Patent Model for the Manufacture of Rubber Fabrics, Charles Goodyear, 1844

Patent Model for the Manufacture of Rubber Fabrics, Charles Goodyear, 1844 – National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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.

Featured

Pachaug Trail, Wiclcabouet Marsh, Voluntown

The Story of Connecticut’s Largest State Forest

Pachaug State Forest is the largest state forest in Connecticut.... …[more]

American Cookery, or, The Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry, and Vegetables by Amelia Simmons

Amelia Simmons Adds a Uniquely American Flavor to Cooking

In 1796, Amelia Simmons authored American Cookery—believed to be the first cookbook authored by an American published in the United States. …[more]

Broadside for Pine Apple cheese patented in 1810

The Story of Pineapple Cheese

On a farm in West Goshen Lewis Norton made one... …[more]

Beatrice Fox Auerbach meets with the department heads of her store, G. Fox & Company

Beatrice Fox Auerbach: Retail Pioneer Led Iconic Family Department Store

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]

Detail from A mapp of New England by John Seller

Lion Gardiner Helps to Fortify Early Old Saybrook

In 1635, the governor of the Saybrook colony hired engineer... …[more]

Replicas of the 1636 church and house built by Reverend Thomas Hooker

What’s a Puritan, and Why Didn’t They Stay in Massachusetts?

Mean-spirited, repressed souls or persecuted refugees and rugged egalitarians? Connecticut's state historian sets the record straight. …[more]

Wood-cut representing Alexis St. Martin's wound

The Father of Gastric Physiology Born – Today in History: November 21

On November 21, 1785, physician and physiologist William Beaumont, who... …[more]

Pierre Lallement and the Modern-Day Pedal Bicycle – Today in History: November 20

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

Hiram Bingham III: Machu Picchu Explorer and Politician

Hiram Bingham III was a distinguished scholar and public servant... …[more]

A Connecticut Nazi Spy Has a Change of Heart

On the morning of October 6, 1944, Niantic-born William Colepaugh... …[more]

Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer

Nathaniel Palmer discovers Antarctica – Today in History: November 18

On November 18, 1820, Nathaniel Brown Palmer of Stonington, Connecticut,... …[more]

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... …[more]

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. …[more]

Copy of Map of Windsor, shewing the parishes, the roads, and houses by Seth Pease

Seth Pease Surveys New Lands

This Suffield native’s work in “New Connecticut” and other Western territories reveals how the new nation took stock of its expanding borders. …[more]

Kaman Aircraft, 1949

Helicopters, Guitars, and Guide Dogs: The Revolutionary Mind of Charles Kaman

Charles Kaman, an inventor and aviation pioneer, managed to combine... …[more]

An Oyster Supper

Any Month with an “R” in It: Eating Oysters in Connecticut

Lack of refrigeration and higher bacteria counts in tidal waters once made summer months a dangerous time to eat oysters.  …[more]

Alexander Calder in studio, Roxbury, 1973

Calder in Connecticut: World-Famous Artist Called Roxbury Home

His mobiles, stabiles, and constellations are featured in museum collections around the world.  …[more]

Foreign Mission School, Cornwall

An Experiment in Evangelization: Cornwall’s Foreign Mission School

The story of the Foreign Mission School connects the town... …[more]

Thomas Dodd (at podium), Nuremberg trial, ca., 1945-46

Connecticut Lawyer Prosecutes Nazi War Criminals at Nuremberg

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, Thomas Joseph... …[more]

Separable Attachment Plug

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

On November 8, 1904, Harvey Hubbell II patented the first... …[more]

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. …[more]

John F. Kennedy campaigning in New Haven, 1960

The Kennedys in Connecticut – Today in History: November 6

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]

Two A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the Connecticut Air National Guard's 103rd Fighter Wing fly in formation behind a KC-135

Connecticut’s “Yankee Watch” Squadron Protects the Skies Here and Abroad

Based in Orange, the 103rd Air Control Squadron of the... …[more]

Drawing (on) the Connecticut Landscape: Benjamin Hutchins Coe Teaches Americans the Democratic Art

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]

John Warner Barber, Public square or green, in New Haven

A Separate Place: The New Haven Colony, 1638-1665

In 1638, Puritan leader John Davenport led a group of settlers out of Boston, ultimately founding what became the New Haven Colony. …[more]

Election day, Main Street, Hartford

When Elections in Hartford Were a Piece of Cake

Unlike today, in the 18th and 19th centuries, Election Day met with great celebration. …[more]

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.  …[more]

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.  …[more]

Results of Halloween pranks, Windsor

Past Hallowe’en Pranks Bemused Some and Frustrated Others

Jack o’ lanterns, cider, masquerades, witches, and ghosts—many of the... …[more]

Charles De Wolf Brownell, Charter Oak

Hiding the Charter: Images of Joseph Wadsworth’s Legendary Action

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]

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. …[more]

Witchcraft in Connecticut

Well before the Salem trials, Connecticut residents were executing "witches." Connecticut is home to what was most likely the first execution of its kind in colonial America. …[more]

Birthplace of Seth Thomas

Seth Thomas Works Around the Clock in Wolcott

Seth Thomas was a Connecticut native who became a pioneer... …[more]

Currier & Ives, The drunkards progress. From the first glass to the grave

The Temperance Movement in Connecticut – Today in History: October 27

Wo to Drunkards – Increase Mather On October 27, 1841,... …[more]

American Actor Changes 19th-Century Theater – Who Knew?

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]

Igor Sikorsky in the VS-300

Igor Sikorsky Dies – Today in History: October 26

On October 26, 1972, aviation pioneer Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky died... …[more]

Congressional pugilists

Roger Griswold: A Governor Not Afraid To Challenge Authority

Roger Griswold was a lawyer, judge, and politician who spent... …[more]

Goodspeed Opera House, East Haddam

Goodspeed Opera House Opens – Today in History: October 24

On October 24, 1877, the Goodspeed Opera House on the... …[more]

Hartford and New Haven: A Tale of Two Capitals

Before the expense of having two capital cities became too great, both Hartford and New Haven served that function. Hartford became the sole capital in 1875. …[more]

Map detail from Turnpikes of Connecticut,

Oxford: From Paths to Pikes

When colonists first settled around Oxford, Connecticut, roads consisted of... …[more]

Yung Wing

Avon’s Educational and Cultural Pioneer

Yung Wing was the first Chinese student to graduate from... …[more]

Westport Country Playhouse

Broadway Comes to Westport

The Westport Country Playhouse is a theater meant to provide... …[more]

Sloop-of-War Ship’s Figurehead Lands at State Capitol

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]

View on the Erie Canal

Benjamin Wright: The Father of American Civil Engineering

Benjamin Wright helped build transportation and canal systems in the... …[more]

Gravestones, Old Burying Ground, Hartford

The Art of Burying the Dead: Exploring Connecticut’s Historic Cemeteries

From winged death's heads to weeping willows, gravestone carvings in Connecticut's historic cemeteries reflect changing attitudes toward mourning and memorialization.  …[more]

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.  …[more]

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. …[more]

New Haven: What Was Everyday Life Like During the Civil War?

Questions? We get a lot of them and some of... …[more]

Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Company

Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Company Puts Best Foot Forward

Father and son George and Tracy Lewis not only founded... …[more]

Improved Centrifugal Governor

Portland Improves the Steam Engine

Thomas R. Pickering, an engineer, ran a factory power plant... …[more]

Learn More

Websites

Connecticut Freedom Trail. “Underground Railroad Trail Map,” 2016. Link.

Places

“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.

Documents

“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.

Books

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.

Articles

Menschel, David. “Abolition Without Deliverance: The Law of Connecticut Slavery 1784-1848.” Yale Law Journal 111, no. 183 (September 24, 2001). Link.