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…

May 4: Hudson River School Artist Frederic Edwin Church born in Hartford

  On this day in 1826, iconic American landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church was born in Hartford, Connecticut.  The internationally-renowned artist’s Connecticut roots ran deep: He was a direct descendant of one of the original English Puritans who settled Hartford under the leadership of Thomas Hooker, and Frederic’s father was a prominent silversmith and later…

May 2: Before Mr. Spock, There Was Doctor Spock.

  Today in 1903, pediatrician Benjamin Spock, the most influential doctor of the Baby Boomer generation, was born in New Haven.  A graduate of Yale University and Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Spock is considered to be the first doctor to apply Freudian psychoanalysis to child care. In 1946, Spock published The Common…

April 24: New Haven Founded As A “New Jerusalem”

  In the 1630s, John Davenport, like many Puritan ministers preaching in 17th century London, yearned to create a “New Jerusalem” in a place free of the persecution and political pressures of England.  Arriving in the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1637, Davenport and his congregants hoped to establish a new community among their fellow Puritans,…

March 29: Knights of Columbus Incorporated in New Haven

  Late-19th century Connecticut was marked by the growing prevalence of fraternal benefit societies, hostility toward a recent influx of Catholic immigrants from Europe, and dangerous working conditions in factories that left many families fatherless.  In response to these societal pressures, Father Michael J. McGivney, the 29-year-old Irish immigrant and assistant pastor of St. Mary’s…

March 20: The First U.S. Figure Skating Championships

  Today in 1914, the first “International Style” Figure Skating Championship competition in the United States was held in New Haven, Connecticut.  While amateur ice skating had been a popular American pastime since the colonial days, modern figure skating — an artistic blend of dance moves and other technical feats performed on ice — was…

March 14: Eli Whitney Patents the Cotton Gin

  Today in 1794, Eli Whitney, one of Connecticut’s most influential inventors, received a patent for the Cotton Gin, a machine that revolutionized the production of cotton by optimizing the time-intensive task of cleaning seeds from raw cotton bolls. Born in Massachusetts in 1765, Eli exhibited both interest in talent in manufacturing at an early…

March 13: The New Haven Black Panther Trials

  On this day in 1970, the stage was set for one of the most polarizing trials of the modern Civil Rights era as Bobby Seale, national chairman of the militant black power group Black Panthers, arrived in Connecticut to stand trial for ordering the murder of a New Haven man who had been killed…

March 7: English Regicides Flee to New Haven

  Not long after the then-separate Connecticut and New Haven colonies were first established in the 1630s, their mother country of England was thrown into a long and brutal civil war between supporters and opponents of King Charles I.  The enemies of the King, calling themselves Parliamentarians, were primarily English Puritans who, after taking control…

March 2: A Deadly Accident Leads to Hartford’s First Hospital

  Around 2:00pm on March 2, 1854, a deafening blast rocked the Dutch Point neighborhood of Hartford following the explosion of a massive steam boiler at the Fales & Gray Car Works factory.  The force of the explosion blew out the eight-inch-thick brick walls encasing the factory’s boiler room, causing the roof to cave in…

February 28: Edward Malley’s Department Store Disaster

  February 1882 was not a very good month for New Haven businessman Edward Malley.  The ambitious son of Irish immigrants, Malley had worked his way up from selling assorted dry goods to Elm City denizens out of his aunt’s front parlor to purchasing a modest storefront of his own on Chapel Street in 1852,…

February 21: The World’s First “Phone Book”

  Thanks to Connecticut inventor and innovator George Coy, the city of New Haven can lay claim to a number of “firsts” related to the early development and adaptation of the telephone.  Not even two years after Alexander Graham Bell first patented the revolutionary communication device, Coy and his company had implemented a number of…