April 22: Noah Webster Calls for Environmental Sustainability – in 1817!

  On this day in 1817, Noah Webster’s visionary essay on environmental sustainability, which he modestly titled “Domestic Consumption,” was published on the front page of the Connecticut Courant.  Born in what is now West Hartford, Connecticut and a graduate of Yale College, Webster is best known to history as the creator of the first American…

April 17: Businessman and Financier J. P. Morgan Born in Hartford

  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: Planting The Seeds of Connecticut’s Grange Movement

  As the United States grew exponentially in size and population over the course of the 19th century, formal social groups and fraternal societies of all kinds sprang up across the country with missions that encompassed lofty themes of patriotism, industry, fellowship, and civic service.  The National Grange of Patrons of Husbandry was one such…

April 15: American School for the Deaf founded in Hartford

  The inspiration for the first-ever permanent American school for the deaf began in 1814 with an amiable relationship between Hartford neighbors Dr. Mason Cogswell and Congregational minister Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet.  Cogswell’s young daughter, Alice, was deaf, and after observing Gallaudet’s compassionate but amateur attempts to communicate with her — teaching her to spell words…

April 13: Eli Terry, Revolutionary Inventor and Clockmaker

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

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 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 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 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 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…