May 25: Chester Bowles: Connecticut’s Civil Rights-Era Governor

Chester Bliss Bowles was one of Connecticut’s most accomplished and ambitious politicians of the 20th century.  Born in Massachusetts in 1901, he attended private school in Connecticut and graduated from Yale in 1924.  After college, he worked as a copywriter at an advertising agency in New York City before co-founding his own ad firm which,…

May 23: Vaccine to Prevent Polio Distributed Across Connecticut

  On this day in 1955, hundreds of schoolchildren in the town of Stafford Springs lined up to be vaccinated against polio, as part of a massive statewide effort to protect young Connecticans from getting the deadly childhood disease. Polio was the most feared childhood illness of the early 20th century.  An untreatable virus which…

May 21: First Speed Limit Law in the U.S.

  Today in 1901, Connecticut became the first state in America to pass a law governing the speed of automobiles.  According to the new law, cars were not to exceed 12 miles per hour within city limits and 15 miles per hour on rural or suburban roads, and were required to slow down whenever they…

May 19: America’s World War I Flying Ace Killed In Action

  Today in 1918, one of America’s greatest and most colorful World War I flying aces was killed in action after being shot down over France by a German triplane.  Raoul Lufbery, a proud Franco-American who had lived in Connecticut before joining the Allied war effort, was only 33 years old at the time. Born…

May 18: Composer Leroy Anderson dies in Woodbury

  On this day, American composer and longtime Connecticut resident Leroy Anderson passed away in his Woodbury home.  Famous for whimsical and catchy orchestral pieces like “The Syncopated Clock,” “Blue Tango” and the perennial Christmastime favorite “Sleigh Ride,” Anderson’s compositions helped define popular music of mid-20th century America.  Fellow composer and Boston Pops conductor John…

May 15: “Queen of Mean” Leona Helmsley Checks Into Danbury Prison

  Leona Helmsley was one of the most infamous celebrity billionaires of late 20th century New York, a hotel and real estate magnate who gained national notoriety for her reportedly tyrannical treatment of her staff.   The wife of hotelier Harry Helmsley, Leona became the face of a marketing campaign that cast her as a “queen”…

May 13: Hartford’s Pope Company Debuts Electric Automobile in 1897

  On this date in 1897, outside his factory in Hartford, successful bicycle manufacturer Albert Augustus Pope unveiled what he considered to be the future of the automobile industry: the battery-powered Columbia Motor Carriage.  It was the first demonstration of a mass-produced electric car in American history. Weighing in at 1800 pounds and reaching a…

May 12: Katharine Hepburn born in Hartford

  Today in 1907, film star Katherine Hepburn was born in Hartford.  Widely considered to be one of the greatest film and theater actresses in American history, Hepburn holds the record for the most Academy Awards ever won by an actor or actress (four) and starred in over 80 feature films, TV shows, and stage…

May 8: Author and Illustrator Maurice Sendak Dies

  Today in 2012, longtime Connecticut resident Maurice Sendak died in Danbury from complications following a stroke.  Sendak was a prolific childrens’ book author and illustrator who wrote and illustrated dozens of books for over a fifty-year period.  Born into a Jewish family in Brooklyn in 1928, Sendak was a self-taught illustrator who found work…

May 7: Edwin Land, Inventor & Founder of Polaroid

  Today in 1909, Edwin Land, a self-taught inventor and co-founder of Polaroid who revolutionized the way the world experienced photography, was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. After graduating from the Norwich Free Academy in southeastern Connecticut (which later named their library after their famous alumnus), Land attended Harvard University for one year before dropping out…

May 6: The Hartford Whalers Leave CT

  May 6, 1997 marks a day that will forever live in infamy in the eyes of Connecticut sports fans.  On that day, Peter Karmanos, owner of the Hartford Whalers, announced that he was moving the NHL team to North Carolina and renaming them the Carolina Hurricanes.  Connecticut has lacked a major professional sports franchise…

May 2: Before Mr. Spock, There Was Doctor Spock.

  Today in 1903, pediatrician Benjamin Spock, the most influential doctor of the Baby Boomer generation, was born in New Haven.  A graduate of Yale University and Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Spock is considered to be the first doctor to apply Freudian psychoanalysis to child care. In 1946, Spock published The Common…