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Articles by nataliebel:

What is it?

August 7, 2019 · Collections, Programs and Events

Why, it’s a playing card holder used to do magic tricks, of course! It was used by Albert Walker (1836-1902) of Glastonbury, who was a farmer, craftsman – and magician! Walker also performed puppet and ventriloquist shows, and made his own equipment, including the puppets, magic wands, metal and cardboard cups for ‘disappearing ball’ tricks and…
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“Dear Mother and Dady….I am not hurt from the fire”: July 6, 1944

June 28, 2019 · Collections

July 6, 2019 marks 75 years since the Hartford circus fire, one of the worst disasters in Connecticut’s history. One hundred and sixty-eight people, 71 under the age of 19, died when the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus’s big top caught fire in 1944. The blaze was aided by a strong wind and…
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Guess How Much?

April 25, 2019 · Collections

How much did this cream rayon satin wedding gown cost in 1941? Twenty-nine dollars and ninety eight cents. How do we know? We’ve got the original G. Fox & Co. receipt! Barbara Doty married Francis Kane at Plymouth Congregational Church in Thomaston, Connecticut, on 11 October 1941. The bride wore matching pumps and a borrowed…
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…Why, Kate the Great, of course!

March 5, 2019 · Collections

Hartford native Katharine Hepburn is a stage and screen legend who inspired designers and influenced fashion. She preferred menswear styles that allowed her to be comfortable and move freely. Her style, once considered eccentric, is now classic. This past October, when some of Katharine Hepburn’s clothing items came up for auction at Augusta Auctions in…
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Isn’t It Romantic! (not really)

January 29, 2019 · Collections

At first glance, you might think this is a Valentine. Nope! It’s an 1880s trade card. Trade cards were advertisements, with cute or funny images, that were hugely popular in the late 19th century. They were used to sell household products, medicines, tobacco, and lots of other stuff. People collected them and even pasted them…
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Who is this mystery hunk?

December 26, 2018 · Exhibits

Why, Burt Lancaster, of course! The 1968 film The Swimmer was based on a short story of the same name by John Cheever, and filmed largely in Westport, CT! Though its initial reception was lukewarm, it has achieved a cult status. Critic Vincent Canby praised it for its “grim, disturbing and sometimes funny view of…
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No, it’s not a coffin….

September 25, 2018 · Collections

  If you guessed that the item was a coffin, you’re close….but not quite correct. It’s a corpse preserver, used in the days before embalming to preserve a body during the mourning period.   This item came to CHS in 1994 from a donor in Middletown who owned a funeral parlor. According to the donor, dad found…
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Who is this guy, and why did he get kicked out of the YMCA?

July 25, 2018 · Collections, Exhibits

George Thayer was a longtime member of the Hartford YMCA. During WWI, he went to France as a volunteer, staffing the recreation ‘huts’ that the YMCA ran there. Thayer was scandalized by what he found there, and wrote a series of letters back home – some published in the Hartford Courant – exposing the “deplorable”…
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Baseball’s Back in Hartford

April 25, 2018 · Collections

Baseball has been a family pastime for generations of Connecticans. Hartford has hosted teams from the 19th century Dark Blues to today’s Yard Goats. The CHS will be at the Hartford Yard Goats’ Baseball in Education Days on May 9th, 16th, and 31st with fun activities for kids and adults to do before and during…
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Connecticut’s Enfield Shakers

March 21, 2018 · Collections

The Shakers are a religious group that got their name from the vigorous shaking movements made while worshiping. With roots in England, the first Shakers, led by Mother Ann Lee, came to America in 1774. The Enfield, CT Shaker Community (not to be confused with the Enfield Shaker Community in New Hampshire) was established in…
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A View of 19th Century Middletown

January 29, 2018 · Collections

This past April, the CHS was pleased to acquire from Nathan Liverant & Sons a delightful folk art landscape view of Middletown, CT by an unknown artist. This c. 1870-1890 landscape, done in colored pencil, gouache and ink on paper provides a detailed visual depiction of this important river town. From the south, looking north…
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