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…

February 17: Henry Opukahaia and Connecticut’s Foreign Mission School

  When 25-year-old Henry Opukahaia first set foot in the town of Cornwall, Connecticut in 1817, he carried on his shoulders the far-reaching hopes and dreams of some of Connecticut’s most powerful religious leaders.  The charismatic young man, one of the first native Hawaiians to convert to Christianity, was one of the first students to…

January 27: Never On A Sunday.

  Willard C. Fisher was one of a handful of early 20th century professors at Middletown’s Wesleyan University who gained national recognition — although in his case through controversy, not his economics lectures. Professor Fisher was a strong-willed man who never hesitated to voice his opinions, regardless of whose sensibilities he might offend.  But he…

January 16: Yale Breaks Graduate Students’ Grading Strike

    On this day in 1996, graduate student teachers at Yale University finally turned in final grades for the classes they taught during the previous semester — a deceptively simple action that ended what had become an incredibly tense standoff over teacher compensation and labor rights that was closely watched by students and university…

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…