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August 5, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

We have a very extensive and well known collection of Civil War-related diaries and correspondence, so we made the decision last year to collect selectively in this area. So, why did we recently add to the collection the correspondence of Joseph H. Cummings of Waterbury, Connecticut? What makes this particular set of letters exciting and…
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Let it snow

February 11, 2013 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

Now that almost everyone has been plowed out, shoveled, and used the snow blower, it is time to heave a sigh of relief. This was a huge storm, but not compared to the Blizzard of 1888. You think your snowbanks are high? Take a look at some of the images from our collection of what…
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A Glimpse of Hellen Keller in Her Garden

May 7, 2013 · Collections ·

Nothing is more ephemeral than a garden, unless it’s a person. Gardens change from season to season and most often die with their creators, leaving nothing but memories.  Photography has the magical ability to bring back lost gardens and people long dead.  Helen Keller had a garden full of fragrant flowers at her home, Arcan…
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Illustrating Stylish Travel

May 9, 2013 · Collections ·

Often times at the CHS, we write articles, present programs, and give tours based on our collections.  Many times these articles, programs, and tours are based on information and items we already know we have in the collection.  However, sometimes the topic comes first, and the illustrations come second.

Richard Welling and the SX-70

November 18, 2013 · Collections ·

The SX-70 was a camera manufactured by Polaroid between 1972 and 1981. The new Polaroid greatly improved on the early models, which required the user to manually pull the photograph out of the camera and peel apart the film pack, as it ejected the film automatically and developed automatically, as well. 

David Starr, Civil War soldier

November 27, 2013 · Collections ·

David Allen Starr was the son of David H. and Harriet Rogers Starr of New London, Connecticut. In 1862 he and his brother Elisha enlisted in the 5th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers. David was captured by the Confederate Army at the battle of Cedar Mountain and taken first to Libby Prison and then to Belle Isle….
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New York City in the 1970s

December 16, 2013 · Collections ·

Despite not being alive in the 1970s and having only spent a limited amount of time in New York City, photographs of it in the ‘70s are some of my favorite things on earth. (Actually, really any photos from ‘70s do it for me; the Environmental Protection Agency’s 1972-1978 project, Documerica, is one of the…
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Pave Paradise, Put Up a Parking Lot, or, You Don’t Know What You Got ‘Til It’s Gone

February 28, 2014 · Collections ·

Of the many buildings that Hartford has lost to development since the mid-twentieth century, the one that seems to sting a little bit more than most of the others is the Hartford-Aetna Bank Building. When it was built in 1912, the 11-story building was Hartford’s tallest. In 1990, the building was slated for demolition by…
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Looking at the Backs of Things

March 18, 2014 · Collections ·

Curators and catalogers spend quite a bit of time looking at the backs and bottoms of things, trying to glean information about pictures and objects.  Labels on the back of the frame of an oil painting may tell where and when it was exhibited or purchased.  Marks on prints and drawings may prove clues to…
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America’s First “Brown Water” Navy

April 17, 2014 · Collections ·

This past weekend we offered a special Civil War-themed behind the scenes tour at CHS. I spent a day selecting a wide variety of objects, manuscripts and graphics items to include in the tour, including several that I had not used in the past. Among these was a pair of fine photographs of river gunboats…
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What’s Not in This Picture?

May 20, 2014 · Collections ·

For the past few weeks I’ve been working on a series of photographs taken during the 1880s by an unknown itinerant photographer, probably employed by the Northern Survey Company. The photographer traveled from town to town taking photographs of people’s houses, usually with the members of the family and their prized possessions arrayed on the…
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