history

sreenisreedharan / Creative Commons

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

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

A Woman Ahead of her Time: Mabel Osgood Wright

Mar 24, 2014
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Behind the Stockade: Andersonville Prison

Mar 14, 2014
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.

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.

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.

Frances Laughlin Wadworth: Sculpting the Past

Mar 7, 2014
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.

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.

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.

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.

The Great Ice Storm of 1898

Feb 28, 2014
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.

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.)

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.

Battling Bat Battalino: One of Hartford’s Heroes

Feb 21, 2014
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.

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.

Chion Wolf

Here's a little bit of Civil War history that seems to have started here in Connecticut. It was in this month of February in 1860 that Cassius Clay, a Kentucky planter turned anti-slavery crusader spoke in Hartford not far from where we're doing this show today. He was accompanied by a torch-bearing honor guard in capes and caps. The Hartford Courant called these young men "wide-awakes." 

President's Day: High Profile Connecticut Visits

Feb 17, 2014

"Connecticut has always been a kind of magnet for Presidents," says state historian Walt Woodward.

The Sweetheart’s Portrait

Feb 17, 2014
The Connecticut Historical Society, 1981.122.1

In the 1860s, the Kellogg brothers of Hartford, Connecticut published a lithograph called “The Sweetheart’s Portrait.” The print was so popular that it was reissued at least once and it was also reproduced as a photograph.  It shows two fluffy white cats playing with a small oval painted portrait of a young woman attached to a ribbon and chain.  Such portraits had gone out of fashion twenty years earlier, when photography replaced painting as the primary means of portraiture.

Most people know Abraham Lincoln for his achievements as president. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation and held the nation together through the trauma of the Civil War. His Gettysburg Address is one of the best known in American history.

But what you might not know is that Lincoln cooked.

From his childhood to his days in the White House, food played an integral part in shaping Lincoln's life, food historian Rae Katherine Eighmey tells Tell Me More's Michel Martin.

Cecil Stoughton / LBJ Library Photos

Fifty years ago in his state of the union address, President Lyndon Johnson declared "war on poverty." Today, there are still 50 million people in poverty in the U.S. But Yale Historian Jennifer Klein said that number doesn't mean Johnson's war was a failure.

Crooner Wade Visits Hartford

Feb 12, 2014
Adam Wade/Orbit Records

Besides being the first African-American to host a network TV game show, the versatile crooner/actor Adam Wade has enjoyed a more than half-century career crowned by countless appearances on stage, screen, and television, and a glorious, too brief flurry of chart-busting recordings in the 1960s. Among his hit singles was his tuneful trifecta of romantic ballads in 1961, "Take Good Care of Her," "As If I Didn’t Know," and "The Writing on the Wall." 

The Connecticut Historical Society, 2001.111.1

Made of cut paper, silhouettes present a black image on a white background. The technique was widely used for small profile portraits, which enjoyed great popularity in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In an age before photography, a silhouette was an inexpensive way to record the features of a loved one. Many were the work of itinerant artists who traveled from town to town cutting portraits.

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