history

Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Malls Are Dying, Long Live the Mall!

Will you end up in a mall on Black Friday?
Credit jpellgen / Flickr Creative Commons

Thanksgiving is this week and as the holiday shopping season comes upon us, we’ll look at one of the iconic American institutions: the shopping mall. We’ll talk with a writer at The Atlantic Cities who says that despite how engrained it is in our culture, the mall is preparing to retire. We'll also hear a class piece from radio producer Jonathan Mitchell. He produced a soundscape of his hometown mall called "City X."

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Where Do I Start?
11:01 am
Fri December 20, 2013

A Taste of Duke Ellington

Miles Davis quote from "Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington."
Credit Creative Commons Image / WNPR

So much music and so little time.

On today's Where We Live, we could have spent the entire time just playing Duke Ellington's music. Since we didn't play any of the songs in their entirety, we're sharing the playlist below with the songs that you heard on the show.

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History
11:00 am
Fri December 20, 2013

What Did Santa Bring? Presents Under the Tree 100 Years Ago

Armstrong Christmas tree surrounded by presents. Photograph by William Dudley, ca. 1924. Muriel Armstrong lived in Groton, Connecticut.
The Connecticut Historical Society, 1995.36.1583

"For Muriel Armstrong From Santa" These words are written on a child’s easel blackboard sitting next to a tree decorated with tinsel, beads, glass ornaments and even an American flag. Other presents, including dolls, a sewing set, Bradley’s Toy Village, and “Denslow’s One Ring Circus and Other Stories” surround the tree. This black and white photograph captures the Christmas morning scene for a comfortable Connecticut family about 100 years ago.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri December 20, 2013

As Relevant as Ever: the Music of Duke Ellington

The musical influence of Duke Ellington survives long past his death.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Duke Ellington is one of the pivotal figures in jazz. He was a pianist, composer and bandleader whose impact lasted well beyond his death. Terry Teachout joins us in studio to talk about his new book, Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington. We’ll also talk to local musicians about Ellington’s musical influence on their work.

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Music
11:38 am
Thu December 19, 2013

From Duke's 'Nutcracker' To A Cynical Carol, Jazz For Christmas

Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn collaborated to release The Nutcracker Suite in 1960.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 9:35 am

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History
11:53 am
Fri December 13, 2013

An Inconvenient Season: Charlotte Cowles’s Letters from December 1839

Catherine. Hand-colored lithograph by E.B. & E.C. Kellogg, ca. 1840. Nineteenth-century women wrote a lot of letters. The young woman in this print was a contemporary of Charlotte Cowles.
The Connecticut Historical Society, 2003.147.0

Today we do not think of Farmington and Hartford being distant from each other, but in 1839 it was a journey not to be taken lightly. That is why Charlotte Cowles in Farmington wrote frequently to her brother Samuel in Hartford, asking him to do errands for her. On December 5, 1839, she requested that he procure the type of whale bones generally used in bonnets from Mrs. Orcutt, a milliner. Charlotte also asked him to find a yard and three quarters of “backing” to put under the stove in their keeping room.

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Newtown: One Year Later
12:33 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Documenting an Outpouring of Grief in Newtown

A child sent this note to Newtown.
Ross MadDonald

Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 first graders and six educators dead. WNPR will bring you stories throughout this week looking at the impact of that tragedy on our community.

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History
2:00 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Transit of Venus: German Scientists Visit Hartford

Map of the 1761 transit of Venus, from Astronomy Explained Upon Sir Isaac Newton’s Principles, by James Ferguson, F.R.S, London, 1794.
The Connecticut Historical Society, Thomas Robbins collection, 14 Connecticut Historical Society

In December 1882, a German scientific commission sent a team of astronomers to Hartford, Connecticut to observe a rare astronomical event. The transit of Venus (when the planet passes between the earth and the sun) occurs in eight-year pairs, and those pairs occur every 121½ or 105½ years. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the transit was an important opportunity for scientists to calculate the distance between the earth and the sun—the basis for the astronomical unit.

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:33 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Historic Preservation in Connecticut

Credit F. D. Richards/flickr creative comons

What makes a building worth preserving? Why do we choose some structures, and ignore others?

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History
1:23 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

The Last Wolf in Connecticut

Putnam’s Cave or Wolf Den. Drawing by John Warner Barber, ca. 1835. The story of Putnam and the wolf was an oft-repeated tale throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Connecticut Historical Society, 1953.5.313
Connecticut Historical Society

Israel Putnam is a name that stands out in the colonial history of Connecticut as a war hero of the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. Prior to his wartime glory, he earned the nickname “Wolf Putnam” by killing what was believed to be the last wolf in Connecticut when he was a young farmer in the eastern Connecticut town of Pomfret.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:27 am
Tue November 26, 2013

The Dark Side of Zen

Golden Palace Kinkaku-ji, Zen Buddhist Temple, Kyoto, Japan
Credit Carles Tomas Marti on Flickr Creative Commons

Here in the West, Zen Buddhism is often where you go when you've concluded the religion you grew up with is marred by venality, hypocrisy, misogyny, patriarchal structure, and an insufficient commitment to peace and love. 

Buddhism seems to have less hierarchy and more commitment to pure enlightenment and oneness. So, what do Buddhists do when Buddhism falls down on the job?

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History
5:20 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Battle Among the Clouds: the Chattanooga Campaign

Street view of Chattanooga. Photograph by an unknown photographer, ca. 1865. Like other photographs in this sequence, this one was evidently taken shortly after the war. The Connecticut Historical Society, 2013.225.2
Connecticut Historical Society

The words of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, memorializing the Civil War’s largest battle to date, were still echoing when Union and Confederate forces engaged in yet another large scale engagement in late November 1863. This time around the North’s rising military star, Ulysses S. Grant, commanded the Union forces.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
9:36 am
Fri November 22, 2013

The Nose Pays Tribute to Melodrama

Irene Papoulis teaches in the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric at Trinity College
Chion Wolf

Today, on The Nose, well we can't entirely ignore the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, but the subject is so vast we can only break off one little part. We're going to focus on an essay by Adam Gopnik and published in The New Yorker a couple of weeks ago. Gopnik probes the question of exactly what changed as a result of the crime and its murky aftermath. 

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Where We Live
8:41 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Groundbreaking Mayors, and Ten Years of StoryCorps

New Haven Mayor-elect Toni Harp. Art installation structure by Eric Epstein.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

This hour, two stories, and a story about stories. Toni Harp talked about breaking a glass ceiling when she was elected mayor of New Haven earlier this month. The veteran state legislator fought back a tough challenge from Justin Elicker to become the first female mayor of the Elm City. We talk about her personal voyage to city hall, and her vision for New Haven. 

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Anniversary
5:03 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Remembering JFK By Rewatching His Inaugural Address

President John F. Kennedy delivered his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1961.
AP

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 10:20 am

Very few of us need to be reminded about what happened 50 years ago today in Dallas.

And with all the remembrances of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in the news media this week, there's no need for us to post yet another.

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History
2:58 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Hartford's "Little Italy"

Mazzafera Family Photographs, photographed by Di Gangi Studio, early 20th c. Ida Mazzafera, one of the little girls on the right, was Gennaro Capobianco’s mother. The Connecticut Historical Society, Gift of Gennaro J. Capobianco, 2005.180.21.1
Connecticut Historical Society

In the early 1900s, Hartford was a booming economic center. Italy, on the other hand, suffered both economically and socially. Hundreds of thousands of Italian men looked for unskilled work in other countries, with many eventually headed to the United States. Hartford’s potential job opportunities attracted Italians and soon the city’s number of immigrants increased dramatically. Many of the Italian men became construction laborers building factories, housing, and railroads.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:01 am
Fri November 15, 2013

The Nose is (Really) Not Racist

Elizabeth Keifer is a Professor of English at Tunxis Community College
Chion Wolf

Here's the plan for The Nose today. We'll begin with a widely discussed column by Richard Cohen of The Washington Post who took an odd detour from a discussion of Chris Christie's national electoral profile and suggested that conventionally-minded people have to repress a gag reflex when confronted with the sight of an inter-racial couple, specifically the new first family of New York City. 

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The Protojournalist
12:01 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Who Were You When JFK Was Shot?

A composite image of Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Randall Kennedy and James Billington.
Courtesy of Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Randall Kennedy and James Billington

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 8:53 pm

The usual question for Americans on an Anniversary of National Significance is: Where Were You When...?

Where Were You When you learned that: Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot on April 4 in 1968? Neil Armstrong walked on the moon on July 21, 1969? The twin towers of the World Trade Center were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001?

But there is another question of orientation: Who Were You When ... a certain nation-changing event occurred?

This is who I was — 50 years ago this month — when I heard that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.

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50 Years After JFK's Assassination
5:15 pm
Sun November 10, 2013

Inconsistencies Haunt Official Record Of Kennedy's Death

Jacqueline Kennedy (center), with Edward and Robert Kennedy on either side, watches the coffin of President John F. Kennedy pass on Nov. 25, 1963.
Keystone/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 10, 2013 1:03 pm

The first thing T. Jeremy Gunn says when you ask him about President John F. Kennedy's assassination is, "I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I don't have a theory about what happened."

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Europe
5:18 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Bearing Witness To Nazis' Life-Shattering Kristallnacht

View of a destroyed Jewish shop in Berlin on Nov. 11, 1938, after the anti-Semitic violence of Kristallnacht. The pogrom unleashed Nazi-coordinated attacks on thousands of synagogues and Jewish businesses.
Keystone-France Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 10, 2013 2:26 pm

On a busy street in Berlin's shabby-chic district of Kreuzberg, the gray and dirty pavement glistens with little brass cobblestones. Millions of these stones are embedded in sidewalks all over Europe. They commemorate the last address the city's Jewish residents called home before the war.

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Where We Live
10:51 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Education in Darien, Insurance Industry Update, and Objects of American History

FDR's Microphone, part of the literary exhibition "The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects."
Credit Cade Martin, Smithsonian Institute

This summer we covered the Department of Education investigation into Darien’s special ed program. Since then, the superintendent has resigned and the school is dealing with a forensic audit.  Today we’ll check back in with Darien Times reporter David DesRoches for the latest.  

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History
10:34 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Eighty-Five Hundred Souls: the 1918-1919 Flu Epidemic in Connecticut

Ward 83, American Red Cross Military Hospital Number 1. Photograph, 1918. Many American soldiers suffered from influenza while serving in the United States and Europe during World War I. The Connecticut Historical Society, Gift of Mrs. Fritz W. Baldwin.
Connecticut Historical Society

Every year, each winter, flu season hits. Citizens are urged by the government and healthcare workers to get flu shots, to protect themselves and others against the disease. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that between the years 1976-2007, the number of deaths from flu in the United States has ranged from 3,349 in 1986-87 to 48,614 in 2003-04. It is the 1918-1919 outbreak of Spanish influenza (also classified as H1N1), however, that is remembered as one of the deadliest natural disasters in history.

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History
4:05 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Saving the Scattered Remnants: Samson Occom and the Brotherton Indians

Reverend Samson Occom. Lithograph, 1830s. This later portrait is based on an engraving made in Europe during the 1780s. The Connecticut Historical Society, 1843.6.00
Connecticut Historical Society

Today the word Mohegan evokes thoughts of a casino, the Mohegan Sun. In the 18th century the most famous Mohegan was probably Samson Occom, a Native American preacher and teacher, who also served as a tribal councilor, herbal doctor, fisherman, hunter, farmer, and was a father, husband, and brother.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
9:43 am
Fri November 1, 2013

The Nose: Selfies at Funerals and Other Assorted Opportunists

Jim Chapdelaine
Chion Wolf

  

On today's Nose we're stuffed into the facade of the XL Center in Hartford on Trumbull Street. Come on over and join the live audience.

We got interested in funeral Selfies, the practice more common than you might think among young people taking smart phone pictures of themselves at a funeral or memorial service.  You can well imagine our first reaction. Is there any basis on which this practice is defensible.

We're always interested in public relations disasters, and this week they happened to Senator Rand Paul, in an odd case of plagiarism, Jay-Z , caught in a collaboration with Barney's. The upscale clothing store. Another public relations disaster is brewing a few blocks from where we sit as civil rights attorney Gloria Allred sets up yet  another  UConn press conference today. All this and more.

Leave your comments below, email us at colin@wnpr.org, or tweet us @wnprcolin. 

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New Haven
1:52 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Skeletons Unearthed During Superstorm Sandy Reveal Some Historical Details

Credit Des Colhoun / Creative Commons

One year ago on Halloween eve, there was a surprising discovery on the New Haven green. It was just days after Superstorm Sandy, and trees had blown down all around town. A giant oak tree toppled over on the green, and there, tangled in its roots, were centuries-old human bones.

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Colonial game
1:21 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Before There Was Baseball, There Was Wicket

One of two wicket bats belonging to Bristol's Manross Library
Ray Hardman WNPR

Before the rise of baseball, early Americans played a host of ball and bat games, with names like rounders, stool ball and tip-cat. One of these games, wicket, was by far the most popular of them, especially in Connecticut, where for a few decades in the 1800s the sport was even more popular than baseball.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
9:47 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Connecticut Legends & Lore

Walter Woodward is an associate professor of History at the University of Connecticut and the Connecticut State Historian
Chion Wolf

Ok, Ok, you're a super-rational public radio listener but you live in a place drenched in supernatural legend. In fact, historians like David Hall and David Hackett-Fischer have argued that the new world was imbued with notions of magic and superstition from Jumpstreet. One of the paradoxes of the Puritan migration was that even as they imported a belief system that rejected popish superstition in favor of what they saw as leaner, cleaner Calvinist faith, they somehow also brought all kinds of magical nuttiness. And, you could say it never left. 

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Weighty History
9:43 am
Thu October 31, 2013

William Taft's Yale Days Show Humor, Struggle With Obesity

William Taft's custom-made chair, courtesy Yale University Art Gallery.
Uma Ramiah

America’s 27th President, William Howard Taft, has been in the news recently. New research finds that a diet prescribed for the nation's portliest president looked very similar to today’s low-carb, low-calorie diets. William Howard Taft was a Yale man who weighed 225 pounds when he graduated from college.

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History
10:59 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Creepy Connecticut: Thrills and Chills on a Behind-the-Scenes Tour at CHS

Corpse Preserver. Sold by C. Rogers & Co., ca. 1876. Behind-the-Scenes Tour guests thought our “corpse preserver” was creepy. The Connecticut Historical Society,Gift of William C. Ruot, 1994.128.1
Connecticut Historical Society

Shivers ran down the collective spine of visitors, and at least one person took several steps back, and stayed a safe distance away. What scared the history out of these participants in a Behind-the-Scenes tour at the Connecticut Historical Society one Saturday early in October? The Corpse Preserver, a coffin-shaped contraption raised on ornate metal legs, which was designed to preserve bodies and allow them to be viewed by mourners. 

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History
1:55 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Through a Different Lens: Three Connecticut Women Photographers

Through a Different Lens: Three Connecticut Women Photographers is on view now at the Connecticut Historical Society through March 29, 2014. It explores the work of three photographers, and uses objects to provide technological history.
Connecticut Historical Society

Today, many people carry cameras around with them in their pockets or purses; the iPhone 4, 4s and 5 are the three most popular cameras on the photo-sharing site Flickr. With cameras all around us, it’s difficult to imagine an era in which making a photograph was a time-consuming process that required an understanding of chemistry and a willingness to cart around heavy equipment and inhale noxious fumes, but upon its invention in 1839, and for several decades after, it was just that.

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