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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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.  

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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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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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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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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New Haven
10:16 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Yale's Beinecke Library Turns 50

Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript library opened it's doors 50 years ago.
Lauren Manning Creative Commons

Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library opened its doors 50 years ago this month. The library is celebrating this weekend with a series of events that incorporate items from their collection.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:25 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

What Urinals, Jock Straps, Flip Shades and Eye Black Teach Us About Baseball

Eddie Plank, Philadelphia
Library of Congress

It's become a cliché to say everything has a story, but in baseball, you could make the argument that everything really does. Even the baseball itself is a story -- one of geography and symbolism -- an almost holy relic of American culture. Sportswriter Steve Rushin tells the story of these objects in his latest book, The 34-Ton Bat.

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12:36 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Reckoning With the Dutch: the Treaty of Hartford, 1650

New Netherlands and New England. Map published by Willem Blaeu, Amsterdam, 1635.
The Connecticut Historical Society, 2012.172.1

In 1650, representatives from New Netherlands and New England met in Hartford to try to settle their boundary disputes. The Dutch trading post called the Huys de Hope—the House of Hope—located on the Connecticut River at the mouth of the Little River had been established in 1633; Thomas Hooker and his party had arrived three years later, establishing Hartford just upstream from the Dutch post. English settlers kept pouring in during the 1630s and 1640s, establishing new towns up and down the river and along the coast.

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Shellfish History
11:21 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Any Month with an “R” in It: Eating Oysters in Connecticut

An Oyster Supper, 1852-1853. Hand-colored lithograph by Elijah Chapman Kellogg . Oysters were a popular food in Connecticut during the 19th century.
Connecticut Historical Society, 1980.43.2

An old myth maintains that you should only eat oysters during those months with the letter “R” in their names. This was both because of the higher bacteria content—and therefore the greater chance of disease—during summer months, and because of the health hazards associated with shipping raw seafood in an age before refrigeration.

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Make Your Own
3:23 pm
Sun September 29, 2013

Taste Of Grandma's Kitchen: We Hack An Old Ketchup Recipe

Editor's Note: This post is part of All Things Considered's Found Recipes project.

Although Heinz may dominate the ketchup scene, 100 years ago it wasn't uncommon to make your own at home. So why bother doing so now, when you can just buy the bottles off the shelf? At least one man, Jim Ledvinka, was motivated by nostalgia.

"Oh, yes — we remember my grandmother making ketchup. And it was quite a sight to behold," Ledvinka says.

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6:14 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Yung Wing's Dream: The Chinese Educational Mission, 1872-1881

Yung Wing. Wood engraving from Harper's Weekly, 1878.
The Connecticut Historical Society, 1979.46.21B

Yung Wing had a dream. He wanted Chinese youth to study American technology to improve China’s engineering and infrastructure. As a boy, he had attended Monson Academy in Massachusetts and then graduated from Yale in 1854. Upon his return to China, he became a strong advocate for the western education of Chinese students, and was able to convince the Chinese government to support his project. He was assisted in large part by the 1868 Burlingame Treaty that provided for mutual rights of residence and attendance at public schools for citizens of the United States and China. 

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4:41 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Peabody Museum's Great Hall of Dinosaurs to Undergo $30 Million Facelift

Peabody's Great Hall of Dinosaurs
Amy the Nurse Creative Commons

When the Peabody's Great Hall of Dinosaurs opened in 1931, it was a state of the art exhibit, reflecting years of meticulously mounted fossils, and information for visitors based on the most current research on dinosaurs. Derek Briggs, director of the Peabody Museum, said that in the 80 years since its opening, scientists know a lot more about dinosaurs. "For example," he said, "the giant Saurapod, known as Apatosaurus, is depicted in a very static way [in the exhibit]. The notion at the time was it perhaps couldn't even hold up its weight. We now know this was a very active animal that lived in groups, and could move like a modern elephant."

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:05 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

The Ebb & Flow Of Dada

Jeff Poole is a Connecticut artist, and curator of the Dada Art Show in Hartford, which opens this Thursday the 26th at the Pump House Gallery in Bushnell Park.
Chion Wolf

It's an art form that came out of the chaos of World War One, when times were desperate, yet the art world was still celebrating still lifes, landscapes and nudes. In protest, artists began rebelling with politically aware ironic work, making bold, sometimes vicious points with their art. Times have changed, and Dada resurfaces periodically, like in the exhibition at the Pump House in Hartford opening on the 26th.

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11:01 am
Sat September 21, 2013

Preserving Connecticut's Natural Beauty

Connecticut State Park Picture Plan. . Map published by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, 1929.
The Connecticut Historical Society, 2012.312.61.

 Kent Falls State Park, Kent, Conn. Postcards, ca. 1920s. Credit: The Connecticut Historical SocietyEdit | Remove Mount Tom, Bantam, Conn. Postcard, ca. 1910. Credit: The Connecticut Historical SocietyEdit | Remove

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1:24 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

A Most Delightful Map

Courtesy of Massimo Pietrobon

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 2:07 pm

Think about this: You wake up in New York City, decide to go for a stroll, head east after breakfast, and a short time later, still on foot, you find yourself in Morocco. Three hundred million years ago, you could have done that! There was no civilization back then, no cities, no countries, no people, but the land was there, so take a look at this map.

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11:36 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Disaster at Cold Harbor

Corporal Thomas Fox, Co. B, Second Connecticut Heavy Artillery. Photograph by Beers & Mansfield, New Haven, 1864.. Fox holds the Second’s regimental flag. Though the unit originally consisted primarily of Litchfield County men, Fox hailed from Norwich.
Connecticut Historical Society

Connecticut’s response to the firing on Fort Sumter and Lincoln’s call for three-month volunteer troops was immediate and significant. Throughout the state, men of military age enlisted for what most people thought was going to be simply a show of strength that would dissuade southerners from supporting secession.

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Connecticut's Flagship
7:46 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Amistad America: State Funds Used Appropriately

Freedom Schooner Amistad is Connecticut's flagship.
Ed G (Flickr Creative Commons)

The executive director of Amistad America Inc., a New Haven-based non-profit, asserts that all money it has received from the state has been used appropriately. Amistad America owns and operates the Freedom Schooner Amistad, and recently lost its non-profit status after falling behind in filing federal tax returns.

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Where We Live
1:48 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

A New England Kind of Racism

Tiffani Jones
Chion Wolf

We all heard the story. Dave Chappelle had a bad night in Hartford. He got heckled, he walked offstage. He later called the audience “evil”.... “an arena full of suburban torturers” and “young, white alcoholics” as he joked about North Korea dropping a bomb on the Capital City.

We may be a laugh line for Chappelle, but does Hartford deserve the bad press? The label as a place filled with racists?

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American Revolution
9:52 am
Sat September 7, 2013

Blood on the Hill

By 1781 it was becoming apparent to both sides that outright British victory in the American Revolution was unlikely, in part due to the commitment of French troops and other resources that would culminate in the successful Yorktown campaign in October 1781.

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8:21 am
Tue September 3, 2013

200 Years After His Death, A Connecticut Slave Will Be Buried

Fortune, a Connecticut slave during the 18th century.
Credit Courtesy of the Mattatuck Museum.

More than 200 years after his death, the remains of an 18th century Connecticut slave will soon receive a proper burial.  

The slave is known as Fortune. He, his wife, and three children were owned by a doctor whose medical practice was in Waterbury. 

After Fortune died, the doctor used his skeleton as a teaching tool for students. Later, it was donated to the Mattatuck Museum and put on display. The skeleton was called “Larry." After the display was removed in the 1980s, researchers  determined that the bones were, in fact, those of the slave,  Fortune.

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:00 am
Mon September 2, 2013

On Second Thought and Tories

Credit TZA/flickr creative commons

Our brains are marvels, hard-wired by millions of years of evolution to boast a number of mental shortcuts, biases, and tricks that allow us to negotiate our complicated lives without overthinking every choice and decision we have to make.

Unfortunately, those ancient shortcuts don't always work to our advantage in our modern lives-when we don't also think slowly and rationally, those hard-wired habits can trip us up.

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12:24 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Take Me to the Fair

Trivia Question: In which state, besides Connecticut, does a verified grandchild of the Charter Oak tree grow?  Missouri.  On May 3, 1904, during the Dedication Ceremony of the Connecticut State Building at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, a seedling from the grounds of Mr. James Holcombe was planted in front of the State Building.  That grandchild of the Charter Oak is one piece of evidence that symbolizes Connecticut’s participation in World’s Fairs from the late nineteenth century through the early twentieth century.

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