December 5: America’s First Law School’s First Hire

  As a professor at the first law school established in the United States, Connecticut legal luminary James Gould helped educate some of the most important legal minds in early 19th century America.  Born in Branford, Connecticut on this date in 1770, Gould’s parents initially doubted his promise as a scholar on account of his…

November 25: María Colón Sánchez, “La Madrina” of Hartford

  María Colón Sánchez arrived in Hartford at the age of 28 in 1954, one of thousands of Puerto Ricans who moved to Connecticut in search of better economic opportunity during the mid 20th century.  Within a few years, she had saved up enough money to open a convenience store, Maria’s News Stand, on Albany…

September 28: The Seed That Became UCONN Planted at Mansfield

    On this day in 1881, the small agricultural school that would later become the state of Connecticut’s flagship university held its first classes in a former orphanage building located in Mansfield.  The Storrs Agricultural School, consisting of just three faculty members and thirteen students when it first opened, offered young men the opportunity…

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…

June 29: Governor 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: Educator Sarah Pierce Born in Litchfield

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

June 22: The Murder of 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. Born into the wealthy and influential Beecher family in 1800, Catharine Beecher wholly devoted herself to advancing the education and betterment of young women after her fiancé…

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…