The Incredible Life and Mysterious Death of Captain George M. Colvocoresses

CHS got a grant last summer from the Connecticut Humanities Council to catalog and digitize 800 of its 1000+ maps. I’ve done most of the cataloging on these maps. We’ve got maps that are hundreds of years old, from the 17th century, and maps that are from the late 1990s. They vary in size, from the teeny to the huge. Some are very rare and others are pretty commonplace. Continue reading

A Painting…and a Loaf of Bread?

I’ve always had a lifelong interest in things that move; on land, on water, and in the air. My early career in history museums took me to the maritime field, and frankly I’ve never relinquished my fascination with all things afloat. Along the way I was introduced to fascinating characters: sailors and their wives, shipbuilders, whalemen—and artists. And as it turns out one such artist has “followed’ me to each institution where I have worked, including CHS. Continue reading

Summertime and the living is easy

I just got back from a trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, which got me thinking about the value of parks. National parks are the crown jewels in our country’s network of public spaces, but state and local parks are great alternatives when all you’ve got is a weekend or an afternoon. One of my main goals in life is to be in a reclining position as often as possible, and parks are a great place to achieve this.

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Girl Scout diary

Jean Harrison of Bridgeport kept a diary in 1946 and it recently found its way into the CHS library. The entries are written in what is entitled a Girl Scout Diary, with information on the history of scouting at the front, essays on safety toward the back, and historical tidbits sprinkled throughout the volume. I wish I knew her age, because some of Jean’s comments have an air of discovery about them. For example, January 4, she wrote, “Went ice skating for the first time in my life. It was fun. Didn’t fall.”

Jean mentions attending confirmation class on Sundays, attending scout meetings, going to the dentist, attending school, and, on January 13, a very momentous occasion, “I had my first date. Went to a roller skating with Richard Busher.” She also makes oblique comments about rationing, although the family did have a new car. On Sunday, January 19, after Confirmation class, she “went to hunt for butter.”

According to her records in the back of the diary, Jean only read two books during the course of the year. One was Sue Barton, Student Nurse. The second book was a biography of Clara Barton. Perhaps Jean was considering becoming a nurse. However, it is her comments about the book that are of most interest. She wrote, “A very good book if you are interested in nursing and in the early life of our country. It is about war.” One wonders how much she really understood about war.