April 26: Sarah Boone Gets a Patent For a Better Way to Iron

  Today in 1892, African American inventor Sarah Boone of New Haven patented an ironing board, which was the precursor to the modern appliance residing in many of our homes today. When Sarah Boon was living in New Haven, the fashion of the time was for women to wear corsets. Since the late-1800s, New Haven…

April 16: Frederick Douglass & Social Media in Hartford, 1864

    Carte-de-visite photographs were the hot social media of the mid-nineteenth century. These small portrait photographs, mounted on cards, were some of the first such images to be commercially reproduced, and they created a craze for collectible photographs. People collected carte-de-visite portraits of family, friends and celebrities and then mounted them in photograph albums….

April 8: The Distinguished University Professor Who Was Once America’s Greatest Child Star

    When Joel Kupperman died of the COVID-19 coronavirus today in 2020, the mild-mannered, Cambridge-educated, retired academic was a distinguished university professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut and one of the world’s leading authorities on Asian philosophy. A much-honored and visionary philosopher of ethics, aesthetics, and Eastern philosophies, colleagues hailed him as “a…

April 4: Saving the Elm City’s Elm Trees – The First Time

  Today in 1909, the last in a series of “campaign documents” aimed at mobilizing citizens to save the trees that had given New Haven its reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful cities was published in the New Haven Sunday Union. Decades before the 1936 arrival of the devastating Dutch elm disease, the “City…

April 1: A Political Cartoonist for the 20th-Century Woman

  As the first political cartoonist ever to win a Pulitzer Prize, Clarence Daniel “C. D.” Batchelor thought having been born on April Fool’s Day (in 1888) was appropriate to his calling. The cane-collecting (he died owning more than 500), dapper, Kansas-born, self-styled “character” – “It was just as easy to be a character as…

February 1: The Man Who Made the First Map of the United States.

  Abel Buell was a man able to do just about anything, just not very well. At various times a convicted counterfeiter, goldsmith, engraver, armsmaker, inventor, textile manufacturer, packet boat proprietor, auctioneer, privateer, mint master, mapmaker, and husband to four wives, Buel spent most of his 81 years pursuing a seemingly limitless array of schemes…

January 24: Total Eclipse Brings State to a Standstill

  In the chilly winter of 1925, Connecticut found itself in the rare and remarkable position of being the nation’s prime viewing spot for a total eclipse of the sun. All along the path of totality, which in the United States swept from Niagara Falls to Montauk Point, millions suspended their regular activities to experience…

January 12: Yale Body Snatching Triggers Week of Rioting in New Haven

  Early Monday morning,  January 12, 1824, Dr. Jonathan Knight, the first Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at the not-yet-fifteen-year-old Yale School of Medicine, was visited at his home by two men: a prominent local attorney and the village constable of West Haven. They had come on official business, armed with a search warrant, to…