August 18: Connecticut Man with a Rifle Enters Lincoln’s Office

  It would be easy to hold up Connecticut inventor Christopher Miner Spencer as an archetype of 19th century Yankee ingenuity: Not only was he a man who spent his whole life tinkering with machinery, filing patents, and aggressively marketing his creations, but as with so many other Connecticut inventors, his innovations changed the course…

March 5: Abraham Lincoln “Wakes Up” Hartford

  Today in 1860, sectional tensions over slavery and its expansion into the country’s newly formed states and territories was nearing the breaking point. It was a crucial election year, and members of the nation’s political parties were actively trying to decide who would be their standard bearers in the upcoming presidential campaign. For the…

December 8: “The Learned Blacksmith” . . . & Patriotic Pacifist

  Elihu Burritt, a self-educated lecturer who was arguably the most famous pacifist of the 19th century, was born in New Britain, Connecticut today in 1810. As the 10th child of a shoemaker, young Elihu (rhymes with “Tell-a-Few”) was unable to devote much time to schooling; as a teenager, he apprenticed himself to a local…

October 15: Governor Resigns to Go to Russia

  Today in 1853, Thomas H. Seymour, one of Connecticut’s most accomplished — and controversial — 19th century politicians, resigned as Governor to accept nomination by President Franklin Pierce as the United States’ minister to Russia. It was the latest in a long list of prestigious accomplishments for Seymour, whose popularity was at its peak….

August 18: Connecticut Man with a Rifle Enters Lincoln’s Office

  It would be easy to hold up Connecticut inventor Christopher Miner Spencer as an archetype of 19th century Yankee ingenuity: Not only was he was a man who spent his whole life tinkering with machinery, filing patents, aggressively marketing his creations, but like so many other Connecticut inventors, his innovations changed the course of…

March 5: Candidate Abraham Lincoln “Wakes Up” Hartford

  Today in 1860, sectional tensions over slavery and its expansion into the country’s newly formed states and territories was nearing the breaking point. It was a crucial election year, and members of the nation’s political parties were actively trying to decide who would be their standard bearers in the upcoming presidential campaign. For the…

December 8: “The Learned Blacksmith” . . . & Pacifist

  Elihu Burritt, a self-educated lecturer who was arguably the most famous pacifist of the 19th century, was born in New Britain, Connecticut today in 1810. As the 10th  child of a shoemaker, young Elihu (rhymes with “Tell-a-Few”) was unable to devote much time to schooling; as a teenager, he apprenticed himself to a local…

October 15: From Connecticut Governor to Russian Ambassador

  Today in 1853, Thomas H. Seymour, one of Connecticut’s most accomplished — and controversial — 19th century politicians, resigned as Governor to accept nomination by President Franklin Pierce as the United States’ minister to Russia. It was the latest in a long list of prestigious accomplishments for Seymour, whose popularity was at its peak….