908

Hartford’s Industrial Day – Today in History: October 7

Hartford celebrated the 1908 opening of the Bulkeley Bridge with…

Read

Illuminations at the entrance to the Bulkeley Bridge

Mighty, Mighty Hartford

In October of 1908, Hartford celebrated the opening of the…

Read

Birth of a Nation Advertisement

Hartford’s Challenge to “The Birth of a Nation”

D. W. Griffith’s silent movie, the racially charged “Birth of a Nation,” initially played to large audiences in Hartford before meeting with official resistance after World War I.

Read

The Allied Market

Washington’s Sister Susie Society

The Sister Susie Society in Washington, Connecticut, started out as a reading circle but became a fundraising and World War I relief organization.

Read

Jacob Schick Invents the Electric Razor – Today in History: May 13

On May 13, 1930, Colonel Jacob Schick obtained patent No….

Read

Driving and Braking Mechanism for Cycles

The Coaster Brake – Today in History: April 9

On April 9, 1907, Harry Pond Townsend patented the driving…

Read

World War I Poster

War and the Fear of Enemy Aliens – Who Knew?

…that Greenwich had a special police unit trained to handle suspected foreign agents operating in Connecticut.

Read

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…

Read

Video – Augusta Lewis Troup Tribute Film

The Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame pays tribute to Augusta Lewis Troup, a pioneering labor leader, journalist, educator, and suffragist.

Read

Video – Sophie Tucker Tribute Film

The Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame pays tribute to celebrated singer and actress, and long-time Hartford resident, Sophie Tucker.

Read

Video – Dotha Bushnell Hillyer Tribute Film

The Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame pays tribute to philanthropist Dotha Bushnell Hillyer, patron of a living memorial to her father, the Reverend Horace Bushnell.

Read

Video – Florence Griswold Tribute Film

The Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame pays tribute to Florence Griswold, an Old Lyme native who fostered the impressionist art movement in Connecticut.

Read

Martha A. Parsons House

A Pioneering Woman in Business: Martha Parsons of Enfield

Enfield’s Martha Parsons broke new ground in her pursuit of employment opportunities for women. Her family home now belongs to the Enfield Historical Society.

Read

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.

Read

Rockwell hardness tester

Rockwell Hardness Tester – Today in History: February 11

On February 11, 1919, Hugh Rockwell and Stanley Rockwell received…

Read

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…

Read

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.

Read

Ida Tarbell: The Woman Who Took On Standard Oil

At the end of the 19th century, Ida Tarbell became one of the most famous “muckraking” journalists in America, thanks largely to her investigation of the Standard Oil Company.

Read

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…

Read

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…

Read

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.

Read

Advertising label for Fine Old Bourbon Whiskey, 1855

Video: No Booze for You – Who Knew?

During Prohibition, many Connecticut residents found it easy to obtain alcohol illegally, though violations of Prohibition led to an increase in violent crime.

Read

The Deutschland at the Connecticut State Pier in New London

New London Harbors a German Submarine During World War I – Who Knew?

The German merchant submarine Deutschland made two trips to America, including one to New London, Connecticut, during World War I.

Read

Stubby

A True Dog of War: Sergeant Stubby

In 1917, as the 102nd Infantry, 26th Yankee Division of…

Read

Man wearing a hat with card stating "Bread or Revolution"

How the Wobblies Won Free Speech

Denied the right to free assembly in public spaces, Connecticut workers joined in a larger national movement of civil disobedience.

Read

Typing History

Home to companies such as Royal and Underwood, Connecticut became an important manufacturing center for typewriters in the early 20th century.

Read

Steam-powered cider press at BF Clyde's in Mystic

BF Clyde and the Steam-powered Cider Mill – Who Knew?

…that the oldest steam-powered cider mill in the US still…

Read

Red Cross Emergency Ambulance Station

The Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918

For those who lived through the 1918 flu, life was never same. John Delano of New Haven recalled, “The neighborhood changed. People changed. Everything changed.”

Read

Pier at Savin Rock, West Haven, 1905

Savin Rock Park: “Connecticut’s Coney Island”

Savin Rock Park was a seaside resort constructed in the…

Read

Video – William Gillette’s Railroad

YouTube – CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection Actor…

Read

Orville Platt Helps Define International Relations after the Spanish-American War

Orville Platt was a powerful Republican senator from Washington, Connecticut. He presented the Platt Amendment to Congress.

Read

Erector set

Erector Set Patented – Today in History: July 8

On July 8, 1913, the United States Patent Office issued…

Read

Postcard of Plant B, Pierson's Greenhouses, Cromwell

The Rose King of America Transformed Cromwell’s Landscape

Andrew N. Pierson was born Anders Nil Persson in Skane…

Read

The Short Bright Life of Luna Park

Luna Park opened in Hartford in 1906. While providing many thrilling and exotic attractions, it failed to compete with the larger and more successful shoreline attractions at Coney Island.

Read

1893-94 Duryea

Frank Duryea Drives the First Automobile in Connecticut

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

Read

Pope Automobile Model S, Seven Passenger Car, 1909

Albert Augustus Pope, Transportation Pioneer

Pope’s bicycles and automobiles not only gave 19th-century consumers greater personal mobility, they also helped propel social change.

Read

Boy Scouts carrying World War I banners

Hartford’s Commemoration of World War I Servicemen and Women

At the end of the First World War, Hartford found a variety of ways to honor the sacrifices of its servicemen and women.

Read

Columbia Bicycle Model 105, 1903

Albert Pope Pioneered Bicycles for Women

Hartford-based inventor Albert Pope saw his first bicycle at the…

Read

Windsor’s “Murder Factory”

At the beginning of the 20th century, Amy Duggan Archer…

Read

Exterior of the Connecticut State Building

Take Me to the Fair: Connecticut Exhibits at the International Expositions

Connecticut took part in many of the great World’s Fairs, especially those held in North America.

Read

The Hartford Wheel Club, Hartford

The Hartford Wheel Club: Disparity in the Gilded Age

Despite the wealth found in some sections of the city, the economic volatility of the Gilded Age produced hard times for residents of Hartford.

Read

Gifford Pinchot, ca. 1890-1910

Gifford Pinchot: Bridging Two Eras of National Conservation

“The conservation of natural resources is the basis, and the only permanent basis, of national success,” wrote this Connecticut-born forester who oversaw the rapid expansion of national forest land holdings in the early 1900s.

Read

Advertising card of the Dr. Warner’s Caroline Corset

From Bombs to Bras: World War I Conservation Measures Transform the Lives of Women

A shortage of metal during World War I encouraged women’s clothing manufacturers (such as Bridgeport’s Warner Brothers Corset Company) to switch from producing corsets to brassieres.

Read

Waterbury’s Radium Girls

In the early 20th century, girls working at the Waterbury Clock Company faced death and disease from exposure to radium in the workplace.

Read

Video – Martha Parsons Tribute Film

The Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame pays tribute to Enfield native Martha Parsons, the first female business executive in Connecticut to earn her position based on merit.

Read

Portrait of Dr. Charles Johnson

Hartford’s Great Migration through Charles S. Johnson’s Eyes

During the Great Migration of the early 1900s, African Americans from the rural South relocated to Hartford and other Northern cities in search of better prospects.

Read

Laboring in the Shade

Thousands of black Southern students, including a young Martin Luther King Jr., came north to work in Connecticut’s tobacco fields.

Read

Just Pour Over Ice – Who Knew?

…that beginning in the late 1800s, the Heublein Restaurant in…

Read

Emile Gauvreau and the Era of Tabloid Journalism

Emile Gauvreau, former managing editor of the Hartford Courant, became a pioneer in the rise of tabloid journalism.

Read

Everett B. Clark seed barn, Orange

Orange Seeds Yield Corn, Alfafa, Soy, and More

The United States is one of the leading producers of…

Read

Amos Shepard, Plantsville, Design for a Wrench Member

The “Perfect Handle” Hatchet – Who Knew?

…that in the early 1900s, H.D. Smith and Company of…

Read

J. P. Morgan’s Connecticut Roots

One of the great financiers of the late 19th and early 20th century, J. P. Morgan was born (and spent much of his youth) in Hartford, Connecticut.

Read

The 1909 seven passenger limousine

The Hardware City Could’ve Been the Motor City – Who Knew?

…that New Britain could add automobile manufacturing to its long…

Read

The Newsies Strike Back

Despite organizing in 1909 to fight pay cuts, ultimately, vending machines and changing business models brought an end to the era of the Hartford newsie.

Read

Video – Mark Twain at Stormfield

This rare footage is thought to be the only film of famed author Samuel Clemens.

Read

Emily Pierson handing out leaflets in New York State Suffrage Campaign

A Feeling of Solidarity: Labor Unions and Suffragists Team Up

The voting booth and the shop floor were two important arenas in the fight for women’s equality.

Read

Charles McLean Andrews and Evangeline Walker Andrews

Charles McLean Andrews was one of the most distinguished historians of his time, generally recognized as the master of American colonial history.

Read

The Smith-Worthington Saddle Company

Saddles Fit For a Shah

Since 1794, Hartford-based Smith-Worthington Saddlery has made tack for horses—along with the occasional ostrich harness and space suit prototype.

Read

Horses crossing the finish line at Charter Oak Park

Sunday Funday? We Think Not – Who Knew?

…that amusements and morals don’t mix.  At the start of…

Read

A Revolution On Two Wheels: Columbia Bicycles

Albert Pope’s company not only played a prominent role in developing improved bicycle designs, it also developed the market for them.

Read

A 1908 reenactment of Thomas Hooker’s 1636 landing in Hartford

Colonial Revival Movement Sought Stability during Time of Change

Connecticut’s past provided refuge from pressures of modern life.

Read

Early 20th-Century Immigration in Connecticut

Immigration to Connecticut in the early 20th century continued much…

Read

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.

Read

Naugatuck Railroad Station

Henry Bacon Helps Beautify Naugatuck

Best known for the Lincoln Memorial, this architect also designed a railroad station, WWI monument, and a bridge for Naugatuck.

Read

Women Protestors of the Day March for the Vote

Looking Back: How the Vote Was Won

Today it is the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (The Kate) but it began as the Old Saybrook Musical and Dramatic Club.

Read

Video – Gifford Pinchot: America’s First Forester

A public television adaptation of Gary Hines’ one-man play about the first Chief of the Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot. This video incorporates historic photos and footage as Hines traces Pinchot’s colorful life including his friendships with John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt.

Read

Postcard of Luna Park, Hartford

Luna Park: A 20th-century Story of Amusement and Morality

The story of Luna Park in West Hartford provides insight…

Read

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.

Read

The entrance to Luna Park, ca. 1907

Luna Park – Who Knew?

… that Luna Park in West Hartford, a popular attraction…

Read

More Articles

 

Sign Up For Email Updates

Oops! We could not locate your form.