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Postwar United States 1945-1970s


Photo of Jim Henson, creator, The Muppets (1979)

Jim Henson, the Muppets, and Greenwich

Between 1964 and 1971, the famous puppeteer and creator of Sesame Street, Jim Henson, lived in Greenwich and created many of his most recognizable characters.

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Advertisement for Phillips' Milk of Magnesia in the Washington DC Evening Star, 1945

Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia Originated in Stamford

In 1873, Charles H. Phillips patented Milk of Magnesia and his company produced the popular antacid and laxative in Stamford, Connecticut, until 1976.

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Dodd Gun Bill Becomes Law

Thomas J. Dodd and the Gun Control Act of 1968

Written in December 1791, the Second Amendment to the United…

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Postcard of Beechmont Dairy in Bridgeport, CT

Beechmont Dairy: Bridgeport’s Ice Cream to Die For

Joseph Niedermeier Sr. founded the Beechmont Dairy in Bridgeport in 1906—a popular local business for over 60 years.

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Scrabble tiles

Scrabble Copyrighted – Today in History: December 1

On December 1, 1948, James Brunot of Newtown copyrighted the…

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Taking on the State: Griswold v. Connecticut

In the 1960s, Hartford native Estelle Griswold challenged Connecticut’s restrictive birth control law. Her argument for the right to privacy made it all the way to the Supreme Court.

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Benjamin Spock: Raising the World’s Children

Pediatrician (and Connecticut native) Benjamin Spock revolutionized childcare in the 20th century before becoming a leading figure in the anti-war movement of the 60s and 70s.

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The Rise of the Black Panther Party in Connecticut

As they did nationally, the Black Panther Party in Connecticut fought for an end to discriminatory legal and regulatory practices, often clashing with authorities to achieve their goals.

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Seaside Sanatorium, Waterford

Seaside Tuberculosis Sanatorium: Waterford’s Contested Oceanfront Gem

Connecticut’s Seaside Sanatorium in Waterford is the site of a former nationally recognized tuberculosis hospital.

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Hartford classroom, 1957

Five Minutes that Changed Connecticut: Simon Bernstein and the 1965 Connecticut Education Amendment

“There shall always be free public elementary and secondary schools in the state. The general assembly shall implement this principle by appropriate legislation.”

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North Haven: Fabricating Sculpture in the 1960s and 1970s

Lippincott, Inc., in North Haven, was one of the most highly respected fine-arts metal fabricators in the country in the second half of the 20th century.

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Bradley Field, Windsor Locks

Bradley International Airport Transforms Windsor Locks into Regional Gateway

Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks is Connecticut’s largest airport and the second largest in New England.

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Joseph Alsop - Hennepin County Library

Joseph Alsop: Cunning Political Columnist of Mid-Century America

Joseph Wright Alsop was one of the country’s most well-known political journalists of the 20th century and was drawn into some of the most influential power circles in the world.

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Malcolm X in Hartford: “Our Mission is Not Violence but Freedom”

In addition to helping found Nation of Islam Temple No. 14 in Hartford, Malcolm X spent considerable time in Connecticut rallying supporters to his cause.

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Constance Baker Motley: A Warrior for Justice

New Haven lawyer Constance Baker Motley became famous for arguing some of the most important cases of the civil rights movement.

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The Language of the Unheard: Racial Unrest in 20th-Century Hartford

Race riots in Hartford during the 1960s came about thanks to a century of frustration and political inaction surrounding disparate standards of living among different races and ethnicities,

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Richard Yates

Trouble in the Connecticut Suburbs: Revolutionary Road

In Richard Yates’s 1961 book Revolutionary Road, living in the Connecticut suburbs is held up as the ultimate badge of success.

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Bryant Electric Items from the 1930s

The Rise and Fall of Manufacturing in Bridgeport: The Case of Bryant Electric

For one hundred years Bryant Electric was a staple of Bridgeport industry, adapting to the challenges of the changing industrial landscape in America.

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Ernest Borgnine: Breaking the Hollywood Mold

Ernest Borgnine, a native of Hamden who served ten years in navy, became one of the world’s most recognized and revered actors.

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Mamie Eisenhower launches the USS Nautilus

The Launch of the USS Nautilus – Today in History: January 21

On January 21, 1954, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower launched the…

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Governor Ella Grasso

The Education of Ella Grasso

The daughter of Italian immigrants becomes Connecticut’s first woman governor.

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Starr Mill

Buckling Up For Auto Safety

Controversy over seat belt laws has long been a part of their evolutionary history.

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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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Oyster grounds, Western Division; Town of Westport

The Battle for Cockenoe Island

In 1967, the United Illuminating Company proposed to build a nuclear power plant on Cockenoe Island off the coast of Westport, but grassroots activism ultimately scuttled that plan.

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Picking Tobacco in the Connecticut River Valley

Literacy Tests and the Right To Vote

Connecticut was the first state to require a literacy test of would-be voters and, even as the practice came under fire as a tool of discrimination, the state held steady until 1970.

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Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. "Take a giant step." New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Hartford’s Louis Peterson, Groundbreaking African American Playwright

Hartford’s Louis Peterson was a groundbreaking African American playwright in the 20th century.

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Sandbagging at the Stanley P. Rockwell Co

The Flood That We Forget: October 15 and 16, 1955

When we speak of the “Flood of 1955,” we should remind ourselves that two separate floods, one in August and a second one in October, occurred.

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Vietnam Protests in Connecticut

Opposition to the war in Vietnam manifested itself in Connecticut in many of the same ways it did across the country. The most extensive protests occurred in 1969 and 1970.

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Smoke billows from Hartford Hospital

The 1961 Hartford Hospital Fire

On December 8, 1961, the casual disposal of a cigarette spread raging flames and deadly smoke through Hartford Hospital.

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President Richard Nixon visits Hartford

The 42-Day Income Tax

In 1971, to eliminate the state’s budget deficit, Connecticut legislators approved a tax on income. Just forty-two days later, they repealed it, instead voting to increase the state’s sales tax.

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Torrington Recovers after the Flood of ‘55

In August of 1955, two hurricanes that moved through Connecticut…

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Launching of the Nautilus

Launching of the USS Nautilus 1954

The USS Nautilus demonstrates Connecticut’s continuing maritime traditions and dedication…

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Colt Park and the Magical Summer of 1976

In the summer of 1976, Colt Park offered rock and roll fans an escape from troubled times through a series of concerts by some legendary acts.

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Group photo of Famous Artists School Faculty

Instruction by Mail: The Famous Artists School

The Famous Artists School in Westport once provided the premier correspondence training for those interested in an art career.

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The Hartford Insurance Investigator With the Action-Packed Expense Account

Based in Hartford, “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar” was one of America’s most popular radio shows during the 15 years it aired.

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The Trailblazing Bessye Bennett

In 1974, nearly one hundred years after Mary Hall became…

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The Black Panther Party in Connecticut: Community Survival Programs

The Black Panthers had a significance presence in Connecticut in the 1960s and ’70s, particularly through community programs aimed to serve minorities living in the state’s more urban areas.

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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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A Candy Bar Empire in Naugatuck

Almond Joy and Mounds were two of the most popular candy bars sold by Naugatuck’s Peter Paul Manufacturing Company, an enterprise begun by Armenian immigrant Peter Halajian.

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Rock and Roll vs. Racism

The State Theater in Hartford brought residents of all different backgrounds together in the 1950s and ’60s through the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll.

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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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Training and rescue submarine S-4 submerging

Video – Undersea University – US Navy’s Submarine School

Produced by the US Government in 1965, this film of…

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Civil Rights picket, US Courthouse, Hartford

“U.S. Troops in Viet Nam, but none in Selma” – Today in History: March 9

On March 9, 1965, protesters held an all-night vigil in…

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Artist Louis Paul Dessar Dies – Today in History: February 14

On February 14, 1952, American artist Louis Paul Dessar died…

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Artist Louis Paul Dessar Dies – Today in History: February 14

On February 14, 1952, American artist Louis Paul Dessar died…

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Video – Florence Wald Tribute Film

YouTube – Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame The Connecticut Women’s…

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Video – Barbara McClintock Tribute Film

The Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame pays tribute to Hartford native Barbara McClintock, a famed geneticist and Nobel Prize winner.

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Video – Rudolph Zallinger’s Masterpiece, “The Age of Reptiles”

The Yale Peabody Museum is home to one of the world’s largest murals, which illustrates changes in the earth’s flora and fauna between the Devonian and Cretaceous periods.

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Wesleyan Hills Helps Redefine Suburbia

The design of the Wesleyan Hills community in Middletown, Connecticut, stands in stark contrast to the uninspiring, cookie-cutter suburbs of the Post-World War II era.

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“Free Bobby, Free Ericka”: The New Haven Black Panther Trials

In 1969, the Black Panther Trials brought national attention to New Haven as prosecutors charged members of the radical movement with murdering one of their own.

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Video – When Disaster Struck Connecticut: The Flood of 1955

The CPTV Original, When Disaster Struck Connecticut, provides an in-depth look at the four major natural disasters that befell Connecticut between 1888 and 1955. This clip of archival sources and eyewitness accounts paints a vivid picture of how Connecticut residents coped with “The Flood of 1955” in the wake of Hurricanes Connie and Diane.

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