Inside the CHS

Collections

Romulo Chanduví’s Work: A 21st Century Item Joins the CHS Collection

May 5, 2017 · Collections

The CHS has accepted a beautiful piece of furniture with an interesting story into our collections. Crafted in 2009 by expert furniture maker Romulo Chanduví in his East Hartford studio, this 18th-century Spanish colonial style chair was designed as one of a pair for a long-time collector of Chanduví’s work.

Indented Bill, was originally a 2 shilling note, altered to 10 shillings, CHS collection, 2016.24.37

Money Money Money: Tax Day and the First Emission of Paper Currency in Connecticut

April 14, 2017 · Collections

With Tax Day just around the corner and everyone scrambling to submit their income tax returns by April 18th this year, what better time is there to talk about currency?

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.

How the Pay Telephone Was Invented in Connecticut

March 5, 2017 · Collections

Did you know that the pay telephone was invented here in Connecticut?

Chief Curator’s Collection Corner — Peanuts Lunchbox

May 13, 2016 · Collections

By Ilene J. Frank, Chief Curator Did you carry a lunch box to school? I did. I remember I had a Ziggy one in first grade that I just loved. Lunchboxes, especially those we carried to school, are a link to our childhoods. In 2001, Elizabeth Triplett Blakelock donated to the CHS her Peanuts lunchbox, which she carried…
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Newgate Prison Document Acquired

April 21, 2016 · Collections, Manuscripts

A very recent addition to the CHS collection is a Revolutionary War era document related to Newgate Prison. Documents like these don’t come around very often.

The Flood of 1936

March 4, 2016 · Collections

On March 11, 1936, heavy rains fell over New England. For the next two weeks, as rivers rose from melting snow and as a second rain storm hit, the residents of Connecticut and up to half of the Eastern United States prepared for historic floods. In Hartford, the Connecticut River rose to 38 feet. Smaller…
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Broadside Detail

The first documented mass murder-suicide in North America? Wethersfield, Connecticut, 1782

August 11, 2015 · Collections, Manuscripts

By Barbara Austen What goes through the minds of those who murder groups of people, often our youngest and most vulnerable, for no apparent reason? While these horrible actions continue to haunt our nation, they are not new in our history. Did you know that the first documented mass murder-suicide in North America occurred in…
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Beer or Bad Water? How Connecticut’s Perfected the Former, Then and Now

June 24, 2015 · Collections

Beer connoisseurs believe that the United States is currently in a craft-brewing renaissance. The number of microbreweries is at an all-time high and some American beers are considered to be the best in the world. But the history of brewing beer in Connecticut, like other states in America, has had its ups and downs. Beer,…
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Waterbury Brass Buttons

All About That Brass

By Tasha Caswell, Research & Collections Associate, the Connecticut Historical Society How often do you think about the buttons on your clothes? Unless you’re into fashion or design, you probably don’t think about them that much (unless one falls off). I know I don’t. Maybe you’ll be surprised at how much impact such small objects…
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Schaghticoke Wedding Dress

My Favorite Wedding Dress? It’s Made of Leather

By Sierra Dixon, Research and Collections Associate, Connecticut Historical Society One of my favorites is a handmade wedding dress that was produced by the late Maisie Shenandoah, Clan Mother of the Oneida Indian Nation. The wedding dress was made for her relative Butch Laydem’s fiancée, Kay Kayser, of the Schaghticoke tribe, which spanned the area…
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Hogan's Heroes

Colonel Hogan, Meet Major French

May 29, 2015 · CHS Buzz, Education, Manuscripts

By Jill Padelford, Development Services Associate for the CHS Those of us of a certain age may remember the outrageous hijinks of the POWs in the 1960s comedy Hogan’s Heroes. (Some interesting trivia: Waterbury, CT native Bob Crane portrayed Colonel Hogan in that popular show.) Working from within a German stalag, the heroes of the…
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Chairs, Clocks and Signs

Decorative Arts Study Day with Dr. Philip Zimmerman

By Jenny Steadman, Adult Programs Manager of the Connecticut Historical Society On May 21, CHS welcomed a group of Decorative Arts enthusiasts who spent the whole day literally turning things upside down under the expert guidance of Dr. Philip Zimmerman, a museum and decorative arts consultant, author, and nationally recognized authority on early American furniture. Focusing…
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Space Suit

50 Objects. 50 Stories. Endless Conversations.

by Jody Blankenship, Executive Director, Connecticut Historical Society What’s your Connecticut story? At the Connecticut Historical Society (CHS), we’re highlighting 50 Connecticut-defining items in our new exhibit, Connecticut: 50 Objects/50 Stories. In parallel, the exhibit’s online gallery has 150 items and that number continues to grow! Earlier this week, more than 220 CHS members and…
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Hygrothermograph

How Does CHS Preserve Its Historic Treasures?

By Tasha Caswell, Research and Collections Associate at the CHS  Here at the Connecticut Historical Society, we do a lot of preservation work. Preservation is different from conservation – when an item is preserved, it is not altered; rather, steps are taken to protect it from deterioration. Conservation, on the other hand, involves physically treating the…
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Wayne Hilt Examines a Pewter Pitcher

CHS Hosts the Pewter Collector’s Club of America

On Saturday, May 16, the Connecticut Historical Society hosted 35 members of the Pewter Collector’s Club of America who have come from all over the U.S. to study the CHS’s remarkable pewter collection. Expert Wayne Hilt leads the discussion. For more information about the Pewter Collector’s Club of America, go to www.pewtercollectorsclub.org. About the Connecticut…
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Brochure in 2 Languages

Windham Textile & History Museum Teaches Us How to Share Connecticut’s History in Two Languages

May 10, 2015 · CHS Buzz, Collections, Education

El Museo Textil e Histórico de Windham Nos Enseña a Compartir La Historia de Connecticut en Dos Idiomas By Gerson Escobar-Arroyo, Member Relations Associate, Connecticut Historical Society Author’s Note: This blog is the first of what will be regular bilingual (English and Spanish) posts that share Connecticut’s diverse history with its Hispanic/Latino citizens. Is your…
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Exploring Connecticut’s Haute Fashion History

By Jenny Steadman, Adult Programs Manager, CHS The costume and textile storage on the CHS’s third floor is my favorite space in the Connecticut Historical Society museum. Every time I go up there, I get a shiver down my spine thinking of all the stories that go with all the dresses and uniforms and even…
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Put Yourself on the Map

April 29, 2015 · CHS Buzz, Collections, Education, Latest News

By Corinne Swanson, Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs, Connecticut Historical Society I’m a huge fan of maps. When studying history, maps are essential for getting a visual, concrete understanding of the places where events take place. They can be incredibly powerful in influencing the way we think (Remember the episode of “The West Wing” where C.J….
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Thomas Barber, a detective with the Hartford Police Department

Little Miss 1565

April 23, 2015 · CHS Buzz, Collections, Latest News

By Barbara Austen, Archivist, Connecticut Historical Society  CHS recently received the archive of Thomas Barber, a detective with the Hartford Police Department. In 1944, he was one of the men charged with identifying the bodies found in the Hartford Circus Fire that July. It always haunted him that no one identified or claimed a young girl;…
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CHS Gift Shop

The CHS Gift Shop: Featured Items for Spring

April 22, 2015 · CHS Buzz, Collections, Latest News

By Sara Plante, Visitor Service Associate, Connecticut Historical Society.  As the winter finally wanes and spring unfolds, opportunities to explore our state and take pleasure in nature increase. As you venture out to enjoy the warming weather and general greenery, consider a stop at the Connecticut Historical Society’s gift shop. We carry many Connecticut-made items…
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Hartford’s Little Italy on Front Street

Hartford’s “Little Italy” on Front Street

April 17, 2015 · CHS Buzz, Collections

By Mike Messina, Interpretive Projects Associate, Connecticut Historical Society. This post originally appeared on ConnecticutHistory.org (CT Humanities) and WNPR.org Stay tuned for WTNH-TV News 8’s in-depth series on Connecticut’s Italian communities, coming the week of May 4!  In the early 1900s, Hartford was a booming economic center. Italy, on the other hand, suffered both economically and…
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April 14, 1865 program

Abraham Lincoln’s Connecticut Connections revealed in Connecticut Historical Society exhibit

April 9, 2015 · Collections

A lock of hair, a bloody bandage, a Treasury Guard flag “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will…
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Lincoln Flag

A National Treasure Rediscovered

February 12, 2015 · Collections

The Connecticut Historical Society’s (CHS) “Lincoln Flag, was one of five flags used to decorate President Abraham Lincoln’s box at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D. C. the night he was assassinated, April 14, 1865. Two of the flags present that fateful night were borrowed from the Treasury Guard, a unit formed to defend the nation’s…
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Press Release

We Have Expanded Our Hours!

February 10, 2015 · CHS Buzz, Collections, Latest News

Starting February 10, 2015, there are expanded hours at the Connecticut Historical Society (CHS). The new hours are Tuesday-Thursday 12:00 – 5:00 pm, and Friday-Saturday 9:00 – 5:00 pm. Full service will be offered in Waterman Research Center during all public hours. Click here for more information about the Waterman Research Center.

Online Manuscripts

Microfilmed Manuscripts are Now Available Online

February 6, 2015 · CHS Buzz, Collections

Last year, the Connecticut Historical Society (CHS) received a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to digitize microfilmed manuscript collections to make them available on the Connecticut Digital Archive. Highlights of online collections include: Samson Occom, Governor Thomas Fitch, John Trumbull (poet) and John Trumbull (artist) as well as parts of Silas…
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Deep Roots in Connecticut’s Past

January 6, 2015 · Collections

I don’t know when we first started to visit Connecticut’s historic houses. My earliest memories are probably from the 1960s, but I think it began even earlier than that. I remember marveling at the massive stone walls of the Henry Whitfield House in Guilford, so unlike anything else in the state.

The New Year is Now

January 1, 2015 · Collections

As with most people, I suspect, finding time to take stock of the past year is always problematic during the holidays. Good times, bad times; things that worked, things that flopped; friends made and friends departed: it’s just a potpourri of life events.

A New Year’s Resolution?

December 31, 2014 · Collections

January 1 is a day when people traditionally reflect on the year past and make resolutions about the coming year. It is also a time perhaps to get a jump on spring cleaning.

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.

O Christmas Tree!

December 25, 2014 · Collections

Merry Christmas All! Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I still wish you the same sentiment of joy and love this time of year.

An early Christmas present

December 24, 2014 · Collections

There are three hard drives clustered around my desk. These days I look less like an archivist and more like a computer geek.

Wish You All a Merry Christmas

December 23, 2014 · Collections

“All are well. Wish you all a Merry Xmas, Mother,” reads the scribbled message on the postcard, which is postmarked “December 24, 1906.” An additional stamped message reads “GREETINGS FROM HARWINTON.”

Scatter-brained thoughts on story-telling from Rudolph to the G. Fox Elephant

As we approach 2015, what things from 2014 should we keep and what things should we throw out? I thought of this as I finished reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to my son. It dawned on me how many things we pass on to the next generation in terms of traditions, stories and folklore…
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Connecticut is a place where…

December 19, 2014 · Collections

I have about a thousand Post-It notes piled together in a drawer in my desk.

Ephraim, Mary, and the Chest

December 18, 2014 · Collections

As a history museum curator I am ever on the lookout for objects that tell a story (or maybe multiple stories if I am lucky).

What if it they only had 140 characters?

December 17, 2014 · Collections

The Williams sisters used every available spot on the paper to write their letters even when the paper was oversize.

All Aboard the Richard Welling Train

December 15, 2014 · Collections

I am coming to the end of the Richard Welling material I have left to catalog. This seems impossible considering how large the collection is, but I suppose everything ends sometime.

Everybody Walked to Work

December 9, 2014 · Collections

In the nineteenth century, my father’s grandparents emigrated from Germany to work in the Cheney Brothers Silk Manufactory in Manchester. In many ways, Manchester was a classic mill town.

Consumption

December 3, 2014 · Collections

The term consumption, particularly in the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, means something very different today than what it meant in the 19th century.

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