history

History
9:13 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Hair Jewelry: Remembrance That Never Dies

Brooch. 19th century.
The Connecticut Historical Society, Gift of Dorothy Filley Bidwell, 1957.18.17

The 19th century saw an explosion in the popularity of jewelry made from human hair. Because hair does not decompose after its removal from the body, it was considered a symbol of eternal life. Locks of hair were often given as tokens of friendship, love, or grief and these locks were sometimes incorporated into jewelry. In the mid-19th century, enterprising jewelry makers braided, wove, and sewed hair into such keepsakes, offering a variety of shapes and sizes.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Thu October 23, 2014

A Salute to Hamlet

Darko Tresnjak is the Tony Award-winning Artistic Director of Hartford Stage.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Whenever I see a production of Hamlet, I am newly floored by its impact on language, no matter how many times you tell yourself that a lot of our spoken language is in this play, you're freshly assaulted by how many things people say all the time that come from Hamlet. It's crazy.

But then there are all sorts of questions about staging Hamlet. There can be, and there have been many theories about what to emphasize in the play. Themes of sex, politics, indecision, suicide, and reality testing are either brought to the fore, or pushed to the back. No matter what happens on the stage, it's a really, really good story.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:49 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Hangings in America: The Past and Present of The Noose

Professor Lawrence Goodheart is a professor of history at the University of Connecticut, and the author of many books, including "The Solemn Sentence of Death: Capital Punishment" in Connecticut
Chion Wolf WNPR

From Nathan Hale to John Brown to lynchings to executions of accused witches, the hangman's noose has played a grim role in American history.

While its usage has declined and changed over time, just in the past week, articles have surfaced about a political flier using a noose as the background that was circulated in a church parking lot in South Carolina, and nooses hanging in rival high schools in California. A police officer in the latter article, Sgt. Martin Acosta, stated, "A noose in itself is not making any correlation to anything." Is that true? Isn't a noose in 2014 an explicit evocation of lynching?

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The Race Card Project: Six-Word Essays
5:15 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Six Words: 'Must We Forget Our Confederate Ancestors?'

Waverly Adcock, a sergeant and founder of the West Augusta Guard, prepares his company for inspection and battle at a Civil War re-enactment in Virginia. Sara Smith, whose great-great-grandfather was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg, holds the Confederate battle flag.
Courtesy of Jesse Dukes

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 8:55 am

NPR continues a series of conversations from The Race Card Project, where thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words.

Jesse Dukes does not have Confederate ancestors. But in the time he has spent writing about Civil War re-enactors, he has met many who say they do.

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History
11:15 am
Fri October 17, 2014

“Everyone Can Count on Veeder-Root”: a Hartford-Area Company Changes With the Times

"Everyone Can Count on Veeder-Root," advertisement from April1953 Veeder’s Digest.
Connecticut Historical Society, serial 681.14v417vd

When visitors to the Connecticut Historical Society are told the building was once the home of Hartford industrialist Curtis Veeder, their first question often is: “Did he have anything to do with the Veeder-Root Company?” Curtis Veeder did, in fact, start the Veeder Manufacturing Company, one of the two companies which merged in 1928 to form Veeder-Root. Many area residents know someone who worked for this company which began making devices that “count everything on earth” and continues today as the “the number one supplier of automated tank gauges in the world.”

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Film History
10:04 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Feature Length Film of William Gillette as Sherlock Holmes Discovered in French Archives

Connecticut actor William Gillette was 62 or 63 when he played Sherlock Holmes on film.
Cinémathèque Française/San Francisco Silent Film Festival

A long lost, feature-length silent film starring Connecticut actor William Gillette as Sherlock Holmes was discovered earlier this month in France.

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Jazz Corridor
9:07 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Memoir Celebrates Northampton’s Legendary Iron Horse Music Hall

An early 1980s view of the Iron Horse.
Jordi Herold

It’s hard to imagine what the regional music scene would have been like over the past four decades without the invaluable, energizing force generated by The Iron Horse Music Hall, the small but mighty powerhouse of an entertainment center in Northampton, Massachusetts.

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History
12:24 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

The Oldest Continuously Published Newspaper in the U.S.

Timeline of The Hartford Courant. Part of the exhibition on view at the Connecticut Historical Society, October 3 to November 1.

Newspapers have been called the first rough draft of history. The newspaper that has been filling that role for the United States longer than any other is The Hartford Courant, which celebrates its 250th birthday this month. The first issue of The Connecticut Courant, dated October 29, 1764, came off printer Thomas Green’s hand-press in a room above a barber shop on Main Street in Hartford. It started out as a four-page weekly.

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Passenger Pigeons
1:43 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Yale Symphony Orchestra Rediscovers an Almost Forgotten American Treasure

Bohemian-American composer Anthony Heinrich was close friends with John James Audubon, who may have inspired Heinrich to compose Columbiad, a celebration of the passenger pigeon.
North Carolina Museum of Art

Art, science, and history intersect this weekend, when Yale University commemorates the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon.

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Where We Live
7:36 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Welcome to the Great State of New England!

Toronto Public Library

Our beloved New England is filled with scenic coastlines, lobster pots and clam shacks, Green Mountains, White Mountains, and a long river valley filled with Yankees who take their long winters as a point of pride. We have history and culture all right here.

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Television
1:00 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

'The Flash' Winks At History And Keeps Its Superhero Tone Light

After being struck by lightning, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) realizes he's gained super speed and takes on the persona of the Flash.
The CW

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 12:16 pm

The most telling feature of the CW's new superhero drama The Flash is the casting of John Wesley Shipp as the tragically and wrongfully imprisoned father of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who in the opening hour becomes The Flash.

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History
12:59 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

City of Dreams

Old State House and Constitution Plaza. Drawing by Richard Welling, 1973. This drawing combines two of Welling’s favorite Hartford landmarks.
Connecticut Historical Society, Gift of the Richard Welling Family, 2012.284.5678

Richard Welling loved Hartford. He loved its classic 18th- and 19th-century architecture, buildings like the Old State House and the Connecticut State Capitol, but he also loved the soaring skyscrapers that began to transform the city during the latter part of the 20th century -- at least some of them. He admired “The play of light, shadow, texture, scale, and mood” in Constitution Plaza and claimed he got an exhilarated feeling every time he walked through it. It was a constant source of inspiration for him, a recurring subject that keeps appearing in his work through the years.

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Art Treasure
10:38 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Bearden Murals, Rescued From XL Center, Delivered to Hartford Public Library

Romare Bearden's mural, Untitled, is carefully delivered to Hartford Public Library on Friday morning.
Hartford Public Library

Two valuable Romare Bearden murals were delivered Friday to the Hartford Public Library after being salvaged from the nearby XL Center, which is undergoing a renovation.

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Psychedelic Folk Rock
12:57 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Technology and a 40-Year-Old Album Spark a Revived Musical Career in Connecticut

Marc Osborne and Nick Zoullas recording their new album
Credit Trevor Snapp

Once in a while, your past catches up to you. That might not be a good thing if long ago, you were up to no good. But if, as a teenager, you had been part of a talented folk-rock band called Hand, and today you found out that a recording you made back then had become a collector’s item, and that your music was on iTunes, and that music lovers and record-producers were looking for you -- it just might make your day.

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Military History
10:35 am
Wed October 1, 2014

U.S.S. Nautilus Turns 60

The USS Nautilus is now a museum of submarine history
Credit Stephanie Fish / National Park Service

Connecticut’s submarine community gathered Tuesday to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the commissioning of the nation’s first nuclear powered submarine. The U.S.S. Nautilus is now a historic state ship and a museum on the waterfront in Groton. 

Hundreds of sailors and shipbuilders gathered at the ceremony, which remembered the beginning of 25 years of service for Nautilus. 

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Political History
5:10 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Secret Talks And Back Channels Pervaded U.S. Relationship With Cuba

Cuban Premier Fidel Castro addressed the United Nations General Assembly in September 1960 in New York. A new book details secret negotiations between the U.S. and Cuba dating back to President Kennedy's administration.
AP

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 8:34 am

For five decades, the official U.S. policy on Cuba was one of silence. But the real U.S. relationship with Havana involved secret negotiations that started with President Kennedy in 1963, even after his embargo against the island nation, say the authors of the new book Back Channel to Cuba. In fact, nearly every U.S. administration for the past 50 years has engaged in some sort of dialogue with the Cuban government, they say.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:56 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Dancin' in the Moonlight: Connecticut Dance Halls

David Foster is the owner of Shaboo Productions and the leader of the Mohegan Sun Shaboo All-Stars
Chion Wolf

This hour, we talk about two Connecticut dance halls, each springing from the vision of two very different men who took their respective dance halls down very different paths. One's dream soared, bringing thousands of concert-goers to over 3,000 acts over an eleven-year history. The other's dream stalled, his elaborate dance hall sitting idle for decades.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue September 30, 2014

"Greater Expectations" of the Common Core; a Music Career's Unlikely Revival Story

Jirka Matousek Creative Commons

The Common Core has been a big part of this year’s campaign for governor -- and a rallying cry for teachers, parents and students. But new documentary looks at what’s really in the common core that might provide some common ground between many sides on the education reform debate. 

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History
11:48 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Hartford Plans for Tomorrow

Construction of I-84 by the Capitol, 1965. Drawing by Richard Welling, 1965.
Connecticut Historical Society, Gift of the Richard Welling Family, 2012,284.5662

By the 1940s, it was clear that many buildings in downtown Hartford needed to be updated. Yearly flooding and deferred maintenance left aging buildings on Front and Windsor Streets in poor condition. At the same time, local manufacturing started to lose to national and global competitors. The industrial businesses that did survive moved to suburban campuses with modern amenities. The city's business leaders worried that downtown Hartford wouldn't be attractive enough to keep the growing number of white collar businesses.

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History
10:33 am
Fri September 19, 2014

“Free Bobby, Free Ericka”: The New Haven Black Panther Trials

Free Bobby, Free Erika. Broadside, 1970. This poster in support of Panthers Seale and Huggins is on view at CHS in the exhibit “Making Connecticut”. The Connecticut Historical Society.

In 1969, New Haven, Connecticut became the focus of national attention, when Black Panther Alex Rackley was killed by fellow Panthers Warren Kimbro, Lonnie McLucas, and George Sams, Jr., after being held and tortured for two days. Rackley was suspected of having become an FBI informant.

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50 Shades of Cave
2:16 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Looking Beyond Notions Of Erotica In Prehistoric Art

This carved ivory figurine of a woman, found in a cave in southern Germany in 2008, is estimated to be at least 35,000 years old.
Daniel Maurer AP

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 3:10 pm

In the realm of prehistoric art, there's a type of small figurine made of stone, bone or ivory that is famous. It features exaggeratedly large breasts, hips and buttocks.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:43 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Open Wide, This Won't Hurt a Bit: The Discovery of Anesthesia

Elizabeth Egloff is an award-winning playwright whose many plays include The Swan, The Lover, Wolf-Man and most recently, Ether Dome, currently in production at Hartford Stage. She's also an adjunct professor of Playwrighting at Vassar and Barnard College
Chion Wolf

Living in Hartford almost all my life I've known for years the story of Horace Wells. At least, I know the story I know, which is that Wells was a Hartford dentist who introduced anesthesia. He may have been the first but I've always known there were other pretenders to that crown. 

I also knew that Wells became addicted to one of those products and died a horrible, tragic and ignominious death.

But, that's all I knew and I wondered how widely known that story was. 

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Hardware City
8:19 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Remembering New Britain's Industrial History

Fafnir Bearing Company.
New Britain Industrial Museum

What was Hardware City like in its heyday? Today, it’s hard to imagine: a packed downtown, with 35,000 factory workers, and life revolving around the factories.  

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:08 am
Mon September 15, 2014

The Scramble on the Middle East, Child Abuse Laws, and The Roosevelts on PBS

Credit Wikimedia Commons

On Sunday, the New York Times ran an article full of President Obama's behind-the scenes reflections and conversations about ISIS and the Middle East. From that article: "He was acutely aware that the operation he was about to embark on would not solve the larger issues in that region by the time he left office. 'This will be a problem for the next president,' Mister Obama said ruefully, 'and probably the one after that.'"

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon September 15, 2014

The Middle East Conflict's Roots in Geography

The map of the modern Middle East.
Cathy Stanley-Erickson Creative Commons

Last week, President Barack Obama made his case for increased U.S. intervention in Iraq and Syria. His plan to continue air strikes, and increase the arming of those opposed to the so-called Islamic State, commonly referred to as ISIS or ISIL, has been met with some resistance from a war-weary public and Congress. But national security expert Scott Bates thinks that working with Iraqi Kurdish forces could be the key to defeating this extremist organization.

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History
12:57 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Samplers and School Supplies: Back to School in Colonial Connecticut

Hornbook. This reproduction hornbook is on view in the exhibition "Making Connecticut" at the Connecticut Historical Society.
Connecticut Historical Society

It’s back to school season in Connecticut. The school buses are out, Labor Day has come and gone, and stores are full of families shopping for new clothes and school supplies. While children today are looking for new binders and markers, children growing up in colonial Connecticut would have had school supplies of a very different kind.

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Television
2:12 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

3 Roosevelts Come Alive In PBS Documentary, Ken Burns' Best Yet

In this undated photo, Theodore Roosevelt waves to a crowd.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 3:28 pm

Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his most resonant and famous line during his presidential inauguration speech of 1933: "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief, that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." It was resonant because he was being defiant, and optimistic, in the face of the Great Depression — and it was famous because it was broadcast live, to the entire nation, on the relatively new medium of radio.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:39 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Beyond Conjunction Junction: A Conversation with Bob Dorough

Bob Dorough.
Credit Mind Meal / Wikimedia Commons

You're about to meet a very special guy. There's a good chance you already know him, if you were in the generational cohort whose lives were enriched by Schoolhouse Rock. More than any other person, Bob Dorough put his unique musical stamp on that show and its offerings. But Bob Dorough is so much more.

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History
12:51 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

The Sporty Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn on set with Spencer Tracy.
Courtesy of the Judy Samelson Collection. The Connecticut Historical Society

Katharine Hepburn relished wearing slacks at a time when most women would never consider such a clothing item as an every-day element of their wardrobes. Although Hepburn’s choices were unusual at the time, the idea of sportswear was becoming more and more popular. American designers began creating clothing made from knits with the primary purpose being comfort, practicality, and ease of movement.  Pants were designed but not widely adopted outside the home, until  Hepburn along with some of her more liberal minded contemporaries made pants chic.

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Jazz Corridor
10:36 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Willie Ruff, Jazz Eminence and Master Storyteller, Tells All at Yale Art Gallery

Willie Ruff.
Vincent Oneppo

Willie Ruff, the celebrated French horn player and double bassist, venerable Yale School of Music professor, founder/director of Yale’s prestigious Duke Ellington Fellowship Program, award-winning author, documentarian, historian, linguist, ethnomusicologist, and voracious autodidact, is a man of so many intricate, smoothly running, coolly calibrated cerebral parts that he is, indeed, one of the jazz world’s true Renaissance figures.

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