Inside the CHS

About Sierra

Sierra Dixon is a Research and Collections Associate for the Connecticut Historical Society, where she has cataloged books, provided imaging services, and served the public in the Waterman Research Center for the past five years. She has been with CHS since 2006, when she served as an intern for the graphics and museum collections departments. Sierra holds a B.A. in Art History from the University of Hartford, and enjoys reading, writing and nail art in her spare time.


Articles by Sierra:

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching: Dance Memorabilia in the CHS Collection

March 28, 2017 · Collections

The month of March may be known for basketball’s Big Dance, but it also commemorates special anniversaries in dance. This Friday commemorates the 94th observation of Dance Marathon Day, and March marks the 35th anniversary of the Connecticut Ballet, among other special dates in the coming months. Connecticut Historical Society’s collection includes a variety of dance cards, performance programs, photographs, and manuscript materials surrounding this art form.

The Day After

December 26, 2014 · Collections

The wrapping paper has been discarded, and Christmas dinner consumed. Now what? December 26 can be just as special, and not just an afterthought.

The Art of Giving Thanks

November 28, 2014 · Collections

While we associate the Thanksgiving holiday with turkey and cranberry sauce, the actual art of giving thanks has had a range of meanings throughout history.

Connecticut’s “Greatest Show on Earth”

October 20, 2014 · Collections

This familiar tagline may not only describe the travelling circus; it could aptly describe the man behind the entertainment.

“Nutmegger” Newsworthy

September 22, 2014 · Collections

Connecticut has used radio and television to cover everything from Americans on the moon to treasures “from the vault” in a fun and historic way.

Teeth and Innovation

July 28, 2014 · Collections

On this day 149 years ago, the American Dental Association established their code of ethics. In Connecticut, compared to Horace Wells’ anesthesia of the 1840s, other innovations may prove lesser known but just as intriguing.

In Lieu of Virtual Keys…

June 23, 2014 · Collections

While many of us have become accustomed to the world of virtual keys on tablets, phones and laptops, we often forget about the technologies that came before them, such as the typewriter. In 1868, a man by the name of Christopher Latham Sholes received a patent for his invention of the typewriter, which spawned a…
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“Weaving” History in the Research Center

May 30, 2014 · Collections

A recent visit from a researcher prompted a trip to retrieve some of the Warren book collection at CHS. She was looking for definitions relating to wool processes, and immediately I thought of the “Warren books” as a point of reference.

The Philadelphia Story… A Connecticut Story?

April 28, 2014 · Collections

The Oscar-nominated movie that is known for its many catch phrases (“The calla lilies are in bloom again”) has a few distinct connections with the Nutmeg State. Katharine Hepburn, born of Hartford, created the role of Tracy Lord on the stage in 1939, which immediately preceded the 1940 on-screen release of The Philadelphia Story.

Paul Robeson: Baritone, Activist and Renaissance Man

March 24, 2014 · Collections

Although Paul Robeson was born in New Jersey, for twelve years he made Enfield, Connecticut his home. The baritone and radio singer was best known for his title role in “Othello” in the 1930s and 1940s, which he portrayed in various venues between London and New York. Robeson performed in numerous American plays and Hollywood…
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Dollie McLean: From the West Indies to the Capital City

February 24, 2014 · Collections

Born (Dollie) Clarice Helene Simmons in Antigua, West Indies, Dollie McLean was raised in Manhattan, later lived in the Bronx, and graduated from both the University of Hartford and FIT. Mrs. McLean has been an avid participant in the arts throughout her life, having performed off-Broadway as an actress and dancer with various organizations like…
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1914: One Hundred Years of Reflection in the Making

January 27, 2014 · Collections

While searching for images of life captured in 1914, I was amazed by the range of subjects; prison halls, family picnics, and at least three different fires were all immortalized one hundred years ago.

Ringing in the New Year (in Connecticut)

December 30, 2013 · Collections

Another productive year has almost come to a close, and a New Year will soon commence. At midnight tomorrow, many of us will pop the champagne cork as we ring in 2014, and reflect on our accomplishments from this past year.

Christmas in Connecticut… Cliché, but True

December 23, 2013 · Collections

Christmas has always been an enchanting time of year; the carols, elaborate decorations, and endless celebration all come to mind when thinking of this holiday. In the Nutmeg State, Christmas has influenced many serenades, poems and well wishes for the season. Lydia Sigourney’s Christmas Hymn and Louisa Bushnell’s The Watcher’s Carol are just a couple…
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Beyond the Nutcracker in Hartford

November 25, 2013 · Collections

‘Tis the season for theatrical performances, and almost nothing has become more synonymous with this time of year than the Nutcracker. Yet despite the Nutcracker’s popularity, there have been numerous other showcases in Hartford over the years, which may not be as popular, but still maintain a place in history.

The History of a Street…

October 28, 2013 · Collections

 As you walk or drive down any given street, you may wonder what stories it tells, who lived there, and what may have occurred there over time. What lies beneath a street? It seemed fitting to ask this question with Elizabeth Street- home to the Connecticut Historical Society since the 1950s – in mind. Formerly…
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Luman P. Kelsey: “Professional Hobbiest”

September 30, 2013 · Collections

Luman Kelsey was an artist unknown to me until I happened upon his work one day in the photographs section of the Graphics room. The organized box read “Luman Kelsey–Virgin Islands”, and immediately I was intrigued. I wondered what photographs may be in the box, and how CHS came to own them. What I discovered…
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Ann (Lane) Petry: from Old Saybrook to the Hall of Fame

August 26, 2013 · Collections

Ann Lane, born October 12, 1908 above her father’s pharmacy in Old Saybrook, would for many reasons become renowned in both her native Connecticut and across the country. Her name would become Ann Petry, and she would be known for her tenacious writing, professorship and varied accomplishments.

Jackie Bouvier’s Connecticut Ties

August 15, 2013 · Collections

While most remember Jacqueline (Bouvier) Kennedy Onassis as the former First Lady of the United States, many may be unaware of her Connecticut connections both before and during her prominent role in American history.

Cosmetology and its Role in Connecticut

July 22, 2013 · Collections

Cosmetology—though not readily associated with Connecticut—has played a surprising role in the state’s history. It has influenced the state on both visual and social levels, in ways that even a native resident would not expect. The Connecticut Advisory Committee on Hairdressing and Cosmetology held their first meeting in 1970, which included concerns about teaching on…
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Marietta Canty: Actress by Day, Nutmegger at Heart

May 27, 2013 · Collections

Alongside the greater known actors of the glamour days in Hollywood stood Marietta Canty, the Hartford bred actress with a theatrical background and pride for her native state.

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