Quite a bit happens behind the scenes here at CHS that most people never see (unless you come on a behind-the-scenes tour!). It is usually all those seemingly small, unglamorous tasks that make it possible for us to share our great collections with all of you. Tuesday, Diane Lee, our Collections Manager, and I spent an entire day doing one such seemingly small, unglamorous task.
One of the more intriguing questions I get from researchers and writers is “what was the weather like on May 12, 1835″, or some equally distant date. Amazingly, I can often find the answer using regular diaries and what we refer to as “weather diaries.” Continue reading
After the United States offered statehood to Texas, Mexico severed diplomatic relations. By May 1846, a state of war existed between the two countries, and volunteer militia units began preparing for battle. This lithograph shows the Springfield Light Guard encamped in Branford, Connecticut. I’m not sure why the Hartford lithographers E.B. & E.C. Kellogg depicted these Massachusetts soldiers rather than a Connecticut regiment. Most likely the print was commissioned by someone associated with the Guards. The Kelloggs issued numerous prints of the Mexican War glorifying the conflict. Find more in our online catalog by searching for “Mexican War.”
By now, most people have probably heard about the plague of cicadas coming our way, or even heard the buzzing of the insects themselves as they emerge from the ground after 17 years to mate, lay eggs, and die. Because they spend so little time feeding, cicadas generally do not devastate trees and plants, unlike the gypsy and brown-tail moths that invaded New England and New Brunswick in 1938. Not native to the United States, the insects had been in the country since the 1800s. Continue reading
I feel like a kid in a candy store when I walk through the depths of the CHS archives and collections. As someone who loves all aspects of design, I find countless objects, images, colors, drawings, paintings, and trade cards that inspire me in the work that I do. But perhaps what enjoy the most is discovering the different varieties of typography used on our manuscripts, books, posters, and packaging. Continue reading
Problems seem to be plaguing the passenger ship business these days, whether it be the tragic loss of the Costa Concordia off Italy or the seemingly endless string of mechanical failures that have turned several recent pleasure cruises into anything but.
In 1872 Henry Ward Beecher, a noted and popular, although often controversial, minister in Brooklyn, New York, was accused of having an affair with one of his parishioners, Mrs. Tilton. She alternately confessed and retracted her confession while Beecher consistently stated his innocence. To clear his name, he appointed an investigative committee composed of friends and supporters in the church. Their findings were unsurprising–he was innocent. Today, his guilt or innocence remains unresolved.
Our exhibit, Making Connecticut, showcases over 500 objects, images, and documents from the CHS collection. “What is this?” posts will highlight an object from the exhibit and explore its importance in Connecticut history every other week. What is this object? What is the story behind it? To find out more, Continue reading
May 10 was the birthday of Ella Grasso, the first woman in the United States to become Governor in her own right. She would have been ninety-four years old. Grasso was born in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, the daughter of Italian immigrants. She was elected Governor of Connecticut in 1975. This photograph shows her campaigning for re-election at the Danbury Fair. In an article in the Hartford Courant, Barbara Kennelly recalled the campaign. “At the Danbury Fair, all we heard were shouts of ‘Ella! We’re with you, Ella. She was THE personality.” The warm and charm of this tough politician come through clearly in the photograph. If anyone knows the identity of the man in the jeep or any of the other people in the picture, please let us know! To find out more, go to YourPublicMedia.
“With the first day of my journey, I commence this first page of my diary; hoping that the whole jaunt will be as favorable to my compositive powers as this beginning:”
So begins the travel diary of sixteen-year-old Gertrude Barnum, who left Danbury, Connecticut for a trip across the Atlantic to Paris and London with her mother, Sarah, on June 11, 1850. Her diary, along with her mother’s passport (Gertrude did not have her own passport, but traveled on her mother’s), are in the CHS manuscript collection and demonstrate the participation of Connecticut women in travel and tourism—a trend that would only grow as the century progressed. Continue reading