June 6: Seconds Before Jumping, A D-Day Message From Home

  In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, Private Robert C. Hillman became one of over 13,000 American paratroopers to leap out of a plane over Normandy as part of the “D-Day” invasion of occupied France — one of the largest offensives of World War II. A member of the legendary 101st Airborne…

May 25: Chester Bowles: Connecticut’s Civil Rights-Era Governor

Chester Bliss Bowles was one of Connecticut’s most accomplished and ambitious politicians of the 20th century.  Born in Massachusetts in 1901, he attended private school in Connecticut and graduated from Yale in 1924.  After college, he worked as a copywriter at an advertising agency in New York City before co-founding his own ad firm which,…

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…

February 7: Electric Boat Begins a Century of Submarine Building

  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, Electric Boat has designed and built dozens of technologically-advanced submarines for the…

January 20: Windsor Locks’ Army Air Base Becomes “Bradley Field”

  In 1941, even though the United States had not yet formally entered World War II, the U.S. military was anxious to shore up defenses along the eastern seaboard, which some feared was a vulnerable target for a German attack.  Early that year, the Connecticut General Assembly approved the purchase of 1,700 acres of former…

January 6: The Inaugural Ball That Wasn’t

  Long known as “the Land of Steady Habits,” Connecticut is home to scores of political and cultural traditions that span generations, including many that stretch back into the colonial era.  One such tradition has been the Inaugural Ball, a ceremony filled with plenty of pomp and circumstance thrown for newly-elected governors by the Governor’s…

November 29: Connecticut’s Presidential Portrait Painter

  On this day in 1982, a very special delivery was received at the White House: a stunningly photo-realistic portrait of President Jimmy Carter, painted by Connecticut artist Herbert E. Abrams.  The painting was President Carter’s official White House portrait, and after viewing it, White House curator Clement Conger declared Abrams the best contemporary artist…

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…

September 4: The USS Everett Larson Honors A Brave Connecticut Marine

  Born in Stamford, Connecticut in 1920, Everett Frederick Larson was one of thousands of young Connecticans who answered their country’s call to service during World War II.  In January 1942, Larson enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and, several months later, participated in the Guadalcanal Campaign, a major offensive by the Allied…

August 27: First Chemotherapy Treatment in the United States

  On this day in Connecticut history, in 1942, physicians at Yale University made medical history as they administered the first use of intravenous chemotherapy as a cancer treatment in the United States.  This medical milestone was the culmination of years of research, including top-secret experiments involving mustard gas that a handful of Yale doctors…