Illustrating Life

Last week Rich Malley posted about the Billings and Spencer Company complex in Hartford. He illustrated his post with an amazing watercolor done in 1898 by Hiram P. Arms, a Hartford-based illustrator.  When I first saw the painting, which is quite large, I was intrigued by all of the little vignettes Arms included, as Rich pointed out, to suggest the residential nature of the neighborhood in which the complex stood.  I thought it would be fun to explore a few of those small scenes this week.

Image Continue reading

An Over-Sixty Looks at Veteran’s Day

You know you’re getting old when the faces at Veteran’s Day events look more and more like yourself and less and less like your parents. Obviously it’s the natural course of things, and yet there is an unmistakable poignancy in it all. As we bid adieu to the World War II generation I can imagine what my grandparents felt when only a handful of Civil War vets remained alive, fragile souls riding in flashy automobiles in parades of the 1930s. Continue reading

Forgotten Wars?

Almost everyone remembers from history class the names of the major wars fought by the United States—the French and Indian War, the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War,  World War I and World War II. Then there are the “forgotten wars” like the The Mexican-American, Spanish-American and Korean wars and Vietnam.  With Veteran’s Day just around the corner, I decided to take a look at what we have in the collection related to the above-named conflicts.

We abound with manuscripts related to the American Revolution (there is even a collection with that name) the War of 1812 and the Civil War. World War I and World War II are rather well represented as well. For the Spanish-American War we have much less, in fact only ten manuscript items.  One of those is the minutes of the McKinley Command No. 116 of the United Spanish War Veterans that met in Norwalk. Inside the front cover is a circular letter from the state association describing “Recent Laws Passed for the Benefit of the Veterans of the Spanish-American War” passed in 1909; the minutes begin in 1901. I am reminded of the stories we hear on the news today about soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq having trouble getting medical care and other benefits. Continue reading

“…the War…with Great Britain, is extensively unpopular;”

A little Friday fun…

The War of 1812 was not too popular with New Englanders!

Petition, Whiting family papers, 1754-1819, Ms 19073. Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, CT

“WHEREAS great pains have been taken to impress the public mind with the idea that the War in which we are engaged, with Great Britain, is extensively unpopular; and that it will not be supported by the People of New-England, the undersigned think proper to declare, that while they lament the necessity of a War, they are fixed in the determination to support it, till the attainment of an honorable peace.”

The petition is not dated. Above the printed text, “Windham, Connecticut” was hand written.

This piece, and the rest of the Whiting family papers, are available for research.