Expansion and Reform (1801–1861)
The early 19th century witnessed America struggling to forge a post-revolutionary identity. Having come off success in its battle for independence, the explosive growth of cotton and slavery in the South facilitated divisive debates about the rights of all men to be free. These debates affected Connecticut slaveholders and abolitionists alike, manifesting themselves in such stories as those of Prudence Crandall and John Brown. Meanwhile, Connecticut slowly established itself as one of America’s most prominent manufacturing states, providing the country with iron, brass, rubber, textiles, clocks, gunpowder, and armaments. Facilitating the growth of these industries was a renewed focus on transportation infrastructure that brought about the construction of new roads and ambitious projects such as the Farmington and Windsor Locks canals.
In 1796, Amelia Simmons authored American Cookery—believed to be the first cookbook authored by an American published in the United States. …[more]
Beatrice Fox Auerbach was pioneering retail executive who ran the G. Fox & Co. department store and numerous philanthropic benefiting people in Hartford and around the world. …[more]
Mean-spirited, repressed souls or persecuted refugees and rugged egalitarians? Connecticut's state historian sets the record straight. …[more]
On November 21, 1785, physician and physiologist William Beaumont, who... …[more]
On November 20, 1866, mechanic Pierre Lallement, a temporary resident of New Haven, Connecticut, received a patent for an improvement in velocipedes. …[more]
Hiram Bingham III was a distinguished scholar and public servant... …[more]
On November 18, 1820, Nathaniel Brown Palmer of Stonington, Connecticut,... …[more]
On November 17, 1917, the J.B. Williams Company of Glastonbury... …[more]
Charles Kaman, an inventor and aviation pioneer, managed to combine... …[more]
Lack of refrigeration and higher bacteria counts in tidal waters once made summer months a dangerous time to eat oysters. …[more]
His mobiles, stabiles, and constellations are featured in museum collections around the world. …[more]
The story of the Foreign Mission School connects the town... …[more]
In the immediate aftermath of World War II, Thomas Joseph... …[more]
On November 8, 1904, Harvey Hubbell II patented the first... …[more]
On November 6, 1960, forty-eight hours before the Presidential election, Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts addressed a street rally in New Haven. …[more]
Based in Orange, the 103rd Air Control Squadron of the... …[more]
Benjamin Hutchins Coe, born in Hartford, helped teach Americans how to draw through the publication of numerous art manuals, many of which focused on Connecticut-inspired landscapes. …[more]
Jack o’ lanterns, cider, masquerades, witches, and ghosts—many of the... …[more]
Overshadowed by the famed oak, Joseph Wadsworth, “the hero of the Charter,” has become the Rodney Dangerfield of Connecticut history—he doesn’t get any respect—or much recognition. …[more]
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. …[more]
Wo to Drunkards – Increase Mather On October 27, 1841,... …[more]
Hartford-born William Gillette, known best for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in film and theater, was also a successful playwright. His 1886 Civil War drama, Held by the Enemy, earned accolades from British critics and audiences and helped change perceptions of American art forms overseas. …[more]
Roger Griswold was a lawyer, judge, and politician who spent... …[more]
On October 24, 1877, the Goodspeed Opera House on the... …[more]
A figurehead from the USS Hartford currently resides at the Connecticut State Capitol and serves as a reminder of the state's rich maritime heritage. …[more]
Benjamin Wright helped build transportation and canal systems in the... …[more]
From winged death's heads to weeping willows, gravestone carvings in Connecticut's historic cemeteries reflect changing attitudes toward mourning and memorialization. …[more]
Questions? We get a lot of them and some of... …[more]
Father and son George and Tracy Lewis not only founded... …[more]
Connecticut Freedom Trail. “Underground Railroad Trail Map,” 2016. Link.
“Connecticut Historical Society,” 2016. Link.
“Connecticut’s Old State House,” 2017. Link.
“Farmington Historical Society,” 2016. Link.
“Harriet Beecher Stowe Center,” 2017. Link.
Torrington Historical Society. “John Brown Birthplace,” 2016. Link.
“Naugatuck Historical Society,” 2016. Link.
“New Haven Museum,” 2017. Link.
Connecticut Freedom Trail. “Prudence Crandall House,” 2016. Link.
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. “The Amistad Center for Art & Culture,” 2016. Link.
Farmington Valley Trails Council. “The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail,” 2016. Link.
“The Litchfield Historical Society,” 2017. Link.
Connecticut Freedom Trail. “William Lanson Site,” 2016. Link.
“Acts and Laws of the State of Connecticut, in America - Slaves.” Governor and Company of the State of Connecticut, 1784. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Link.
Judson, Andrew. “Broadside: Barbarism: Who Are Now the Savages?,” 1833. Connecticut History Illustrated, Connecticut Historical Society. Link.
Colt, Samuel. “Broadside: Colt’s Patent Repeating Pistols, Army, Navy, and Pocket Sizes.,” 1850. Connecticut Historical Society. Link.
National Museum of American History. “John Brown’s Sharps Rifle,” 2016. Link.
Connecticut State Library. “New London County Court African Americans and People of Color Collection - Inventory of Records,” 2016. Link.
Connecticut State Library. “Newspapers of Connecticut: Charter Oak (ca. 1838-1848) - Digital Newspaper Archive,” 2016. Link.
Goodyear, Charles. Patent Number 3,462 - Manufacture of India Rubber Goods. US3462 A. New York, NY, issued March 9, 1844. Link.
Yale University, The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, & Abolition. “The Black Law of Connecticut (1833) - Citizens ALL: African Americans in Connecticut 1700-1850 - PDF,” 2016. Link.
Barber, John Warner. A History of the Amistad Captives: Being a Circumstantial Account of the Capture of the Spanish Schooner Amistad, by the Africans on Board: Their Voyage, and Capture Near Long Island, New York: With Biographical Sketches of Each of the Surviving Africans; Also, an Account of the Trials Had on Their Case, Before the District and Circuit Courts of the United States, for the District of Connecticut. John W. Barber, 1840. Link.
Morse, Jarvis Means. A Neglected Period of Connecticut’s History, 1818-1850. New Haven; London: Yale University Press; H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1933.
Normen, Elizabeth J., ed. African American Connecticut Explored. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2013.
Lawrance, Benjamin Nicholas. Amistad’s Orphans: An Atlantic Story of Children, Slavery, and Smuggling. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014.
MacMullen, Edith Nye. In the Cause of True Education: Henry Barnard & Nineteenth-Century School Reform. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1991.
DeLuca, Richard. Post Roads & Iron Horses: Transportation in Connecticut from Colonial Times to the Age of Steam. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2011.
Strother, Horatio T. The Underground Railroad in Connecticut. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1962. Link.
Menschel, David. “Abolition Without Deliverance: The Law of Connecticut Slavery 1784-1848.” Yale Law Journal 111, no. 183 (September 24, 2001). Link.