September 19: Remembering Old Saybrook’s “Battle of the Books”

  In 1701, the Connecticut General Assembly passed an act establishing a “Collegiate School” in hopes of creating a place “wherein Youth may be instructed in the Arts and Sciences who [through] the blessing of Almighty God may be fitted for [public] employment both in Church & Civil State.” For the first several years of…

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…

August 16: Mary Hall, Connecticut’s First Female Lawyer

  Today in 1843, Mary Hall was born in Marlborough, Connecticut. Growing up on a farm in antebellum America, when high Victorian culture placed an increasingly stringent emphasis on female domesticity, made her perhaps one of the most unlikely candidates to defy gender norms and become the first woman in Connecticut to be admitted to…

June 29: Governor Baldwin Signs Bill Requiring History in Schools

  Connecticut history made history on this day in 1943, when Governor Ray Baldwin signed a law setting new standards for citizenship education in Connecticut schools. The new law required that any college or grade school that received state funding — public or private — include a comprehensive study of American history and government in…

June 27: Prudence Crandall Arrested For Teaching “Little Misses of Color”

  In 1831, Prudence Crandall opened the Canterbury Female Boarding School in Canterbury, Connecticut, in order to provide an education to wealthy daughters of Eastern Connecticut families. After a successful inaugural year, Crandall received a request from twenty-year-old Sarah Harris, the daughter of a prosperous free African-American farmer and his wife, to attend the boarding…

June 26: Education Pioneer Sarah Pierce Born in Litchfield

  On this day in 1767, education pioneer Sarah Pierce was born in Litchfield. As a teenager, her older brother sent her to New York after the death of her father, to learn to become a teacher so she could financially support herself and her siblings. Upon her return to Litchfield in 1792, Pierce opened…

June 22: The Assassination of Cherokee Leader Elias Boudinot

  The Cherokee leader Elias Boudinot first came to Connecticut in the 1820s to seek a formal western education at the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall. Born as Gallegina Uwati into a prominent Cherokee family in 1802, he was sent north with the permission of tribal elders in hopes that his western education would help…

May 28: Preparing Connecticut Women for Full Citizenship

  On May 21, 1919, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of legislation that would give American women the right to vote — legislation that would eventually become the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Even though the legislation still had to be approved by the U.S. Senate and ratified by 3/4…

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…

April 16: Planting The Seeds of Connecticut’s Grange Movement

  As the United States grew exponentially in size and population over the course of the 19th century, formal social groups and fraternal societies of all kinds sprang up across the country with missions that encompassed lofty themes of patriotism, industry, fellowship, and civic service.  The National Grange of Patrons of Husbandry was one such…

April 15: American School for the Deaf founded in Hartford

  The inspiration for the first-ever permanent American school for the deaf began in 1814 with an amiable relationship between Hartford neighbors Dr. Mason Cogswell and Congregational minister Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet.  Cogswell’s young daughter, Alice, was deaf, and after observing Gallaudet’s compassionate but amateur attempts to communicate with her — teaching her to spell words…