history

South Carolina
4:30 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Race To Unearth Civil War-Era Artifacts Before Developer Digs In

Archaeologist Chester DePratter stands by the site of Camp Asylum, a Civil War-era prison, in Columbia, S.C. The site will soon be cleared to make room for a mixed-use development.
Susanne Schafer AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 9:52 am

About a dozen archaeologists in downtown Columbia, S.C., are focused on a 165-acre sliver of land that was a prisoner of war camp during the Civil War. Last summer, the property was sold, and the group is trying to recover artifacts before a developer builds condos and shops there.

"We're out here to salvage what we can in advance of that development," says Chester DePratter, a University of South Carolina archaeologist. Time is running out: DePratter and his team have a permit to excavate until April 30.

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History
11:47 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Yankee Ingenuity: Curtis Veeder, a Mechanical Genius and Shrewd Businessman

“Curtis Veeder, Inventor of the Cyclometer, Riding a Bicycle,” Drawn by HH Art Studios Inc. for G. Fox & Co. 100th Anniversary, 1947. (Connecticut Historical Society, 1980.93.23)

 

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Dinosaurs
3:43 am
Wed April 16, 2014

A T. Rex Treks To Washington For A Shot At Fame

Pat Leiggi (right) of the Museum of the Rockies prepares to move a leg bone of the T. rex at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 4:33 pm

This week, scientists at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History will start unpacking some rare and precious cargo. It's something the Smithsonian has never had before — a nearly complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

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History
3:27 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Eyewitness to History: The Treasury Guard Regiment Flag

The Treasury Guard Regiment flag spent over a century in this display box.
Connecticut Historical Society

In 1864, President Lincoln ordered his executive departments to each raise a force of troops for the defense of Washington should it be threatened by Confederate forces. The Treasury Department raised a full regiment of citizen-soldiers, and the women employed there presented a custom set of colors to the unit. The canton of the national flag bore hand-painted patriotic images and a banner identifying the unit, which spent months drilling on a dusty lot in Washington. In April 1865 the unit held a ball at Ford’s Theater celebrating Lee’s surrender.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:00 am
Thu April 10, 2014

We've Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered

Randy Schmidt is the author of Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter and a music educator in Denton, Texas
Chion Wolf WNPR

If you are a person of a certain age, you probably remember the moment when you were first seized by Karen Carpenter's voice. For me, it was getting into my mother's Pontiac LeMans after a commencement ceremony at Kingswood School in 1970. I was a sophomore at an all-boys school, and nobody wanted to be "Close To" me.

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History
3:17 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Katharine Hepburn: Dressing a Star

Katherine Hepburn as Babbie in The Little Minister.
Christopher P. Sullivan Kent State University Museum, 2010.3.208

Katharine Hepburn is known for her on-screen personality and her off-screen style.  In reality, the two were closely intertwined, since she used style, both on and off-screen, as a powerful reflection of character. 

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Kudiyattam
10:45 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Indian Actors Dust Off Ancient Sanskrit Drama at Yale

Kudiyattam is the last surviving form of classic Sanskrit theater.
sreenisreedharan Creative Commons

A troupe of actors from Kerala, India will perform an ancient, traditional drama known as Kudiyattam this weekend in New Haven.

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100 Years at Wrigley
5:36 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Chicago Celebrates A Century Of Baseball At Wrigley Field

The view inside Wrigley Field during a 1959 Cubs game. The stadium was built in 1914 and celebrates its centennial this year.
AP

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 8:22 am

When the first pitch is thrown between the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, it will mark the start of the 100th professional baseball season at iconic Wrigley Field.

The ball park on Chicago's North Side, known as the Friendly Confines, opened as the home of the Chicago Federals 100 years ago this month.

The Cubs moved there two years later, and in all that time the Cubs have never won a World Series. There hasn't even been a World Series game played at Wrigley since the end of World War II.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:03 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Celebrating the Ninth Annual Trinity Hip Hop Festival

Self Suffice the Rap Poet is a nationally performing positive teaching artist.
Chion Wolf WNPR

When I say "hip hop," do you think about an art form the exalts bling, consumption, excess, decadence, and vulgarity? What about all the other hip hop artists, exploring other kinds of truths?

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Code Switch
7:58 am
Wed April 2, 2014

The Harlem Hellfighters: Fighting Racism In The Trenches Of WWI

The Harlem Hellfighters, a new graphic novel by Max Brooks, retells the story of the first African-American unit to fight in World War I.
Caanan White Courtesy of Broadway Books

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 7:58 pm

The 369th Infantry Regiment served 191 days under enemy fire in Europe. They returned home one of the most decorated American units of World War I.

"The French called them the 'Men of Bronze' out of respect, and the Germans called them the 'Harlem Hellfighters' out of fear," explains Max Brooks, author of The Harlem Hellfighters, a new graphic novel about the first African-American infantry unit to fight in World War I.

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History
9:57 am
Fri March 28, 2014

The Adventure of a Lifetime: John Ledyard and Captain Cook’s Last Voyage

A View of Huaheine. Engraving after a drawing by John Webber, published 1783. Huahine, one of the Society Islands in the South Pacific, was visited by Captain Cook in 1777.
Daniel Wadsworth Connecticut Historical Society, 1848.16.3.21

In 1783, as Americans adjusted to peace time following the Revolutionary War, a young man’s incredible adventure story was published in Hartford. John Ledyard’s Journal of Captain Cook’s Last Voyage recounted Ledyard’s travels with the world-famous British explorer on his third and last exploration of the Pacific Ocean.

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Documentary
8:52 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

'Vivian Maier' Brings Nanny-Photographer's Life Into Focus

In their new documentary Finding Vivian Maier, John Maloof and Charlie Siskel profile a reclusive photographer and her undiscovered photo archive.
Vivian Maier Courtesy of IFC Films

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 11:53 am

Is an artist's life relevant to her reputation as an artist? Not so much, perhaps, but many of us want the bio anyway, especially when the artist in question is as tantalizingly elusive as Vivian Maier (or Mayer, or Meyer, as she variously spelled it to confound the curious), a reclusive Chicago nanny whose posthumously discovered trove of street photographs swelled into a cause celebre after her death in 2009.

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History
9:46 am
Mon March 24, 2014

A Woman Ahead of her Time: Mabel Osgood Wright

Bird Sanctuary. Postcard, ca. 1914. View of the main building at the Bird Sanctuary in Fairfield, Connecticut, established by Mabel Osgood Wright.
The Connecticut Historical Society

Few professions were available to women in the second half of the 19th century, and certainly not the medical profession. Although thwarted in her ambition to become a doctor, Mabel Osgood Wright made a name for herself as both a writer and a photographer.

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Where We Live
8:44 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Remembering Ireland's Great Hunger; Asylum Saxophone Quartet

Irish Peasant Children, Daniel McDonald (1847)

This week, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, even if we aren’t Irish.

But sadly, this holiday meant to celebrate a heritage doesn’t really go too much deeper than green beer and shamrocks in the public consciousness.

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Science
5:06 am
Thu March 20, 2014

The 500-Pound 'Chicken From Hell' Likely Ate Whatever It Wanted

Courtesy of Bob Walters

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 4:07 pm

For the past decade, dinosaur scientists have been puzzling over a set of fossil bones they variously describe as weird and bizarre. Now they've figured out what animal they belonged to: a bird-like creature they're calling "the chicken from hell."

There are two reasons for the name.

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Where We Live
8:15 am
Mon March 17, 2014

The Ongoing Debate Over Tribal Recognition

One of the big issues surrounding tribal recognition in Connecticut is the construction of more casinos.
Credit David Zeuthen / Creative Commons

Before Thomas Hooker founded the Colony of Connecticut, before Europeans even knew this land existed, the indigenous people already lived off the land. But over hundreds of years, the United States of America grew into what it is today, and the indigenous people were only granted small slices of land if they are "recognized" by the federal government.

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Comic books
6:20 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Fans Revive Connecticut-Based Charlton Comics 30 Years After It Closed

After Charlton went out of business, many of their artists, like John Severin, Steve Ditko, Pat Boyette, Gray Morrow and Alex Toth contributed to Mort Todd's Monsters Attack! magazine.
morttodd.com Monsters Attack #4, September 1990

What began as a joke on Facebook ended up reviving the work of a Connecticut-based comic book company that went out of business more than 30 years ago.

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History
10:53 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Behind the Stockade: Andersonville Prison

Sergeant Aretus Culver, 16th Connecticut Infantry. Photograph by William A. Terry, ca. 1862. The Bristol native died within six weeks of his release from Andersonville.
The Connecticut Historical Society, 2010.66.113

Prisoners of war have long been an emotional subject. From 17th Century conflicts with Native Americans to the war in Afghanistan, the fate of POWs has aroused deep concern. Tales of mistreatment and brutality, from the notorious British prison hulks of the American Revolution to Vietnam’s “Hanoi Hilton” and beyond, have spurred contemporaries to protest and moved later generations to ponder man’s inhumanity to man.

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New Haven
2:37 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Lecture Gives Voice to Remarkable African American Women From Connecticut

Anna Louise James at the soda fountain where she was pharmacist and owner, Old Saybrook, c. 1909-1911.
Credit Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute / Harvard University

The lives of African American women throughout Connecticut history will be discussed at a lecture titled, "The Struggle for Full Rights as Citizens: The Voice of African Americans at the New Haven Museum," Thursday night at the New Haven Museum.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:19 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

The Unfolding Evolution of Origami

Robert J. Lang's Yellow Jacket.
Credit Terri D'Arcangelo

How do you make a 100 meter telescope that folds down to 3 meters so you can tuck it inside a space vehicle? How do you make a heart stent that folds out inside the human body? In each case, researchers have turned to masters of origami, the thousand year-old art of paper folding.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:15 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Hartford Was the Typewriter Capital of the Country

Greg Fudacz is a typewriter collector, enthusiast, and a pseudo-typewriter historian
Chion Wolf

In the second season of the Netflix series, House of Cards, the protagonist Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, pulls out an old family typewriter, an Underwood of course, to write a pseudo-heartfelt letter to the President.

Frank's father gave him the typewriter saying this Underwood built an empire. Now you go build another.

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History
11:59 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Frances Laughlin Wadworth: Sculpting the Past

Interior of Frances Wadsworth’s studio. Photograph, 1940s. Frances made meticulously detailed models of her sculptures before creating the final sculpture.
The Connecticut Historical Society, 1983.74.14

Frances Laughlin Wadsworth certainly left her mark on the art world.  She also left it scattered about the city of Hartford.  Frances Laughlin was born in Buffalo, New York, on June 11, 1909 to Frank and Martha Laughlin. She graduated from St. Catherine’s School in Richmond, Virginia, and studied art in Europe under the tutelage of famous sculptors.  An avid painter as well as sculptor, Frances identified painting as more of a hobby, like her interest in gardening, than as a serious art endeavor in line with her sculpture.

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Early Punk Pics
10:31 am
Fri March 7, 2014

A New Exhibit Focuses on New Haven's Punk Past

Tom Hearn captured this candid shot of Debbie Harry after a photo shoot for "Punk" magazine in 1977.
Tom Hearn

Part of The Elm City's rock and roll past will be on display in an exhibit opening Friday night at Cafe Nine in New Haven. It's called The Early Years of Punk in New Haven, and features the work of photographer Tom Hearn.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:58 am
Tue March 4, 2014

It's Grammar Day! Is My Exclamation Point Wrong?

Peter Sokolowski is Editor-at-Large at Merriam-Webster.
Chion Wolf WNPR

It's National Grammar Day, a time to take stock of the current status of the English language, and possibly get into bitter fights.

I'm old school. I'm the kind of person who will only use "not only" if I intend to follow it with "but also." That's probably a convention that died the quiet death of a feverish sloth many years ago. But I know what's right, and sometimes it feels like I'm helping to hold the language together even as it drifts into chaos.

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Tracing Your Roots
6:39 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Proposal Could Allow Adoptees to Access Birth Certificates

The legislation would allow adopted adults to access their birth certificate.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / Katelyn Kenderdine

A proposal that went before the Public Health Committee could allow adopted children access to their birth certificate if they are age 21 or older.

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History
11:51 am
Fri February 28, 2014

The Great Ice Storm of 1898

Greenwoods Road from Carl Stoeckel Mansion, Norfolk, Connecticut. Photograph by Marie Kendall, 1898.
The Connecticut Historical Society, 1981.58.6

Ice. It is both a beauty and a menace, often simultaneously. From February 20 to February 22, 1898, an ice storm swept through northwestern Connecticut, coating tree branches and utility wires.

Roads were treacherous and slippery. Tree branches, weighed down with ice, broke and fell, rendering some streets impassable. The storm knocked out electricity and telegraph and telephone communications, and closed the trolley lines in parts of the state. The railroad trains kept running, though their tracks had to be cleared of branches and debris, and they arrived well behind schedule.

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Technology
12:03 am
Thu February 27, 2014

The Web At 25: Hugely Popular, And Viewed As A Positive Force

A 1992 copy of the world's first Web page. British physicist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 1:58 pm

For something that's become so ubiquitous in our lives, the World Wide Web is just a youngster. It was only 25 years ago that Tim Berners-Lee first created a rudimentary information retrieval system that relied on the Internet. It's since exploded into a primary means by which we learn, work and connect. (To put things in perspective, the film Die Hard is older than the World Wide Web.)

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The Faith Middleton Show
11:26 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Smithsonian: Meaning of Family Heirlooms

Credit Tadson Bussey/flickr creative commons

From Faith Middleton: A chair… letter… diary… clock… coin… jewel… car… house… meat grinder… what makes a family heirloom have powerful meaning, even if it has little monetary value? That question will be answered when you read The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects by Richard Kurin.

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History
10:45 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Battling Bat Battalino: One of Hartford’s Heroes

Christopher "Bat" Battalino, born 1908. He won the world professional championship as a featherweight from Frenchman Andre Routis in September 1929 at the Velodrome in East Hartford.
The Connecticut Historical Society, Manuscript Collection

From the streets of Hartford to Madison Square Garden was a giant leap for featherweight boxer Christopher “Bat” Battalino. Born in Hartford in 1908, Battalino quit Brown School after the fifth grade to work in a tobacco factory. He got his boxing start in amateur bouts, and went all the way to the national amateur featherweight championship before turning pro when he was 21 years old.

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Winter Olympics
2:07 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Sochi Was Once A Vacation Spot Fit For A Dictator

A wax sculpture of Stalin sits behind the desk he used at the dacha. From the time he first began to visit the villa, Stalin was signing death warrants for his rivals — and living in fear of retribution.
Natalia Kolesnikova AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 8:02 pm

Long before it became an Olympic host city, Sochi was a favorite getaway for one of history's most ruthless dictators: Josef Stalin.

The Soviet leader had a villa built in the hills overlooking the Black Sea, and he visited it during some of the most tumultuous years of his reign.

The villa, known as Stalin's dacha, or summer house, was built in 1934, and he used it until the end of World War II in 1945. No Soviet or Russian leader after Stalin is known to have visited it.

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