history

The Faith Middleton Show
9:44 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Smithsonian: Meaning of Family Heirlooms

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
11:27 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Mistress of the Veeder House

Louise Stutz Veeder, charcoal drawing, 1922.
Connecticut Historical Society, 2010.161.0.

On August 9, 1962, the Hartford Public High School flag was flown at half-staff in tribute to Mrs. Louise Stutz Veeder, a former teacher, who had just died at the age of eighty-eight.  

Louise Stutz was born in Lucerne Switzerland in 1874 and grew up in Switzerland and Germany.  After studies at the University of Lausanne and in Leipzig, Germany, she emigrated to the United States in 1896 at the age of twenty-two.  For the next twelve years, she taught French and German at Hartford Public High School.  She became a naturalized United States citizen in 1905.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Germany: Who Are You Now?

Credit MomentCaptured1 / Creative Commons

Two snapshots: The first from the publication American Bazaar, right after the German World Cup win. "In the city of Leipzig, a solitary car scuttled along, with the flag attached to the roof. Waving the flag has yet to catch on. Jan Hoffman, who works in Frankfurt, was in New York when 9/11 happened.  'I had never seen so many flags in my life. Here, there are hardly any, although we won football's greatest tournament.

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Ancient Giants
9:06 am
Mon July 14, 2014

This Ancient Bird Had the Largest Wingspan Ever

Pelagornis sandersi was an ancient marine bird with a wingspan nearly twice as large as anything living today.
Reconstruction Art by Liz Bradford

An extinct species of bird just discovered may have had the largest wingspan ever. The animal lived 25 million years ago and was found buried at an airport.

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History
11:38 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Scandal in the Beecher Family

The Beecher Family. Photograph by Rodgers based on an original by Mathew Brady, 1860s. The family was split on the question of Henry Ward Beecher’s guilt or innocence.
Mathew Brady, 1860s. The Connecticut Historical Society, 2014.100.15.

The story reads like a soap opera. In 1870, Theodore Tilton accused his wife of being unfaithful to him with the popular preacher Henry Ward Beecher, and Elizabeth Tilton confessed. After her confession, she spoke with the Reverend Beecher and said that she hoped the confession would help to mend her relationship with her husband by restoring trust. Beecher implored her to take back her confession and restore his good name. Elizabeth retracted her confession, but after speaking with her husband a second time, she retracted her retraction the very same night.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Thu July 10, 2014

70 Years Later, the Hartford Circus Fire Still Burns

Propound Creative Commons

On July 6, 1944, a circus tent in the North End of Hartford caught fire. The tent covered three blocks. It was gone in six minutes. 

Roughly 170 people died. You'll understand my imprecision as we go along. Five employees of the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter, and served minimal prison sentences. One of them, James Haley, was so unscarred by this that he later served for 24 years in Congress.

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National History
12:24 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Celebrating Sam Colt Is a Delicate Affair

Jack Hale, senior warden at the Church of the Good Shepherd.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

Guns have a long history in Connecticut. They've also been the focus of a great deal of recent debate. Both that history and the debate are now at the heart of delicate discussion: how do you plan a birthday party for Sam Colt, the man who made the gun that won the West? 

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History
8:38 am
Tue July 8, 2014

The Pride of Hartford

Engine No. 1, Clapp & Jones fitted with gas-electric tractor. Photograph, 1914.
Horace B. Clark Collection Connecticut Historical Society

The largest artifact in the collections of the Connecticut Historical Society is a nine-ton fire engine. When the Clapp & Jones steam pumper was first purchased by the Hartford Fire Department, it was drawn by three big fire horses. In 1914, when the fire department was becoming motorized, the old pumper was fitted with a gas-electric tractor, prolonging its working life. It saw service in major Hartford fires for more than four decades.

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Hard Hittin' History
2:48 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Voices From the Hardware City

Fafnir Bearing Company.
New Britain Industrial Museum

New Britain may lose its baseball team to Hartford, another blow to a city that, over the years, has lost many of its jobs, and many of the the iconic brands associated with the city.

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History
11:09 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Katharine Hepburn, Fenwick and the Hurricane of 1938

Katharine Hepburn surveys the devastation of the 1938 hurricane on the site of her family’s summer home in Fenwick, CT.
Connecticut Historical Society, 2009.62.5.

Katharine Hepburn’s mother, “Kit” Hepburn, insisted that the Fenwick house would withstand the rising tides and the gale-force winds. After 25 summers spent with the extended Hepburn clan filling the house, it felt like a permanent fixture in their lives, and it remained a touchstone and retreat for daughter Katharine even after her Hollywood career brought her fame and success. Katharine had spent the morning outdoors, pursuing her usual Fenwick activities, playing nine holes of golf and swimming in the swelling surf.

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History
9:26 am
Mon June 23, 2014

American Chairs, Made in Connecticut

Windsor furniture on display in Making Connecticut, an exhibit about 400 years of Connecticut history.
The Connecticut Historical Society

There is something very American about a Windsor chair. Although its name points to England, where the chair’s style and manufacture emerged in the early 1700s, this immigrant furniture found its way into every American home, from a restful rocker in a small Yankee farm house to the seats of the Founding Fathers in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.

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Connecticut First
4:39 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Cedar Hill Cemetery to Celebrate 150th Anniversary

One of Hartford's Crown Jewels turns 150 years old this year. Cedar Hill Cemetery is the final resting place for the city's most prominent natives, from actress Katharine Hepburn to gun maker Samuel Colt, as well as financier J.P. Morgan, and the founder of anesthesia, Horace Wells.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu June 19, 2014

The Second Amendment, Colt, and Tracing Guns

Emily Stanchfield Creative Commons

The Second Amendment is just 27 words long, but it has caused more debate than just about anything else in the Constitution. "It’s confusing and self-contradictory and we spend a lot of time trying to figure out what its clauses and commas mean," said Michael Waldman, author of the new book The Second Amendment: A Biography. We talk to him about the history and odd syntax of this Amendment and the debate over it that was renewed by the tragedy in Newtown.

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No-No
7:47 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Dodgers' Ace Kershaw Notches His First No-Hitter

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (left) celebrates his no-hitter with his teammates after striking out 15 Colorado Rockies batters.
Chris Carlson AP

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 11:41 am

The no-hitters just keep coming. That's the case for the Los Angeles Dodgers, as the team's pitchers have thrown two games without giving up a hit in less than a month. Clayton Kershaw used 15 strikeouts to complete the feat Wednesday, matching teammate Josh Beckett's May 25 effort.

Getting the no-hitter was "pretty cool," Kershaw said after throwing 107 pitches in the game.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Thu June 19, 2014

A Salute to Banjos!

Chion Wolf WNPR

Maybe you think of the banjo as primarily a bluegrass instrument, but try not to forget that prior to about 1830, it was played pretty much exclusively by African-Americans, and it seems to have as ancestors several African instruments. 

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Middle East
9:54 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Yale Architects Help Build First Peace Park in the Middle East

Jordanian and Israeli flags fly above the bridge over the Yarmouk River, the gateway to Peace Island
The Friends of the Earth Middle East

A team of Yale Architects is lending their expertise to the first ever peace park in the Middle East.

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History
3:29 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

A Fascination With Magic

Albert G. Walker. Photograph by Charles T. Stuart, ca. 1885. Walker was a much younger man when he performed his magic acts.
Charles T. Stuart Connecticut Historical Society. 2007.4.1.88

Harry Houdini, David Copperfield, Doug Henning . . . Albert Walker? The first three names are well-known magicians. But who is Albert Walker?

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History
6:54 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Anchor Recovered In Puget Sound May Have Been Lost In 1792

A screen grab from The Seattle Times shows the anchor beofre it was hoisted from the bottom of Puget Sound.
The Seattle Times

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 7:52 pm

More than two centuries after one of the ships in British Capt. George Vancouver's flotilla lost an anchor in Puget Sound, a group of amateur divers are convinced the object they've brought to the surface is the very same.

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:53 am
Mon June 9, 2014

An Epic, Multimedia Outdoor Spectacle: Terra Tractus 2014

Terra Mirabila 2005 Earth Cooling

An epic meditation, multimedia outdoor spectacle with lasers, dance, drums, music, sculpture, water, fire, science, technology, climbers, shadows, and projections: Witness the geological, climatic anthropological history of the Stony Creek Quarry as it evolves through ancient history to our projected future. 

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The 38th Voyage
7:57 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Charles W. Morgan Undergoes Sea Trials

On board the Charles W. Morgan as it's being towed out to Long Island Sound.
J Holt WNPR

The world's last wooden whaling ship has taken to the water under her own power for the first time in almost 100 years.

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History
11:34 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Fashion's Changing Silhouettes

Silhouettes. 1860-1960. These dresses from the CHS collection illustrate the changing shape of women's clothing between the 1860s and 1960s.
Connecticut Historical Society

Fashion has changed exponentially over the last two centuries.   In the 1860s women wore thickly boned corsets, multiple petticoats, steel hoop skirts and dresses, always dresses.  But between the 1860s and 1960s, women’s fashion shifted from grand hoop skirts to short miniskirts.  

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Polish Stories
9:57 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Poland's Anniversary of Democracy a Time to Remember

Lech Wałęsa speaks at Gdańsk Shipyard's gate during the strike of 1980.
Polish magazine "Znak" Creative Commons

This week's big anniversaries of the Normandy Beach invasion 70 years ago, and the crackdown in Tiananmen Square 25 years ago have taken away from another important milestone: the 25th anniversary of Polish freedom from Communist rule. 

President Obama marked the anniversary in a speech, but the real reason for his visit was to highlight the success of Poland in the last quarter-century, while vowing NATO support for Ukraine in its struggle for independence from Russian influence. 

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Code Switch
9:14 am
Thu June 5, 2014

The Modest Bus Station At The Center Of A World-Changing Confrontation

When the Freedom Riders arrived in Montgomery, they were greeted by an armed, racist mob, while the local police were conspicuously absent.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 3:38 pm

EDITOR'S NOTE: This summer, we'll be regularly spotlighting sites on the National Register of Historic Places that have some significance to issues of race and culture.

The Montgomery Greyhound Station, Montgomery, Ala.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:06 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Digging Deep Into Connecticut's Underground History

Researchers dig for remnants from the British raid on Essex during the War of 1812 in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.
Credit Courtesy of Jerry Roberts

    

Connecticut's history is well documented throughout Connecticut museums and historic villages, but there's much more  that we have yet to discover, much of it underground. 

Today, we're partnering with Connecticut Explored, Connecticut's history journal, to tell a series of underground stories.                                                                                                                                       

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Verse and Voice
12:00 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Cashel Man

TechnoHippyBiker Creative Commons

Cashel, Ireland, 2,000 B.C.

In ancient Ireland, bogs were sacred
areas; a cool wetland mirage meters
deep of peat during demoralizing
drought. Greenish-brown landscape
of mystery, insufferably slow plant
growth. What must a farmer have
thought as his wife offered a vessel
of golden butter to appease a merciless
deity? He plunges his hand deep into
the bog, brings a handful of drenched
soil to his eyes, squeezes and watches
as his hairy forearms stain a deep rust.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon June 2, 2014

The Art and Power of Poetry

Poet and author Maya Angelou.
Credit York College ISLGP / Creative Commons

When the great poet Maya Angelou died last Wednesday, we learned about it during a conversation about the death penalty. Maybe you learned about it while reading about deadly violence in Ukraine, or the search for the kidnapped girls in Nigeria. 

Her death was sad news, to be sure. We don’t think we're the only ones who felt forced to step back from the news and consider the beauty and power of words.

This hour, in memory of Maya Angelou’s spirit, we welcome a group of Connecticut poets into our studio to read their work and try to measure the art and power of poetry.

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History
2:14 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

An Unlikely Pair of Portraits

Etha Town. Oil painting by Nathaniel Jocelyn, 1826.
The Connecticut Historical Society, 2004.25.1

The lovely lady with the eager look in her eyes is Etha Town, the daughter of Ithiel Town, a New Haven architect, and the inventor of the Town truss, used in covered bridges throughout the nineteenth century. The portrait of his daughter was painted in 1826, the year Etha married William Thompson Peters, a recent Yale graduate. She was 19 years old.

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Code Switch
1:23 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

The Desire For A Reckoning Meets The Wish For A Reset

Since 1989, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., has introduced into each session of Congress a bill called HR 40, Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 11:45 am

The title of Ta-Nehisi Coates' much-discussed cover story at The Atlantic, "The Case for Reparations," might be something of a misnomer.

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Ham Radio
5:04 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

Celebrating 100 Years Of Ham Radio

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 10:34 am

This month marks the centennial of the American Radio Relay League, the largest ham radio association in the United States. That means it will be a special year for the hundreds who converge annually on W1AW, a small station known as "the mecca of ham radio" in Newington, Conn., to broadcast radio signals across the globe.

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Interviews
2:03 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

During World War II, Even Filmmakers Reported For Duty

Maj. Frank Capra sits at his War Department desk in Washington on March 6, 1942. Capra's non-War Department films include It's A Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.
AP

This interview was originally broadcast on March 3, 2014.

When America entered World War II, some of Hollywood's most celebrated directors enlisted and risked their lives. But they weren't fighting — they were filming combat.

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