history

50 Shades of Cave
2:16 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Looking Beyond Notions Of Erotica In Prehistoric Art

This carved ivory figurine of a woman, found in a cave in southern Germany in 2008, is estimated to be at least 35,000 years old.
Daniel Maurer AP

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 3:10 pm

In the realm of prehistoric art, there's a type of small figurine made of stone, bone or ivory that is famous. It features exaggeratedly large breasts, hips and buttocks.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:43 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Open Wide, This Won't Hurt a Bit: The Discovery of Anesthesia

Elizabeth Egloff is an award-winning playwright whose many plays include The Swan, The Lover, Wolf-Man and most recently, Ether Dome, currently in production at Hartford Stage. She's also an adjunct professor of Playwrighting at Vassar and Barnard College
Chion Wolf

Living in Hartford almost all my life I've known for years the story of Horace Wells. At least, I know the story I know, which is that Wells was a Hartford dentist who introduced anesthesia. He may have been the first but I've always known there were other pretenders to that crown. 

I also knew that Wells became addicted to one of those products and died a horrible, tragic and ignominious death.

But, that's all I knew and I wondered how widely known that story was. 

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Hardware City
8:19 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Remembering New Britain's Industrial History

Fafnir Bearing Company.
New Britain Industrial Museum

What was Hardware City like in its heyday? Today, it’s hard to imagine: a packed downtown, with 35,000 factory workers, and life revolving around the factories.  

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:08 am
Mon September 15, 2014

The Scramble on the Middle East, Child Abuse Laws, and The Roosevelts on PBS

Credit Wikimedia Commons

On Sunday, the New York Times ran an article full of President Obama's behind-the scenes reflections and conversations about ISIS and the Middle East. From that article: "He was acutely aware that the operation he was about to embark on would not solve the larger issues in that region by the time he left office. 'This will be a problem for the next president,' Mister Obama said ruefully, 'and probably the one after that.'"

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon September 15, 2014

The Middle East Conflict's Roots in Geography

The map of the modern Middle East.
Cathy Stanley-Erickson Creative Commons

Last week, President Barack Obama made his case for increased U.S. intervention in Iraq and Syria. His plan to continue air strikes, and increase the arming of those opposed to the so-called Islamic State, commonly referred to as ISIS or ISIL, has been met with some resistance from a war-weary public and Congress. But national security expert Scott Bates thinks that working with Iraqi Kurdish forces could be the key to defeating this extremist organization.

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History
12:57 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Samplers and School Supplies: Back to School in Colonial Connecticut

Hornbook. This reproduction hornbook is on view in the exhibition "Making Connecticut" at the Connecticut Historical Society.
Connecticut Historical Society

It’s back to school season in Connecticut. The school buses are out, Labor Day has come and gone, and stores are full of families shopping for new clothes and school supplies. While children today are looking for new binders and markers, children growing up in colonial Connecticut would have had school supplies of a very different kind.

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Television
2:12 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

3 Roosevelts Come Alive In PBS Documentary, Ken Burns' Best Yet

In this undated photo, Theodore Roosevelt waves to a crowd.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 3:28 pm

Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his most resonant and famous line during his presidential inauguration speech of 1933: "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief, that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." It was resonant because he was being defiant, and optimistic, in the face of the Great Depression — and it was famous because it was broadcast live, to the entire nation, on the relatively new medium of radio.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:39 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Beyond Conjunction Junction: A Conversation with Bob Dorough

Bob Dorough.
Credit Mind Meal / Wikimedia Commons

You're about to meet a very special guy. There's a good chance you already know him, if you were in the generational cohort whose lives were enriched by Schoolhouse Rock. More than any other person, Bob Dorough put his unique musical stamp on that show and its offerings. But Bob Dorough is so much more.

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History
12:51 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

The Sporty Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn on set with Spencer Tracy.
Courtesy of the Judy Samelson Collection. The Connecticut Historical Society

Katharine Hepburn relished wearing slacks at a time when most women would never consider such a clothing item as an every-day element of their wardrobes. Although Hepburn’s choices were unusual at the time, the idea of sportswear was becoming more and more popular. American designers began creating clothing made from knits with the primary purpose being comfort, practicality, and ease of movement.  Pants were designed but not widely adopted outside the home, until  Hepburn along with some of her more liberal minded contemporaries made pants chic.

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Jazz Corridor
10:36 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Willie Ruff, Jazz Eminence and Master Storyteller, Tells All at Yale Art Gallery

Willie Ruff.
Vincent Oneppo

Willie Ruff, the celebrated French horn player and double bassist, venerable Yale School of Music professor, founder/director of Yale’s prestigious Duke Ellington Fellowship Program, award-winning author, documentarian, historian, linguist, ethnomusicologist, and voracious autodidact, is a man of so many intricate, smoothly running, coolly calibrated cerebral parts that he is, indeed, one of the jazz world’s true Renaissance figures.

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Climate Change
3:30 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Old Ship Logs Reveal Adventure, Tragedy And Hints About Climate

Logbook for the Jeannette, a ship that became trapped in ice, dated Sept. 5, 1879.
Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 8:36 am

What can yesterday's weather tell us about how the climate is changing today? That's what an army of volunteers looking at old ships' logs is trying to answer through the Old Weather project.

One of those volunteers — or citizen scientists, as the project calls them — is Kathy Wendolkowski of Gaithersburg, Md.

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The Faith Middleton Show
12:05 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects

Credit Tadson Bussey/flickr creative commons

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
10:17 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Bringing up a Star: the Hepburn Family of Hartford

Tea in the yard at 133 Hawthorne Street, Hartford, ca. 1912. Teatime at the Hepburns’ was a daily ritual, and the children were encouraged to listen to the conversation.
Houghton Collection Courtesy of Katharine Houghton and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford, CT

In addition to being a well-known actress and a fashion icon, Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003) was also known for being outspoken and fiercely independent. Her outlook on life was influenced by her remarkable parents who valued speaking one’s mind and acting boldly.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Connecticut Work Life: Past, Present, and Future

American Woolen, Stafford Springs.
American Woolen Company

In 1894, a new national holiday was created -- a day when American workers could retreat from harsh work conditions and long hours to spend some time with family and friends. The holiday was called Labor Day.

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Americana
11:26 am
Thu August 28, 2014

"Woody Sez," the Life and Music of Woody Guthrie at Theaterworks in Hartford

David Lutken is the devisor of "Woody Sez" and portrays the lead character.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Legendary American folk singer/activist Woody Guthrie, is best known for his classic song, "This Land is Your Land." All of his music gives voice to a restless and profoundly American search for freedom: artistically, politically, and personally.

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Litchfield
12:14 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

State Sells Historic Litchfield County Jail

The former Litchfield County jail, built in 1812, is at 7 North Street in Litchfield. It's one of the oldest penal facilities in Connecticut.
LitchfieldBZ YouTube

The state of Connecticut has sold the historic former Litchfield County jail to a real estate investor for $130,000. 

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History
10:46 am
Fri August 22, 2014

A 9,000-Pound Alarm: The Hartford Fire Bell

City of Hartford fire alarm bell, made by the Jones & Co. Troy Bell Foundry, 1881.
Connecticut Historical Society collection, gift of the Hartford Board of Fire Commissioners, 1931.14.0

Visitors to the Connecticut Historical Society might notice a massive bronze bell resting quietly outside at the corner of the Asylum Street parking lot. This behemoth weighs more than four tons, and once played a very loud role in the city. From 1881 to 1921, it towered over the headquarters of the Hartford Fire Department at 43 Pearl Street, warning residents of fire and sending firefighters out to save lives.

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Television
3:30 am
Fri August 22, 2014

TV's New Doctor Who Has An Old Connection To The Series

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman star as The Doctor and Clara Oswald on the BBC science fiction drama Doctor Who.
Ray Burmiston/Ali BBC America

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 3:02 pm

TV's longest-running science fiction program is about to get a new hero ... sort of.

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Dark Connecticut History
7:00 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Elephant Slaughter, African Slavery And America's Pianos

Louis E. Pratt, master ivory cutter for Pratt, Read & Co., shows off eight ivory tusks, April 1, 1955.
Courtesy of Deep River Historical Society

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 7:35 am

The illegal trade in ivory from African elephants has tripled in the past 15 years, to the extent that biologists fear for the creatures' future existence.

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History
1:23 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Curtis Veeder’s Other House

Dedication Plaque located at the entrance to Penwood State Park.
Will Conard-Malley

While Curtis Veeder’s house at One Elizabeth Street in Hartford has been preserved as the home of the Connecticut Historical Society, that structure was not Veeder’s only house. About 1911, he acquired a large tract of land straddling the town line between Bloomfield and Simsbury on Talcott Mountain, just down the ridge from Heublein Tower. There, he built a cottage that he called Penwood. The land that was once his today is Penwood State Park.

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Earthquake
9:54 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Expert Says There's Nothing Shocking About Deep River Earthquake

UConn geophysics professor Vernon Cormier said seismic activity in and around Deep River has been reported since colonial times. Here he demonstrates how the sway of buildings in an earthquake is like an upside-down pendulum motion.
University of Connecticut

Residents of Deep River were awakened by an earthquake this week. The 2.7 magnitude earthquake was recorded at about 3:09 am Thursday morning. Residents said they heard a loud boom, and their houses briefly shook. No injuries or damage were reported.

According to the U.S. Geological survey, the earthquake's epicenter was located in the southwest section of Deep River, in an part of the state known for frequent seismic activity.

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1814 Bicentennial
9:13 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Stonington Remembers Its Extraordinary Battle

The Stonington Battle Flag is carried in the parade marking the bicentennial of the conflict
Harriet Jones WNPR

In August of 1814, the tiny village of Stonington scored an unlikely military victory by repelling the might of the British Navy. This weekend, the town celebrated the bicentennial of that extraordinary battle.

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History
9:48 am
Fri August 8, 2014

A New Level of Performing Artistry: Carmina Burana at the Hartford Ballet

Scene from 1986 production of Carmina Burana.
The Connecticut Historical Society, 2001.75.

The Carmina Burana, a medieval collection of poetry, illustrating the fate of man through life, was set to music by the German composer Carl Orff and was first performed at Frankfurt-am-Main in 1937.  Following the Second World War, Ernst Uthoff, a German refuge, created a ballet based on the work for the Chilean National Ballet, which he founded. The production toured throughout South America, and appeared New York’s Lincoln Center in 1962.

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Crime Fiction
10:58 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Mystery Writer Evokes The Sights, Sound And Grime Of 1970s New York

The Empire State Building shines while Greenwich Village remains dark during the 1977 New York City blackout.
Carlos Rene Perez AP

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 9:08 am

Crime fiction writer Lawrence Block lives in New York's West Village, in a stately art deco building overlooking Abingdon Square. He bought an apartment there decades before actress Jennifer Aniston did. (She sold hers shortly thereafter.) Block is 76, silver-haired and keen-eyed; and in his pastel shirt and khakis, he looks decidedly more Hamptons than downtown.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:04 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Memories of Watergate

Richard Nixon as he leaves the White House for the last time, August 8, 1974
Credit Tonynetone / Creative Commons

It's been 40 years since former President Richard Nixon resigned the presidency over Watergate. But, the story of Watergate is almost impossible to tell. It's too big and too murky. It's full of files that were burned and a tape that was erased. It's full of characters named McCord and Magruder and Mitchell, who are hard to keep track of. With each passing year, it becomes more of an inert thing and less of a breathing, wriggling, writhing creature.  

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Vision Quest
8:57 am
Mon August 4, 2014

How Do You Give an Eye Exam to a Fossil?

The fossil of Acutiramus cummingsi was remarkably well preserved, allowing scientists to gauge the vision of a creature that lived hundreds of millions of years ago.
Yale University

How do you give an eye exam to a creature that's been extinct for hundreds of millions of years? First, you need a fossil -- a really well-preserved fossil.

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History
2:58 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Putting History on the Map

Plan of the Town of New Haven With all the Buildings in 1748.
Drawn by James Wadsworth. Engraved by Thomas Kensett, 1806. The Connecticut Historical Society, 2012.312.1.

All maps are historical.  They represent specific moments in time and very quickly become out of date as new towns are incorporated, new canals or railroads or highways are built.  Some maps, however, are not only historical, but deliberately retrospective.  They represent a time other than the time in which they were made, sometimes a time within the living memory of the mapmaker, sometimes an historic era long past.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Fri August 1, 2014

The Nose of the '90s Is Alive in Hartford

Theresa Cramer is a writer and the editor of E-Content Magazine, where she covers the world of digital media
Chion Wolf WNPR

Can you ever make sense of a whole decade? That's what the National Geographic Channel tries to do with its three-part documentary on the '90s. So we get Bill Clinton, the building of the internet, Waco, O.J., the Oklahoma City bombing, Prozac, Starbucks, Tanya Harding, Kurt Loder, In Living Color, Rodney King and Reginald Denny, Anna Nicole Smith, the rise of SUVs and NMA, the fall of the Walkman and Tamagotchis, the Great Gretzky... This is starting to sound like a Billy Joel song.

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Capitol History
4:56 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Ghost Cats And Musket Balls: Stories Told By Capitol Interns

Interns who host tours on Capitol Hill, stopping at sites like the small Senate rotunda, don't always have their facts straight.
The Architect of the Capitol

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 11:04 pm

Every summer thousands of interns flood the offices of Capitol Hill. One of their primary duties is to give constituents tours of the famous buildings. They parade visitors from the rotunda to statuary hall, offering stories and anecdotes.

But while these intern tours provide a great deal of information, they are sometimes a little short on actual history.

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History
10:39 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Strictly a First Class Theater

Maude Adams at the Goodwin Mansion on Woodland Street in Hartford.
Connecticut historical Society, 1964.106.0dt

Late 19th and early 20th century Hartford offered the public many theater and concert venues to choose from, but if one wanted to see the newest shows from New York, there was really one place to go: the Parsons Theatre on Prospect Street. Parsons Theatre was to turn-of-the-20th-century Hartford what the Bushnell is today.

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