history

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.

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.

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