November 3: Joshua Hempstead’s Remarkable Diary

  Born in New London in 1678, Joshua Hempstead lived a rather unremarkable life for a colonial freeman. He was one of nine children, and being the only son, he inherited his father’s house. After marrying in his early 20s, Joshua and his wife had nine children before she passed away in 1716. He never…

September 18: Twain Becomes a Mark for Local Thieves

  In the later years of his life, famous American author and satirist Samuel Langhorne Clemens — better known as Mark Twain — savored the tranquil days spent at his Italianate mansion in Redding, Connecticut. Initially named “Innocents at Home” as an homage to his famous novel Innocents Abroad, Twain soon renamed his new home…

September 8: Timothy Dwight IV Becomes President of Yale

  On this day in 1795, one day before Yale’s annual commencement ceremonies were scheduled to take place, the college officially instated Timothy Dwight IV as its new president. Dwight would be the eighth man to preside over the venerable college, which had been founded in 1701 and was the third-oldest institution of higher education…

July 22: Mohegan Minister Samson Occom Preaches Up An Ivy League College

  Samson Occom, one of the Mohegan tribe’s most famous members and a direct descendant of the great 17th century tribal leader Uncas, was born in 1723 in southeastern Connecticut. As a teenager, he converted to Christianity after attending one of the many revivals held throughout Connecticut as part of the first Great Awakening religious…

July 8: One of History’s Most Powerful – and Terrifying – Sermons.

  In the early 1740s, New England was in the midst of a sweeping religious revival now known to history as the Great Awakening. Charismatic ministers – inspired by the internationally-famous George Whitfield, who toured New England in 1740  – traveled from town to town on a mission to invigorate congregations with a renewed sense…

June 25: Marilyn Monroe Takes Connecticut By Storm

  On this day in 1956, the small, rural, western Connecticut town of Roxbury was swarmed by reporters who recently learned that the internationally-famous starlet Marilyn Monroe was in town visiting her fiancée, Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Arthur Miller. Even though the couple had been dating for months, they had only announced their plans to marry…

May 20: Catharine Beecher Opens Hartford Female Seminary

  Today in 1823, the first classes were held at the Hartford Female Seminary, a revolutionary new school for girls founded by author and education pioneer Catharine Beecher. One of the few extant images of the Hartford Female Seminary’s building on Pratt Street. Born into the wealthy and influential Beecher family in 1800, Catharine Beecher…

May 14: Author, War Chaplain, & Yale President Timothy Dwight IV

  Today in 1752, Timothy Dwight IV, scholar, minister, and one of a group of early American poets and writers known as the Hartford Wits, was born.   The eldest of 13 children born into an influential family in Massachusetts, Dwight graduated from Yale College in 1769 and shortly thereafter decided to dedicate his life to…

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 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…