April 7: Thousands Rally to Show Support for WWI

  Today in 1917, citizens of Hartford thronged the streets in a “mass patriotic meeting” to show support for America’s formal entry into World War I. The Great War had been raging in Europe for three years, but the United States had been extremely reluctant to join the fight against the Germans.  American resistance to…

April 2: The Deadly Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919 Hits Connecticut

Today in 1919, the medical paper “Complications of Influenza” was read to a desperately worried Hartford County Medical Society, which feared a renewed outbreak of a devastating global flu pandemic that had first reared its ugly head in Connecticut nearly 12 months before. This strain of flu – commonly called “Spanish influenza” though it had originated…

March 29: Catholic Immigrants Unite to Protect & Support Each Other, & America

  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…

February 7: Electric Boat: 100+Years, Hundreds of Submarines

  For over 100 years, Electric Boat has been the primary producer of submarines for the United States and allied countries around the world. From its headquarters and shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, and auxiliary shipyards located in Quonset, RI and Newport News, VA, the company has designed and built dozens of technologically-advanced undersea vessels, beginning…

February 5: The Stray New Haven Pup Who Became an American War Hero.

Today in 1918, an unlikely future war hero in the shape of a small, short-tailed puppy arrived at the front lines in France alongside the 102d Regiment of the Yankee Division, a unit of mostly Connecticut soldiers recruited in New Haven. Named “Stubby” by his comrades because of his tiny tail, the contraband puppy would…

January 12: Mary Townsend Seymour, Civil Rights Champion

  Born in Hartford in 1873, lifelong civil rights activist Mary Townsend lost both her parents at the age of 15, and was adopted into the family of local black activist and Civil War veteran Lloyd Seymour. A few years later, she married one of his sons, Frederick Seymour, and the newlyweds settled in the…

January 7: Hiram Bingham III, Connecticut’s Governor For One Day Only

  It would be an understatement to say that Hiram Bingham III, Connecticut’s famous archaeologist, explorer, professor, pilot, politician, and best-selling author who likely was the inspiration for the fictional adventurer Indiana Jones, accomplished much in his lifetime. It remains an irony, however, that one of Bingham’s most well-known accomplishments was also one of the…

November 28: State Librarian Rewrites the Book.

  Today in 1900, Granby native George Seymour Godard was appointed Connecticut’s third State Librarian. The hand-picked choice of his predecessor Charles J. Hoadley, who had died the month before, Godard served as State Librarian for 35 years.  He radically expanded the mission of the state library system, making  it a nationally and internationally acclaimed…

November 11: The Last Connectican to Die in World War I

  In many countries around the world, November 11 is known as Armistice Day in honor of the truce that marked the end of hostilities on the Western Front between German and Allied forces, enacted on November 11, 1918. While a lasting peace was not formally established until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in…

October 14: Hartford Shuts Down Over Influenza Fears

  Today in 1918, as a deadly and highly contagious strain of influenza spread throughout Connecticut, Hartford city leaders considered drastic action in order to minimize further public exposure. To many Americans, the global Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918 – 1919 was arguably just as — if not more — terrifying than the First World…

September 29: The USS Connecticut and the “Great White Fleet”

  On this day in 1904, the USS Connecticut was launched as the flagship of a new class of heavy battleships intended to show off a new era of American naval dominance in the early 20th century. These battleships were the hallmark of President Theodore Roosevelt’s signature initiative to modernize the American navy. The USS…