November 29: Connecticut’s Presidential Portrait Painter

  On this day in 1982, a very special delivery was received at the White House: a stunningly photo-realistic portrait of President Jimmy Carter, painted by Connecticut artist Herbert E. Abrams.  The painting was President Carter’s official White House portrait, and after viewing it, White House curator Clement Conger declared Abrams the best contemporary artist…

November 15: Rosa Ponselle, Opera Singer Extraordinaire

  Born to Italian immigrants living in Meriden, Connecticut in 1897, Rosa Ponselle (born Rosa Ponzillo) displayed a natural talent for both singing and instrumental music at an early age.  Ponselle, who was destined to become a musical celebrity and one of the most famous opera singers in American history, began her musical career as…

October 20: Commemorating Thomas Hooker, Founder of Hartford

  On October 20, 1950, a crowd of several hundred Connecticans gathered in front of the Old State House in Hartford to observe the unveiling of a new, eight-foot-tall statue of Thomas Hooker, the Puritan minister and “founding father” of Connecticut who founded the settlement of Hartford in 1636. Born in England in 1586, Thomas…

September 27: Theodate Pope Riddle’s Architectural Masterpiece

  As one of the first licensed woman architects in the United States and the first to be licensed in both Connecticut and New York State, Theodate Pope Riddle was one of Connecticut’s great designers and innovators of the early 20th century. Born into a wealthy family in 1867, young Effie Pope attended school at…

July 19: The American Impressionist Movement Blooms in Ridgefield

  Located in Ridgefield, Connecticut, the Weir Farm National Historic Site memorializes the life and historic contributions of J. Alden Weir, one of the most iconic painters of the American Impressionist movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in 1852 to a prosperous family, Weir showed artistic promise at an early age…

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 children’s book author and illustrator whose 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…