November 3: Joshua Hempstead’s Diary

  Born in New London in 1678, Joshua Hempstead lived a rather unremarkable life for a colonial freeman.  He was one of nine children; being the only son, he inherited his father’s house and, after marrying in his early 20s, had nine children of his own with his wife before she passed away in 1716. …

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 Occum Tours England

  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 3: Charlotte Perkins Gilman Born in Hartford

  Author, feminist, and social reformer Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born on this day in 1860.  Since her father was absent for most of her childhood, Gilman often spent her time visiting her great aunts, the famous Beecher sisters: author Harriet Beecher Stowe, education reformer Catherine Beecher and suffragist Isabella Beecher Hooker. Between her aunts’…

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…

June 24: Henry Ward Beecher Born in Litchfield

  Henry Ward Beecher, one of the most famous and influential preachers and speakers of 19th century America, was born in Litchfield, Connecticut on this day in 1813.  Henry was one of many literary giants of the extended Beecher family: his father Lyman was also a notable preacher; his sister Harriet found international fame as…

June 10: Author Robert Ludlum’s Connecticut Connection

  Today in 1951, Robert Ludlum, one of the bestselling authors of all time, graduated from Wesleyan College in Middletown, Connecticut with a B.A. in Drama and high hopes of becoming a world-famous actor. Born in New York City in 1927, Ludlum developed a love for the theater while attending private school in Cheshire, Connecticut,…

May 14: Timothy Dwight IV Born

  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 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…