history

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. 

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.

Fashion's Changing Silhouettes

Jun 6, 2014
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.  

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. 

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.

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.                                                                                                                                       

Cashel Man

Jun 3, 2014
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.

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.

An Unlikely Pair of Portraits

May 30, 2014
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.

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

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.

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.

Bill Hammond / Creative Commons

On May 18, the American Radio Relay League celebrated its 100th anniversary. It's the largest association of ham radio hobbyists in the United States, headquartered in Newington.

A Revolution On Two Wheels: Columbia Bicycles

May 23, 2014
Gift of Aetna / Connecticut Historical Society, 1994.204.3

The return of spring weather has prompted a marked increase in bicycle traffic all over Connecticut. Country roads, city streets, and scenic rail trails are filled with cyclists of all ages. But how many know that Connecticut played a prominent role in developing not just bicycles, but the market for them?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Author Dan Brown has written some of the biggest blockbuster books, from The Da Vinci Code to his latest book, Inferno. He’s coming to Hartford next month to talk with John Dankosky at the Bushnell. This hour, he joins us for a preview of that conversation.

Brad Clift / WNPR

The Mystic River saw history this weekend as the world's last wooden whaling vessel, the Charles W. Morgan, made its way from its longtime home at Mystic Seaport to New London, where its restoration will be completed.

Curtis Veeder Builds His Dream House

May 16, 2014
Connecticut Historical Society

If you visit the Connecticut Historical Society, at One Elizabeth Street in Hartford, you will discover an unusual and intriguing building that was originally built as the home of industrialist Curtis Veeder. Veeder began to plan this house in 1925, and moved in with his wife and two daughters in 1928.  He lived here until his death in 1943. Mrs.Veeder lived in the house until 1950 when she sold it to the Historical Society. It has been adapted for other uses, but it still reflects Curtis Veeder’s personality, talents, and interests.  

Courtesy of Mystic Seaport.

The only wooden whaling ship in the world, the Charles W. Morgan, will leave her home port of Mystic Seaport this weekend for the first time in more than 70 years.

Shana Sureck / WNPR

If you ask Michael Fazio how long he’s been in the pipe organ business, he’ll say, “How do I get out of it?”

One oft-employed generalization about The Kids These Days is that they've grown up free from the legalized discrimination and racial neuroses of older generations, and they will live in a more multicultural world with less racism. But do we even know if that's true?

MTV, that reliable weather vane of popular youth culture, wanted to find out. It polled a nationally representative sample of people ages 14 to 24 about their views on bias and identity.

Asylum Hill Congregational Church

Long a welcoming haven for jazz, Asylum Hill Congregational Church embraces Duke Ellington’s sacred music Sunday, May 18, at 4:00 pm as it presents "The Best of the Duke Ellington Sacred Concerts" with full-scale, soulful re-creations blessed with four mighty choirs singing, a powerhouse jazz band swinging, and a tap dancer tapping in the historic Hartford church’s majestic sanctuary.

John Smith of Jamestown / Creative Commons

When friends say they're going to Paris I make them promise to get a Plan de Paris,  which is a pocket-sized book of little maps and one big, huge fold-out map which you never use because it makes you look like a befuddled tourist and it's really hard to fold back into the little book. But the Arrondissement maps and Plan are essential. If you have them, you'll understand where you are and where you're going. If you don't, not so much. My point is this-it's just not true that we don't need or use maps anymore. 

Creative Commons

To whom might one compare Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Reading the new book by Alex Beam, I found myself thinking about Bill Clinton. 

Hepburn Returns to Hartford

May 9, 2014
Connecticut Historical Society Collection, 2000.171.199

Katharine Hepburn’s relationship with Hartford was strong and deeply rooted; it was her birthplace, her hometown, and a place she both supported and to which she always came back.

The Spirit Level

May 8, 2014
Doug Kerr / Creative Commons

a terza rima for the New Britain Industrial Museum

Hard hittin' New Britain, some of my students intone
to describe their home for a few years or a lifetime
in that depressed part of Hartford County once known

by relics in unphotographable pre-European times
as a fertile hunting and fishing ground by the Tunxis,
Quinnipiac, Wangunk, Podunk and Mattabesett tribes

Unknown Painter / Wikimedia Commons

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is the religious version of recession food. Since the end of the Civil War, the Mormon membership numbers have grown every single year, and quite often they've grown at an astonishing pace.  In the late 1970's and 80's, they added members at a rate of 5-6% a year. Today, their worldwide membership is around 15 million. 

Martin Pettitt / Flickr Creative Commons

We crave color. Think of the Spring trip you make to the park, that has beautiful tulips or multicolored roses in the Summer. Think of the enormous travel industry that springs up around fall foliage every year.

The Ukrainian government is describing its offensive against pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country as an "anti-terrorist operation," language that offends the separatists and Russia.

In turn, Russia is using even stronger language, saying that the Ukrainian military has launched a "punitive operation." While that may not carry any special meaning to Western ears, it has far more sinister implications for Russians.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

As May begins, Connecticut's tourism industry is gearing up in earnest for the summer season ahead. And there's cautious optimism that receipts may be up once again this year. One Old Saybrook business is investing in the future.

Katharine Hepburn: The Personal Wardrobe of a Star

May 2, 2014
Connecticut Historical Society, 2009.62.6

From a very young age, Katharine Hepburn was a sporting enthusiast. She relished time spent outdoors playing golf, tennis, and swimming. In her film and stage career, she did many of her own stunts; even advancing age didn’t deter her. This love of movement and comfort greatly influenced her personal style. She held fast to her own informal style even while becoming one of Hollywood’s glamorous movie starlets.

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