April 12: Invention of the Portable Typewriter

  On this day in 1892, George Canfield Blickensderfer of Stamford patented the first successful portable typewriter, one of the most transformative examples of Yankee ingenuity to ever come from the Constitution State. Blickensderfer’s machine used a radical, minimalist design that contained up to 90% fewer parts than the heavier, more complicated desk typewriters that…

April 11: How the Subs Got to Groton

  Today in Connecticut history, Naval Submarine Base New London — the home of the United States submarine force — was first established as a navy yard and storage depot. In 1868, several towns in Southeastern Connecticut jumped at the chance to host a naval installation in their area, pooling their resources to offer the…

April 10: David Humphreys Brings the Sheep That Shaped New England

  Have a merino wool scarf or sweater that you absolutely love? You can probably thank Connecticut native David Humphreys for that. David Humphreys, born in Derby in 1752, was one of the most accomplished Connecticut men of the Early Republic.  A Yale graduate, he served under General Israel Putnam in the Revolutionary War and,…

April 9: Abraham Ribicoff, Governor & Barrier-Breaker

  On April 9, 1910, Abraham Alexander Ribicoff was born in a New Britain tenement house to Ashkenazi Jewish parents who had immigrated to Connecticut from Poland.  Over the course of his lifetime, he would spend nearly fifty years in public service, including overcoming entrenched anti-Semitism to become the state’s first governor of Jewish faith….

April 8: Connecticut Becomes “The Constitution State”

  What’s in a name?  Or… a nickname? Connecticut has had its share of diverse nicknames over the course of its nearly 400 years of recorded history — some of them more flattering than others. During the American Revolution, the colony and soon-to-be state of Connecticut became known as “The Provisions State” because of its…

April 7: Hartford Residents Gather to Show Support for WWI

  On this day in 1917, citizens of Hartford gathered in the streets for a “mass patriotic meeting” to show their support for America’s formal entry into World War I.  Even though the Great War had been raging in Europe for three years, the United States had been reluctant to officially join the fight against…

April 6: UConn First School Ever to Win Dual NCAA Basketball Championships

  On April 6, 2004, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team under coach Geno Auriemma made national history after defeating their fiercest rival, the University of Tennessee, in the NCAA National Championship in New Orleans.  For the Lady Huskies, the 70 – 61 victory marked their 3rd straight year of taking home the national…

April 5: P.T. Barnum Elected Mayor of Bridgeport – Not His Greatest Show

Today in 1875, Phineas T. Barnum was elected Mayor of Bridgeport at the age of 64.  Though internationally acclaimed as an entertainment impresario and well respected as a politician at the state level, Barnum’s short mayoral tenure  was not the greatest showing for a man still remembered as one of America’s most successful entertainers, entrepreneurs,…

April 4: Hartford Riots After MLK Assassination

On this day in 1968, the streets of Hartford, Connecticut exploded with anger upon hearing the news of the assassination of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee.  Dozens of residents in Hartford’s North End took to the streets — most of them young, black men — and took out their…

April 3: The Sewing Machine Patent Wars

  Inventor and longtime Connecticut resident Elias Howe Jr. may not have invented the first sewing machine, but he was the first person to obtain a U.S. patent for one in 1846.  Howe’s success in patenting his novel “lockstitch” sewing machine, which was the first to feature the automatic thread feed that remains a crucial…

April 2: The Deadly Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919 Hits Connecticut

  On this day in 1919, the medical paper “Complications of Influenza” was read to a desperately worried Hartford County Medical Society, who had been fighting a devastating global flu pandemic that had first reared its ugly head in Connecticut nearly twelve months before. This particular strain of flu, commonly referred to as “Spanish influenza,”…

April 1: “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” Takes America By Storm

  On this day in 1852, the final installment of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published in The National Era, a weekly abolitionist newspaper.  Written in the popular sentimental and melodramatic style of the mid-19th century, Stowe originally envisioned her story as a brief tale that would “paint a word picture…