March 16: Connecticut Chooses An Official State Song

  In late 1977, temporarily setting aside the politics of a struggling national economy and election-year posturing, the Connecticut General Assembly took up the task of selecting an official state song for the state of Connecticut.  The request for a state song first came from then-governor Ella Grasso’s predecessor, Thomas Meskill, who was reportedly sick…

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…

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 7: Hiram Bingham III, Connecticut’s One-Day Governor

  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…

December 14: The First Recorded Meteorite Strike in the United States

  At approximately 6:30am on December 14, 1807, residents of Fairfield County were startled by the sight of a blazing fireball in the early morning sky, followed by the terrifying sound of three loud explosions that could be heard as far as forty miles away.  After the sun rose, strange rocks could be found on…

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. …

October 30: Yung Wing, Chinese-American Educational Pioneer

  Born in 1828 to a poor farming family in Macau, Yung Wing was sent to attend foreign missionary schools in southern China at a young age, in hopes that learning English would lead young Wing to a more prosperous career path.  In 1847, when Yung was 19 years old, he accompanied his former headmaster…

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…

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…

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…

July 24: Hiram Bingham III “Finds” Machu Picchu

  Hiram Bingham III was, without a doubt, one of the most colorful people to grace the annals of Connecticut history.  Born in 1875, over the course of his lifetime he became an Ivy League-educated scholar of Latin America, pilot, amateur archaeologist, Yale professor, United States senator, best-selling author, and Governor of Connecticut (although only…