As Connecticut emerges from beneath the record amounts of snow left by a series of storms that started in December and continued into February, residents should temper their relief with caution. For it was in the middle of March that the most massive and destructive snowstorm in New England history struck: the Blizzard of 1888.
As much as we romanticize the Leatherman, Connecticut's most famous vagabond, we should remember too that the post Civil War era -- his era -- was a time of tramp laws, meant to discourage exactly the sort of person he was.
In 1758, Sarah Halsey spent countless hours quilting a beautiful petticoat. But why spend so much time on a garment that no one will see? The term petticoat has evolved over time and began by referring to a skirt when separate from the bodice. As a result, there are two types of petticoats: under petticoats (unseen) and petticoats (seen). Sarah Halsey’s petticoat fits into the second category, those meant to be seen. Everyone she passed could marvel at her skills with needle and thread.
Will Hochman, who teaches at Southern Connecticut State University, is one of these walking encyclopedias of all things J.D. Salinger.
Mr. Salinger, of course, wrote the iconic Catcher in the Rye, and other books, then stopped communicating with the outside world in 1965. As with any famous recluse, absence creates a sensation of interest and for him the long cat and mouse game began.
Fredericka Carolyn "Fredi" Washington was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1903 and died in Stamford, Connecticut in 1994. Fredi began her career as a dancer at the Cotton Club in Harlem during the 1920s. She appeared in Black and Tan, a short film featuring Duke Ellington and his orchestra, in 1929 and went on to career in motion pictures. She is most famous for her portrayal of Peola in Imitation of Life (1934). Peola, a light-skinned young African-American woman, chooses to pass as white in order to escape racial discrimination.
Corporal William L. “Willie” Norton, Company B, 10th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, missed his sweetheart. Jennie E. Annis was home in Buckland (Manchester), Connecticut. Willie was fighting in the South with the Union Army. The Connecticut Historical Society recently acquired two letters written by Willie to Jennie. The first was written in March 1863 from Island St. Helena, South Carolina, and the second was written from Seabrook Island, South Carolina in July 1863.
In 1783, many Connecticut residents gathered around the State House on Main Street in Hartford, CT to celebrate the end of the Revolutionary War with a huge bonfire. To everyone’s surprise, some of the burning embers set fire to the roof of the State House. Although the building survived it was so badly damaged that a new one had to be built leading to the erection of the structure we know as the Old State House today.
Movies are usually beautiful lies. If you want to learn about history, read a history book. The most a movie can do is kind of light you up, in a vague way, about its historical subject. You watch "Gandhi," maybe you get why Gandhi was such a big deal.
After days of shoveling and scraping Connecticut residents may be happy to hear there’s been a prediction for an early spring. It came from Connecticut’s official state groundhog.
The Lutz Children’s Museum in Manchester takes in wild animals that have been injured. Including a female groundhog who bears the weighty title, "Connecticut Chuckles the Seventh". Early this morning she went outside, sniffed the air and looked around, but did not see her shadow, according to Bob Eckerd, the executive director of the museum.
When the stock market crashed in 1929, Benjamin Roth was a young lawyer in Youngstown, Ohio. After he began to grasp the magnitude of what had happened to American economic life, he decided to set down his impressions in his diary.
Everyone remembers final papers and final exams from their school days, but a final needlework sampler? The female academies attended by students in the 19th century used samplers as a way to track the progress of student needlework. Throughout Connecticut, girls (and a few young boys) completed samplers as a way to both practice their stitching and track their progress.
Connecticut is well-known for its role in the mass-production of firearms through the genius of 19th Century pioneers like Eli Whitney, Simeon North and Samuel Colt. But what came before the Industrial Revolution made its mark? Through the 18th century Connecticut gunsmiths like Benoni Hills of Goshen produced superb fowling long-barreled hunting guns (known as fowling pieces) that served their owners well in peace and in war. These early gunsmiths produced their weapons one at a time, mirroring the craft tradition found in furniture-, clock- and silver-making.
How do we know what we know about the daily lives of people in the 18th and 19th centuries? Primarily through their diaries and letters, which make up a large proportion of the research materials at the Connecticut Historical Society.
Women and girls, particularly in the 18th and early 19th centuries, spent a great deal of time either making textiles or sewing textiles to make clothing or utilitarian objects. For example, in May 1784, eighteen year-old Hannah Hadassah Smith wrote in her diary (Ms 1009):