Connecticut History

With our partner, The Connecticut Historical Society, WNPR News presents unique and eclectic view of life in Connecticut throughout its history. 

The Connecticut Historical Society is a partner in Connecticut History Online (CHO)  — a digital collection of over 18,000 digital primary sources, together with associated interpretive and educational material. The CHO partner and contributing organizations represent three major communities — libraries, museums, and historical societies — who preserve and make accessible historical collections within the state of Connecticut.

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History
2:22 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Postcards from the Past

If you grew up in New England, there’s a good chance you have at least one memory of visiting a beach on a hot summer day. Whether you prefer a day of excitement and thrills on amusement park rides or a relaxing lounging session in the sun, you can usually find a New England beach that suits you. If you like a little of both, New London’s Ocean Beach could be the place for you.

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History
3:09 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Another Way to Cross

June 14, 2013 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the “Swing Bridge” across the Connecticut River in East Haddam, Connecticut.   While most drawbridges have a section that moves up and down to accommodate river traffic, the East Haddam bridge has a section that swings open like a gate to allow vessels to pass through.

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History
3:09 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Another Way to Cross

June 14, 2013 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the “Swing Bridge” across the Connecticut River in East Haddam, Connecticut.   While most drawbridges have a section that moves up and down to accommodate river traffic, the East Haddam bridge has a section that swings open like a gate to allow vessels to pass through.

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History
4:22 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Getting There from Here

For many of today’s drivers, tools like Google Maps and GPS devices have made turn-by-turn directions a familiar—even essential—part of getting from point A to point B. But this isn’t a new idea and didn’t start in Silicon Valley. In the early days of the automobile, “route guides” included turn-by-turn directions compiled by amateur and professional “pathfinders.” In 1901, Charles Howard Gillette, a Hartford native, published the Official Automobile Blue Book.

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History
4:22 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Getting There From Here

For many of today’s drivers, tools like Google Maps and GPS devices have made turn-by-turn directions a familiar—even essential—part of getting from point A to point B. But this isn’t a new idea and didn’t start in Silicon Valley. In the early days of the automobile, “route guides” included turn-by-turn directions compiled by amateur and professional “pathfinders.” In 1901, Charles Howard Gillette, a Hartford native, published the Official Automobile Blue Book.

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History
3:22 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

The Free Consent of the People

“The foundation of authority is laid firstly in the free consent of people.” That principle lies at the heart of the representative system by which the United States has governed itself for more than two centuries.

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History
3:22 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

The Free Consent of the People

“The foundation of authority is laid firstly in the free consent of people.” That principle lies at the heart of the representative system by which the United States has governed itself for more than two centuries.

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History
11:51 am
Fri May 24, 2013

THESE HONORED DEAD

Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War, as a way to honor those Union and Confederate soldiers who died in that conflict. A large collection of photographs of Connecticut Civil War soldiers in the Connecticut Historical Society’s collection recalls the origins of the holiday and displays the pride and determination of those men who were prepared to give their lives in the service of their country.  Over 5000 Connecticut soldiers died in service.  Over 2000 of them were killed in battle. Even those who survived the war are now among the long-dead.

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History
11:51 am
Fri May 24, 2013

These Honored Dead

Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War, as a way to honor those Union and Confederate soldiers who died in that conflict. A large collection of photographs of Connecticut Civil War soldiers in the Connecticut Historical Society’s collection recalls the origins of the holiday and displays the pride and determination of those men who were prepared to give their lives in the service of their country.  Over 5000 Connecticut soldiers died in service.  Over 2000 of them were killed in battle. Even those who survived the war are now among the long-dead.

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History
3:31 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Lobsters and Oysters and Clams

As the weather warms up this spring, so does the lure of the open road, and all that comes with it- scenic views, the ocean breeze along the coast, and everyone’s favorite road food!  While it may not be warm enough to go for a swim in Long Island Sound, it is perfect weather for a stop at one of the popular seafood restaurants that dot the Connecticut coast.

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History
3:31 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Lobsters and Oysters and Clams

As the weather warms up this spring, so does the lure of the open road, and all that comes with it- scenic views, the ocean breeze along the coast, and everyone’s favorite road food!  While it may not be warm enough to go for a swim in Long Island Sound, it is perfect weather for a stop at one of the popular seafood restaurants that dot the Connecticut coast.

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History
3:58 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

AMERICA’S FIRST WOMAN GOVERNOR

Charles William Eldridge

Ella Tambussi Grasso was born to Italian immigrant parents in Windsor Locks, Connecticut on May 10, 1919. She attended the Chaffee School in Windsor and earned a scholarship to Mount Holyoke College where she earned both BA (1940) and MA (1942) degrees.   At an early age, she displayed an interest and belief in public service, and soon after completing her education, became involved in the Democratic Party in Connecticut.  She was first elected to the state General Assembly in 1952. In nine subsequent state and federal elections, she was never defeated. She also served two terms in U.S.

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History
3:58 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

America's First Woman Governor

Charles William Eldridge

Ella Tambussi Grasso was born to Italian immigrant parents in Windsor Locks, Connecticut on May 10, 1919. She attended the Chaffee School in Windsor and earned a scholarship to Mount Holyoke College where she earned both BA (1940) and MA (1942) degrees.   At an early age, she displayed an interest and belief in public service, and soon after completing her education, became involved in the Democratic Party in Connecticut.  She was first elected to the state General Assembly in 1952. In nine subsequent state and federal elections, she was never defeated. She also served two terms in U.S.

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History
3:17 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Learning about the Lusitania

In an age when we hear instantly of any news, good or bad, it is hard to imagine that information was not always so readily available.  On May 7, 1915, the RMS Lusitania sank off the coast of Ireland from damage caused by a German submarine’s torpedo.  For hours, it was little more than an unconfirmed rumor that the ship had sunk, and many accounts incorrectly reported the ship was beached with no loss of life.  Approximately an hour and a half after the sinking, a cablegram to the New York City office of the Cunard Line, the steamship line that owned and operated the Lusitania, confirmed t

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History
3:17 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Learning About the Lusitania

In an age when we hear instantly of any news, good or bad, it is hard to imagine that information was not always so readily available.  On May 7, 1915, the RMS Lusitania sank off the coast of Ireland from damage caused by a German submarine’s torpedo.  For hours, it was little more than an unconfirmed rumor that the ship had sunk, and many accounts incorrectly reported the ship was beached with no loss of life.  Approximately an hour and a half after the sinking, a cablegram to the New York City office of the Cunard Line, the steamship line that owned and operated the Lusitania, confirmed t

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History
12:37 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

One of Hartford’s Heroes

When he perished while fighting a fire on May 24th, 1878, Hartford photographer Daniel S. Camp died as he had lived: in harm’s way and in the line of duty. Besides being a respected photographer, Camp was a volunteer firefighter, Second Lieutenant in the City Guard, and a veteran of the Civil War, having seen service in Connecticut’s Sixteenth Volunteer Infantry.  In his short 34 years he left behind a legacy of public service as well as some truly remarkable photographs.

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History
12:37 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

One of Hartford’s Heroes

When he perished while fighting a fire on May 24th, 1878, Hartford photographer Daniel S. Camp died as he had lived: in harm’s way and in the line of duty. Besides being a respected photographer, Camp was a volunteer firefighter, Second Lieutenant in the City Guard, and a veteran of the Civil War, having seen service in Connecticut’s Sixteenth Volunteer Infantry.  In his short 34 years he left behind a legacy of public service as well as some truly remarkable photographs.

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History
2:57 pm
Sat April 20, 2013

Scraps of History

Mary Pamelia Felt was born in New York City on January 1, 1848, and in 1867 married John Emery Morris of Hartford. She would have remained just another Hartford resident if not for her penchant for clipping newspapers. Her collection of 188 obituary and social scrapbooks were donated to CHS in 1925.  CHS recently digitized and put online her 52 “social” scrapbooks which are filled with clippings about engagements, weddings, divorces, lectures, vacation plans, travels abroad, visits from dignitaries, Thanksgiving proclamations, and descriptions of inaugural balls.

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History
2:57 pm
Sat April 20, 2013

Scraps of History

Mary Pamelia Felt was born in New York City on January 1, 1848, and in 1867 married John Emery Morris of Hartford. She would have remained just another Hartford resident if not for her penchant for clipping newspapers. Her collection of 188 obituary and social scrapbooks were donated to CHS in 1925.  CHS recently digitized and put online her 52 “social” scrapbooks which are filled with clippings about engagements, weddings, divorces, lectures, vacation plans, travels abroad, visits from dignitaries, Thanksgiving proclamations, and descriptions of inaugural balls.

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History
3:48 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

“A NOBLE AND PRECIOUS LIFE”

A handful of maps of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, published in Philadelphia during the early 1850s, bear the name of E. M. Woodford. Edgar M. Woodford was born April 15, 1824,  in Avon, Connecticut, where his family had a farm. Self-taught as a civil engineer, Woodford became county surveyor for the County of Hartford. A nephew recalled his Uncle Edgar as “a great strapping man,” who would come “over the hills with his [surveying] instruments over his shoulder, crying for fear his work would not come out right.”

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History
3:48 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

“A Noble and Precious Life”

A handful of maps of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, published I Philadelphia during the early 1850s, bear the name of E. M. Woodford.    Edgar M. Woodford was born April 15, 1824,  in Avon, Connecticut , where his family had a farm.  Self-taught as a civil engineer, Woodford became county surveyor for the County of Hartford.  A nephew recalled his Uncle Edgar as “a great strapping man,” who would come “over the hills with his [surveying] instruments over his shoulder, crying for fear his work would not come out right.”

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History
3:26 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Is Martha Stewart History?

With over thirty books published and millions of magazines devoured by fans eager to organize their homes, prepare delicious meals, and simply be crafty, Martha Stewart has become known as the most successful modern domestic advisor in the United States.  But domestic advice of the kind Stewart doles out in her television appearances, print, and internet publications is not something new.  Domestic advisors have long had a place in America’s kitchens and homes and have been providing women with guidance on how to manage their homes and cook appropriate meals for hundreds of years. 

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History
3:49 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

A Night to Remember

Steam power captivated the popular imagination in the nineteenth century. Regular steam navigation on the Connecticut River dates back to the early 1820s. Hartford and New York were linked by steamers whenever the river was ice free, typically from March through November of each year.

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History
3:49 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

A Night to Remember

Steam power captivated the popular imagination in the nineteenth century. Regular steam navigation on the Connecticut River dates back to the early 1820s. Hartford and New York were linked by steamers whenever the river was ice free, typically from March through November of each year.

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History
4:22 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Needlework in Full Bloom

Needlework samplers provided a place for young girls to practice stitching and create a variety of motifs, from alphabets and numbers to houses and animals.  One popular motif for decorating samplers was flowers.  Found almost everywhere and in many varieties, flowers offered girls the chance to create from nature, while incorporating their own sense of style.

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History
12:28 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Gloomy Trap and Abstract Electronics

This week on The Needle Drop, we're diving into the latest releases from Shlohmo and Autechre. We'll also be trying out new tracks from Kylesa, Smith Westerns, and more.

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History
3:25 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Picture This

Looking at stereo views was a popular form of home entertainment throughout the second half of the nineteenth century and on into the early twentieth century.  Stereo views were taken with a special camera with two lenses, resulting in two nearly identical photographs which created a 3-D effect when placed side-by-side on a cardboard mount and seen through an optical device called a stereopticon.  Stereo views can be seen as a sort of proto-cinematic experience before the age of film.

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History
2:32 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

A Revolution in Horse Power

The Hartford and Wethersfield Horse Railroad originated in 1863, with horse-drawn cars riding over steel rails, carrying passengers along Hartford’s Main Street and Wethersfield Avenue. Over the next two decades, as the Railroad expanded its routes throughout Hartford and into surrounding towns, it became part of one of the most dramatic technological revolutions of the nineteenth century.

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History
2:38 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Much Good Might be Accomplished

“It is believed that much good, which might be accomplished, remains unaffected, from the mere fact that mankind either do not know that it can be done, or are ignorant of the means to accomplish it.”                                                                                                               ~Catharine Beecher

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History
2:40 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

A Patriotic Legacy in Print

Two hundred years ago, the United States was at war with Great Britain. On September 10, 1813, an American naval force led by Major Commandant Oliver H. Perry captured six vessels from the British Royal Navy, the most powerful maritime force in the world. Perry’s famous exclamation, “We have met the enemy and they are ours,” reveals the growing confidence of the fledgling U.S. Navy, whose string of victories over the British were a great source of national pride for nineteenth-century Americans.

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