history

The Colin McEnroe Show
7:00 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Dancin' in the Moonlight: Connecticut Dance Halls

David Foster is the owner of Shaboo Productions and the leader of the Mohegan Sun Shaboo All-Stars.
Chion Wolf WNPR

This hour, we talk about two Connecticut dance halls, each springing from the vision of two very different men who took their respective dance halls down very different paths. One's dream soared, bringing thousands of concert-goers to over 3,000 acts over an eleven-year history. The other's dream stalled, his elaborate dance hall sitting idle for decades.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
5:15 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Live From Watkinson School: Can a Song Change the World?

Credit Jim The Photographer / Flickr Creative Commons

If you want to reach people, sing to them, and make them sing. Experience tells us that singing changes people's relationships to reality, maybe even getting them ready to experience pain in a protest march.

Here's a term that was new to me anyway: "Collective Effervescence". It was coined by the sociologist Emile Durkheim to describe a lot of things, including the state we might achieve if we all got together and sang a song about our political aims. You see this in times of protest, from the streets of Ferguson to the streets around Tahrir Square. When people sing, or hear someone else sing, it activates them.

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Politics
3:16 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Obama Joins Ike, The Gipper, Bill And George II In A Club No One Wants To Be In

President Dwight Eisenhower delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of the 86th Congress in 1959. Behind him are Vice President Richard Nixon (left) and Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn.
AP

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 7:06 pm

President Obama begins his seventh year in office Tuesday facing a Congress where both the House and Senate are in the hands of the opposition party. He shares this in common with every other president fortunate enough to even have a seventh year in office since the 1950s.

Dwight Eisenhower in 1959, Ronald Reagan in 1987, Bill Clinton in 1999 and George W. Bush in 2007 all climbed the rostrum for this late-in-the-game challenge looking out at majorities of the other party in both chambers.

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Remembering Dr. King
7:44 am
Mon January 19, 2015

King's Last March

Martin Luther King Jr. speaking to black sanitation workers in Memphis

On Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, WNPR's Where We Live presents a documentary special from American RadioWorks, "King's Last March." It explores the final year of King's life.

On April 4, 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a landmark speech from the pulpit of Riverside Church in New York. He called for an end to the Vietnam War.

Exactly one year later, King was assassinated in Memphis. He was 39 years old. King’s speech in New York set the tone for the last year of his life. 

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MLK Day
3:35 am
Mon January 19, 2015

What Does Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy Look Like To A 5-Year-Old?

Elspeth Ventresca, center, and the rest of Carolyn Barnhardt's prekindergarten class at John Eaton Elementary School wear the crowns they made to celebrate Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 12:07 pm

It's morning meeting time. "When Dr. King was little, he learned a golden rule," sings a class of 4- and 5-year-olds with their teacher, Carolyn Barnhardt.

John Eaton Elementary School, a public school in Washington, D.C., is unusual. It sits in one of the District's wealthiest neighborhoods, but the majority of students hail from different parts of the city, making it one of the most racially and economically diverse elementary schools in the nation's capital.

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Mystic Seaport
11:45 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Mystic Seaport Breaks Ground on New Exhibit Building

A front rendering of a new exhibition hall planned for Mystic Seaport.
Centerbrook Architects and Planners/Kent + Frost Landscape Architecture

Mystic Seaport will undergo a major transformation this year that will ultimately allow the museum to open year-round.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
9:45 am
Thu January 15, 2015

The History and Influence of Soap Operas

Earlier today, Julianne Moore got an Oscar nomination for "Still Alice." She is by far the betting favorite to win the best actress award. But you may remember her better as Franny Hughes Crawford on "As The World Turns." And four or five years before Ellen said "I'm gay," Bill Douglas came out as a gay teenager on One Life to Live. That character was played by Ryan Philippe. In fact, Leo DiCaprio, Maria Tomei, Tommy Lee Jones, Parker Posey, Kevin Bacon, Meg Ryan, they all worked on soaps before they moved on. 

Now there are only four soap operas left – drawn out, dramatic stories that used to be sponsored by soap manufacturers, and now are struggling to maintain relevance to house wives who have a lot more options in the middle of the day. We'll talk about this slice of Americana with those in the industry, and a professor who co-directs “Project Daytime.”

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:05 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Fire: Sparking Imagination Since Two Million B.C.

BriSaEr Flickr Creative Commons

Things burn: Our environments, resources, and all forms of monument to self. And since the beginning, so too has our imagination. The inspiration humans have drawn from fire throughout the millennia is as impressive as it is immeasurable. Why fire occupies such an elemental place in the creative wellsprings of our consciousness is certainly a debate to had.

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The Faith Middleton Show
11:58 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Great Read: Elephant Company

Credit Steve Slater/flickr creative commons

A man named Billy Williams became a legend during World War II, but not only for his heroic actions; Williams, stationed in Burma, became an elephant "whisperer." The book Elephant Company describes the man's exceptional ability to understand the elephants around him, and the stunning ability of the elephants to understand and communicate with him, in return.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:28 am
Tue January 13, 2015

The Spice of Life

Indian spices for sale at the Anjuna flea-market, Anjuna Beach, Goa, India
Credit Sarah Marlowe / Creative Commons

The word spice has a kind of urgency. You don't need spice but historically, it's something people wanted enough to travel long, unfamiliar routes to find and bring back. We're going to talk about the lust for spice that helped open up trade and colonization. It's not just the taste or the smell - it was status and a class marker. One was either the sort of family that had turmeric or one was not.

Today on the show, we talk about the history of spice and about its present. It hasn't stopped, in certain quarters, being a luxury item and a status marker.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:13 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Historical Deletion and Censorship

Andrew Turner Creative Commons

There's a mostly forgotten story by the mostly forgotten sci-fi writer, R.A. Lafferty. It's called, "What's The Name of That Town." We meet a team of scientists and an amusing sentiant computer examining clues that suggested something existed once upon a time and has now been erased.

It turns out to be the city of Chicago which has been obliterated in an accident so traumatic that the city's existence has been wiped from all records and from peoples actual memories. 

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History
8:54 am
Fri December 26, 2014

From the Hand of the Master: The Signs of William Rice

Sign for Tarbox’s Inn, East Windsor. Painted by William Rice, 1807. Rice’s earliest known sign, made when his shop was in Worcester. Connecticut Historical Society, Collection of Morgan B. Brainard, Gift of Mrs. Morgan B. Brainard, 1961.63.21.
the Connecticut Historical Society

Highway travel today is notable for the number of services available on both interstate and secondary roads. Automobile fuel and repairs, food, and lodging are just some of the amenities available, all easily located thanks to an abundance of signs large and small.

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The Salt
4:18 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

What Would Jesus Drink? A Class Exploring Ancient Wines Asks

An illustration depicts Jesus Christ transforming water into wine during the wedding at Cana (John 2:7).
Joseph Martin Kronheim Kean Collection/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 12:20 pm

Inside the Boston Wine School, Jonathon Alsop places empty glasses and plates of figs and cheese before a small group of students. Alsop, who founded the school in 2000, is doing a test run of a new class that poses the question: What would Jesus drink?

"This is ... a cheese that Jesus might have eaten," he tells students. "It's called Egyptian Roumy — it was a cheese that was introduced to the Egyptians by the Romans. It's a sheep's milk cheese."

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National Parks
11:00 am
Tue December 23, 2014

President Obama Signs Law Designating Connecticut Colt Gun Factory as National Park

President Barack Obama signs a bill into law in a White House file photo.
Pete Souza White House

A measure designating Samuel Colt's 19th-century gun factory in Connecticut as a national park was signed into law on Friday by President Barack Obama. 

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Coltsville
8:23 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Hurdles Remain Before Hartford's Coltsville Is a National Historical Park

It could take years to transform the Coltsville section of Hartford into a National Historical Park.
Aaron Knox Creative Commons

Congress recently gave final approval to a defense spending bill that includes language creating the Coltsville National Historical Park -- but much work remains before the park is a reality.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Connecticut's Changing Relationship With Guns

This gun is of the first production automatic pistols made by Colt, an M1900. Two hundred of these were delivered to the U.S. Navy.
Naval History and Heritage Command Creative Commons

Earlier this week, the Senate confirmed Vivek Murthy to be the nation’s next Surgeon General. His confirmation had been held up for more than a year by pro-gun lobbyists, because of his support for new gun control measures. Murthy founded the group Doctors for America, which had advocated for gun restrictions, but he has said his focus as Surgeon General will be on tackling the nation’s obesity problem.

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History
8:14 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Hartford Seen: Photographs By Pablo Delano

Elm Street, 2013.
Pablo Delano

Houses, apartments, businesses, schools, places of worship. Like all cities, Hartford’s built environment—its physical structures and shape—has changed over time for many different reasons. As the population grows and changes, different voices influence the city’s identity, and new building materials and resources become available (or disappear). This year, with a series of onsite and offsite exhibits, the Connecticut Historical Society is exploring the history of Hartford’s modern cityscape, as well as the city’s urban spaces today.

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Col. Claus
7:11 am
Fri December 19, 2014

NORAD's Santa Tracker Began With A Typo And A Good Sport

Col. Harry Shoup came to be known as the "Santa Colonel." He died in 2009.
Courtesy of NORAD

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 9:45 pm

This Christmas Eve people all over the world will log on to the official Santa Tracker to follow his progress through U.S. military radar. This all started in 1955, with a misprint in a Colorado Springs newspaper and a call to Col. Harry Shoup's secret hotline at the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD.

Shoup's children, Terri Van Keuren, 65, Rick Shoup, 59, and Pam Farrell, 70, recently visited StoryCorps to talk about how the tradition began.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
8:49 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Cracking the Code of Alan Turing

Priscilla Lydia McKenzie worked in Bletchley Park, recording movements of German ships.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Let me set the stage a little: A movie called "The Imitation Game" will be released nationwide Christmas day, the latest of several attempts to tell the story of Alan Turing. That story is so big, it can only be told in little pieces.

The piece most people focus on is Turing's work as the single most important code breaker in World War 2, the man who built a machine that broke apart the deeply encrypted Nazi code, and then gave the Allies an advantage that they were forced to conceal.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:23 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Hartford Convention: 200 Years Since We Started the Fight Over States' Rights

Matt Warshauer is a professor of History at Central Connecticut State University and the author of several books including "Connecticut in the American Civil War"
Chion Wolf WNPR

Legend holds that years after the the Hartford Convention, a visitor from the South was touring the Old State House and asked to be shown the room where the Convention met. Ushered into the Senate chamber, the southerner looked at the crimson in the face of George Washington in the Gilbert Stuart portrait hanging here and said, "I'll be damned if he's got the blush off yet.

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Photography
2:57 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Watch: Connecticut Photographer Explains 19th-Century Tintypes

A tintype photograph of John Dankosky.
Chion Wolf WNPR

In the age of Snapchat and Instagram, smartphones and tablets, it’s almost impossible to imagine a time when horses carted around darkrooms, and photo portraits took several hours, rather than a few minutes or seconds.

But such a time existed. And one Connecticut photographer is set on bringing it back. 

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Higher Education
10:48 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Quinnipiac's Irish Famine Museum to Launch Digital Database

"Burying the Child" by Lilian Lucy Davidson.
Ireland's Great Hunger Museum Quinnipiac University

Ireland's Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University is launching a digital database with about 1,500 articles and illustrations related to Ireland and the Great Famine.

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Mayflower II
9:31 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Mayflower Replica Heads to Mystic Seaport for Restoration Work

The Mayflower II in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in a 2013 photo.
Robert Linsdell Creative Commons

The replica of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America has set sail from Plymouth, Massachusetts, to another historic port in Connecticut where it will undergo a restoration. 

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National History
8:50 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Congress Approves Historic Coltsville Park in Hartford

Colt's Armory in Hartford around 1906.
Library of Congress

Connecticut officials are celebrating congressional approval of a new national park in Hartford centering on the historic Colt firearms factory building with the blue, onion-shape dome. 

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History
11:44 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Finding a Home For Connecticut History

The Connecticut Historical Society. The CHS is currently housed in the former home of Curtis Veeder, located at One Elizabeth Street in the West End of Hartford.

The Connecticut Historical Society moved into its current headquarters building at One Elizabeth Street in Hartford in 1950. However, the organization pre-dates the move to this location by more than 100 years and it had several earlier locations.  The CHS was founded in 1825 and is one of the oldest state historical societies in the country.

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Setting the Bar
2:36 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

America, the Greatest*

Two of the Founding Fathers carved in stone.
Credit Dean Franklin / Creative Commons

The United States of America has always been imperfect. In some ways, it was designed that way. Despite the fact that their faces are on money and engraved into the side of a mountain, the "Founding Fathers" were actually humans with all of the flaws and fallacies that accompany the species. Many, if not all of them, knew that too.

At what point in history did America start thinking of itself the "greatest country in the world"?

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The Colin McEnroe Show
1:00 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

The Scramble: Journalism Gone Awry, and Northern Racism

Rolling Stone and The New Republic are in crisis mode this week.
Credit Ken Hawkins / Creative Commons

The Scramble reacts to new developments in the University of Virginia case of alleged sexual assault and Rolling Stone’s concern about some its reporting. 

Then there's a second magazine story: what’s behind the mass -- and we do mean mass -- resignations at The New Republic. Most of its full-time staff and stable of contributing editors quit on the same day. Why?

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History
10:00 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Busy Sidewalks and Wonderful Memories

G. Fox Holiday Catalog, 1957.
The Connecticut Historical Society, Ephemera Collection

Right after Thanksgiving, G. Fox & Company decorated their magnificent store. People from across the state drove into Hartford just to marvel at the marquee. In the 1950s it featured big candles and colorful boxes. However, the marquee most people remember was the charming Colonial Village. The village included small replicas of Colonial churches and houses from across Connecticut. The front display windows were also festive and inviting. Children pressed their noses to the glass to get a better look at the brightly lit mechanical ice skating animals.

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Theatrical History
12:31 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Happy 100th Birthday to New Haven's Shubert Theater!

The Shubert Theater in New Haven.
Shubert Theater Facebook

This year marks the 100th anniversary of New Haven’s Shubert Theater. 

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:08 am
Thu December 4, 2014

A Mini-Musical About the Shubert Theater, 100 Years Old

Credit Toby Simkin/flickr creative commons

If you charted the course of American musicals, a major stop on this extraordinary journey would be The Shubert Theater in New Haven. The Shubert was considered Broadway's try-out house, a stop where our local audiences determined whether New York producers had a hit or a disaster on their hands. How did this happen? Who got the nod and who earned thumbs down? 

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