April 21: On This Day, Rumors of His Death Were NOT Greatly Exaggerated

    Today in 1910, Mark Twain, one of America’s most famous authors and Connecticut’s most famous residents, died at his home in Redding. Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, he grew up in Missouri and traveled extensively, working as a newspaper reporter and fiction writer, until settling with his family in 1871 in the wealthy “Nook…

March 9: He Put the Iron in “Old Ironsides”

  Today in 1798, 25-year-old Isaac Hull, who was destined to become one of the United States’ most famous heroes of the War of 1812, began his distinguished career in the Navy after accepting a commission as a fourth lieutenant aboard the U.S. frigate Constitution. Born in 1773 in Derby, Connecticut, young Isaac was raised…

February 12: England’s Most Famous Detective Was Born in Hartford

  A scion of one of Connecticut’s oldest and most prominent families, world-famous actor and playwright William Hooker Gillette was born in Hartford in 1853. Drawn early to the theater arts, he left the city at the age of 20 to seek his fortune as an actor and stage producer. He met with moderate success…

February 5: The Stray New Haven Pup Who Became an American War Hero.

  Today in 1918, an unlikely future war hero in the shape of a small, short-tailed puppy arrived at the front lines in France alongside the 102nd Regiment of the Yankee Division, a unit of mostly Connecticut soldiers recruited in New Haven. Named “Stubby” by his comrades because of his tiny tail, the contraband puppy…

January 7: The Explorer Who Became Connecticut’s Governor For Exactly One Day

  It would be an understatement to say that Hiram Bingham III, Connecticut’s famous archaeologist, explorer, professor, pilot, politician, and best-selling author who likely was the inspiration for the fictional adventurer Indiana Jones, accomplished much in his lifetime. It remains an irony, however, that one of Bingham’s most well-known accomplishments was also one of the…

December 25: On Christmas Morning, Mark Twain Is Worried About Vaccinations

  December 25th, 1871 found Samuel Clemens – better known as Mark Twain – far from home, lonely for his wife and son, ruminating on Christmas, and deeply concerned about  a pandemic. The 36-year-old author and humorist was in Chicago, in the middle of a grueling four-and-a half-month, 76-performance lecture tour that would prove one…

November 30: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Marry in Greenwich

  Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, two of the most famous entertainers in the history of American television, first met in 1940, over a decade before their mega-hit sitcom, I Love Lucy, first aired. Ball, already well known as a model and Broadway actress, and Arnaz, a popular Cuban bandleader, met on the set of…

November 15: The Unlikely Stardom of Rosa Ponselle

  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. To express that talent, she began her musical career as a teenager, singing ballads in local movie theaters to keep audiences entertained while the projectionist…