history

They were some of the largest, hairiest animals ever to walk the Earth, but new research shows a big part of the woolly mammoth's diet was made up of tiny flowers.

The work is based on DNA analysis of frozen arctic soil and mammoth poop. It suggests that these early vegans depended on the flowers as a vital source of protein. And when the flowers disappeared after the last ice age, so too did the mammoths that ate them.

United Press International / Creative Commons

In February of 1964, the Beatles appeared not once, but on three consecutive Sunday nights on "The Ed Sullivan Show," attracting what was the the largest audience in television history, and still might be the largest percentage of all possible viewers. To some of us, the whole thing is still kind of exciting 50 years later. But why?

Connecticut Historical Society, 2000.24.1

Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Company, Connecticut’s first nuclear power plant, began commercial operation, in Haddam Neck, on January 1, 1968. It was a time of high expectations for the economic potential of peaceful nuclear energy. An enthusiastic 1962 article in the Hartford Courant, titled “Atoms Now Power Homes,” predicted that nuclear power would soon compete with coal and oil. New England’s first station, Yankee Rowe, had begun operation in Massachusetts in 1961.

Joseph Holmes / Creative Commons

It was the 1980s and I was a busy musician in New York City. Mine was an eclectic musical life as both a violinist and singer. One day I was seated in a chamber orchestra playing classical violin, the next I was gigging on my electric fiddle and singing back-up in a folk/Latin band.

One day, Mike, the leader of a folk band I played with, called to say that he and I were going to drive Pete Seeger to a music festival in Washington, D.C.

Archaeologists excavating a site in central Rome say they've uncovered what may be oldest known temple from Roman antiquity.

Along the way, they've also discovered how much the early Romans intervened to shape their urban environment.

And the dig has been particularly challenging because the temple lies below the water table.

At the foot Capitoline Hill in the center of Rome, stands the Medieval Sant'Omobono church.

Pete Seeger, "a tireless campaigner for his own vision of a utopia marked by peace and togetherness," died Monday at the age of 94.

As former NPR broadcaster Paul Brown adds in an appreciation he prepared for Morning Edition, Seeger's tools "were his songs, his voice, his enthusiasm and his musical instruments."

The songs he'll be long remembered for include "If I Had a Hammer," "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone."

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.

Legacy Of Forced March Still Haunts Navajo Nation

Jan 27, 2014

Musician Clarence Clearwater, like so many Navajos, has moved off the reservation for work. He performs on the Grand Canyon Railway, the lone Indian among dozens of cowboys and train robbers entertaining tourists.

"I always tell people I'm there to temper the cowboys," says Clearwater. "I'm there to give people the knowledge that there was more of the West than just cowboys."

The Astronomical Event of the Century

Jan 24, 2014
Photograph by Fred Turner, 1925 / The Connecticut Historical Society, X.2000.7.52

Snow covered the ground and the temperature hovered at zero degrees on the morning of January 24, 1925. Businesses were closed—or planned to open late—as crowds gathered on hilltops and rooftops throughout Connecticut. Special trains brought visitors from Boston and elsewhere in Massachusetts and scientists from around the country joined colleagues at Yale, Wesleyan, and Trinity. The sun had come up as normal, but about 8:30 am it began to grow dark again, as the moon passed between the earth and the sun.

shehal / Creative Commons

In 1905, a young German physicist proposed an equation that would forever change our perception of special relativity. His name was Albert Einstein and his equation was E = MC2. Over a century later, Einstein’s theory of relativity still stands as one of science’s greatest achievements. It established Einstein as one of the 20th-century’s greatest celebrities, and one of history’s greatest thinkers.

Mstyslav Chernov / Creative Commons

Shortly after protests began in Ukraine, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy flew to Kiev and met with the anti-government demonstrators. 

"The protesters are down there because they’re sick of seeing a government that too often resorts to violence, that has become endemic with corruption and is moving toward Russia instead of towards the European Union," said Murphy. 

We hear more from Murphy about the recent, violent developments in the Kiev protests.

On the outskirts of London, in a basement room of the British National Archives, a historian delicately turns pages that have the brittle feel of dead leaves. Each is covered in text — some typewritten, some in spidery handwriting from a pen that scratched across the page 100 years ago.

"Saturday, the 26th of September, 1914," reads one. "The most ghastly day of my life. And yet one of my proudest, because my regiment did its job and held on against heavy odds."

Apple's Mac Computer Turns 30

Jan 22, 2014

This coming Friday marks the 30th anniversary of the first Apple Mac that went on sale.

NPR technology correspondent Steve Henn joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss the genesis of the Macintosh, the future of Apple and how the Mac has influenced both Apple and the technological world.

[Youtube]

Frank Hurley

Years ago, I needed a book for a long plane ride home from Austin, Texas. My cousin threw me a tattered paperback. It looked mediocre at best: on the cover was an iceberg, a ship, and the word ENDURANCE in bold letters.

A short time and several chapters later, I would start what some would call an obsession with a man named Ernest Shackleton, and one of the most incredible adventure/survival stories ever. 

Last fall, curators and interns at the New York State Museum were digging through their audio archives in an effort to digitize their collection. It was tedious work; the museum houses over 15 million objects. But on this particular day in November, they unearthed a treasure.

Win McNamee/Getty Images / Thinkstock

Monday marks the official observance of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. To honor the occasion, "Connecticut First" is airing a special edition of the weekday news segment with Eric Clemmons. Watch the segment below or catch it on CPTV on Monday at 6:56 pm. It tells the story of the two summers King spent in Simsbury picking tobacco while on college break.

Library of Congress

You may not think of Connecticut as a slave state, but in the mid 1700s, New London County held more slaves than anywhere else in New England. Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison referred to our state as the "Georgia of New England."

This fact is one of many that can unsettle our Yankee sensibilities. Connecticut residents, especially white ones, grow up thinking they were on the right side of abolition, of the civil war, and later, of the civil rights movement. But the history, and the real path for African Americans who live in the state, is much more complicated. 

Dressing Gowns: Loungewear of Old

Jan 17, 2014
Hand-colored lithograph by E.B. & E.C. Kellogg, 1845-1846. 1994.13.0. / Connecticut Historical Society

Today many people cannot wait to arrive home after a long day at work and exchange their work clothes for something more relaxing, comfortable, and cozy. This is not a new phenomenon. Even before the nineteenth century, men and women sometimes wore informal and less confining clothing at home and in informal social settings. These dressing gowns, as they were primarily known, allowed people to appear fashionable while remaining comfortable.

In 1895, legislators in New York state decided to improve working conditions in what at the time could be a deadly profession: baking bread.

"Bakeries are actually extremely dangerous places to work," says Eric Rauchway, a historian at the University of California, Davis. "Because flour is such a fine particulate, if it gets to hang in the air it can catch fire and the whole room can go up in a sheet of flame."

Harry Townsend / Works Progress Administration

Before the position of lieutenant governor existed, the Colony of Connecticut had what was then known as the "deputy governor." According to the Connecticut State Library, this position was established in 1639. There were 18 deputy governors, several of whom would alternate off between governor and deputy governor because of one-year term limits.

On a recent episode of Where We Live, we discussed the role of the lieutenant governor and why anyone would want that position. So this got us thinking about some of Connecticut's first #2's when the state was a colony.

NPR continues a series of conversations about The Race Card Project, where thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words. Every so often, NPR Host/Special Correspondent Michele Norris will dip into those six-word stories to explore issues surrounding race and cultural identity for Morning Edition.

Tragedy at Tariffville: The Railroad Wreck of 1878

Jan 10, 2014
The Connecticut Historical Society, 2004.27.2

The year 2013 was not a great one for the Metro-North Commuter Railroad, with a collision, a major power outage, and, most recently a fatal derailment making the six o’clock news around the country. What this series of mishaps actually points out, however, is that when one considers the number of freight, passenger and commuter trains running in this country, rail travel is still a pretty safe way to get around. This was not the case a century or more ago, when railroad accidents and disasters were frequent and deadly.

Garry Winogrand / The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Fifty years after his assassination, images of President John F. Kennedy continue to resonate as an expression of American culture and self-identity. A photography exhibition called "A Great Crowd Had Gathered: JFK in the 1960s" examines the president by way of his public at the time. It's at the Yale Art Gallery and runs through the end of March. 

Connecticut Historical Society, x.1986.23.0

Stoneware was the commonest form of houseware in America during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  Americans started making stoneware in the early 1700s. One of Connecticut's first potteries began making stoneware in Norwich as early as 1769.

Evelyn Giggles on Flickr Creative Commons

Wandering the vast labyrinth of useless information, you might encounter some people having a debate about the last person who knew everything. This is a great, and also pretty hopeless debate, because it requires a judgment about what all the useful information in the world might have been and who was capable of knowing it. 

Conservators working to preserve artifacts from the early days of Antarctic exploration have uncovered century-old black-and-white negatives taken during Ernest Shackleton's 1914-1917 expedition but never printed.

Skating Through Winter

Dec 27, 2013
The Connecticut Historical Society

The centuries-old tradition of ice skating during the winter season began as a simple way to get from place to place. However, by the 1850s, better-designed skates and the increased interest in outdoor activities made ice skating a popular leisure activity. Skaters might be found on virtually any frozen body of water: small ponds, rivers, even town reservoirs.

Amy the Nurse/flickr creative commons

Today's show originally aired December 26, 2012.

What is Connecticut food? Which crops, livestock and seafood have shaped the complex cuisines that its people have cherished for more than four centuries? From familiar comforts like chicken potpie and fried oysters to curious concoctions like Grape-Nuts pudding and steamed cheeseburgers, Connecticut's food history is long and varied. Eric D. Lehman and Amy Nawrocki, authors of A History of Connecticut Food, join us on The Food Schmooze for the full hour.

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."

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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