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…

January 1: “The Red Spy Queen” Born in New Milford

  Today in 1908, one of the most high-profile American-born Soviet spies of the 20th century was born in New Milford, Connecticut.  Elizabeth Bentley was born to a middle-class family — a dry-goods sellers and a schoolteacher — and by several accounts was a clever and intellectually bright young women who seemed to have trouble…

December 13: New Haven’s Shubert Theatre Dodges the Wrecking Ball

  New Haven’s iconic Shubert Theatre, which earned the nickname “Birthplace of the Nation’s Greatest Hits” after decades of distinctive dramatic debuts, first opened its doors in December 1914.  It was the second theater built by the Shubert Organization, a family-run theater management business, and was patterned after the original Shubert Theatre in New York…

December 9: Jim Morrison Arrested in New Haven

  On this night in 1967, The Doors, a psychedelic rock band, were scheduled to headline a show at the New Haven Arena.  What should have been an ordinary night of music and revelry turned into something more memorable for everyone who attended, thanks to the antics of Doors lead singer and frontman Jim Morrison….

November 23: Connecticut’s First African-American Civil War Regiment

  In late May of 1863, nearly six months after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declared that all black men and women in slave-holding Confederate states were free, the Federal government created the Bureau of Colored Troops, effectively authorizing the use of black troops throughout the Union Army. While some Northern states quickly raised their…

November 21: The Yale Bowl Opens in New Haven

  Today in 1914, over 68,000 fans gathered in the largest sports arena the world had ever seen to watched Yale University’s football team lose to Harvard in a 30 – 0 shutout in the first game ever held at the Yale Bowl. The Yale Bowl was an architectural marvel upon its completion in 1914. …

November 20: Great American Mastodon on Display in Hartford Saloon

  Today in 1845, awestruck visitors gathered at Gilman’s Saloon in Hartford to view the skeleton of an extinct  great American mastodon recently unearthed at a marl pit near Newburgh, New York.  At a time before the discovery of the great dinosaurs, when ideas about the world’s origins conflicted with deeply held theological views of…

November 14: Paul Sperry Invents the Boat Shoe

  Today in 1939, New Haven-born sailor-turned-shoemaker Paul Sperry received a patent for one of the most famous and enduring pieces of American footwear: the Sperry Top-Sider, or “boat shoe.” Born in 1895, Sperry’s life revolved around the sea; growing up along the Connecticut coast, he developed a lifelong love for sailing at an early…

November 9: New Haven’s Grove Street Cemetery

  In the 1790s, a deadly epidemic of yellow fever swept throughout the eastern United States, hitting densely-populated urban centers like New Haven especially hard.  As fever-related fatalities multiplied, the burying grounds located behind the churches on the New Haven green — which had been in operation for nearly 150 years at that point —…

October 23: The First Protestant Missionaries to the Hawaiian Islands

  During the first quarter of the 19th century, the tidal wave of Protestant Christian revivalism known as the Second Great Awakening had a significant impact on Connecticut’s social and cultural landscape.  New Protestant denominations finally gained a foothold in the once exclusively Congregational state, church attendance among all sects dramatically increased, and scores of…

October 16: Ebenezer Bassett, America’s First African-American Diplomat

  On this day in 1833, Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett was born near Litchfield, Connecticut to free black parents who held prominent roles in Connecticut’s free black community.  Bassett’s father was a businessman who had served as one of Connecticut’s Black Governors — an honorary leadership role in the state’s black community — and his…