April 19: Connecticut Ratifies the Bill of Rights — 150 Years Late

  Today in 1939, Connecticut became the last state in the the union to ratify the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights — 150 years after the list of amendments was first proposed. Why the delay? It certainly wasn’t because Connecticans didn’t care about securing individual rights. Connecticut’s colonial government codified one of the earliest sets…

April 18: The Punch That Killed

  A popular pastime for millennia, amateur (or “Olympic-style”) boxing experienced a 20th-century renaissance in the United States, thanks to celebrity heavyweights like John L. Sullivan and the inclusion of the sport in the 1904 Olympic games. During the early 1900s, amateur boxing matches were common in Connecticut cities. One infamous example of an amateur…

April 17: The “Robber Baron” Who Saved the U.S. Economy — Twice

  Today in 1837, John Pierpont Morgan, one of the most famous businessmen and financiers in American history, was born in Hartford. Born into a wealthy and influential Connecticut family, J. P. Morgan was groomed to be a successful financier from an early age. He quickly moved up the ranks of his father’s banking companies…

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. Celebrity…

April 13: Eli Terry, The Man Who Made Us All Clock-watchers

  Eli Terry, the man who revolutionized clock manufacturing and whose timepieces became featured objects in millions of American homes, was born in South Windsor (then a part of East Windsor), Connecticut today in 1772. Terry was a mechanical engineering prodigy who set his ambitions into motion at an early age, apprenticing himself to a…

April 12: For Writers, It Was the First Laptop

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

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: 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 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 leading…