Inside the CHS


January 22, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

Two letters were brought to our attention yesterday by our volunteer, Raquel, who is processing the Rowland Family letters, 1764-1860 (Ms 66917). The collection measures 1.5 linear feet (3 boxes) and contains correspondence to and from several members of the family. In November 1827, Mary Elizabeth Rowland (1805-1845), living in Exeter, New Hampshire, wrote a…
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Buy war bonds!

Scrapbooks chronicling women’s organizations that sold savings bonds during World War II.

Physicians Record Book

Includes detailed journal entries on women in childbirth.

Woman suffrage in Wyoming Territory: A letter to Mrs. John Hooker

“…and could not be induced to return to the old, barbarous system of disfranchisement of a portion of our citizens any more than our nation could be persuaded to return to allegiance to Great Britain.”

“Rate Your Date”

November 17, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

I like to tell people that I read other people’s diaries for a living. Today our cataloging project led me to the diary of Eleanor R. Munroe. Quickly glancing over the diary, I have not been able to find that Ms. Munroe had any connection to Connecticut. Her first entries are from the Cambridge, Massachusetts…
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Happy International Women’s Day!

Lately I have had the opportunity to catalog several friendship albums. These journals, kept by women in the nineteenth century, contain poetry and stories written for them by their friends. Though the albums were owned by women, the contributors were both male and female. The owner of the album shown below is unknown. However, the…
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Mary and Stephen Tilden: Marital Woes in the 1730s

“I do believe he hath committed ye sin of fornacation [sic] with Sarah Ellis,” explained Mary Tilden in a letter to the pastor of the First Church of Lebanon, Connecticut. Tilden wrote of her husband, Stephen, with whom she refused to live following his transgression. A committee of church members had been formed to advise…
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Holly Ball: Hartford’s Debutantes are Presented

“The Holly Ball was originated in 1950 by a small group of congenial friends for the purpose of honoring their daughters at a formal and private dance, with no commercial or civic obligations.” That sentence intrigued me as I stumbled upon the records of the Holly Ball (Ms 73446). I continued to read and soon…
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Dear Miss

July 14, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

I know that if I had received a letter like this from my intended husband, I would have canceled the engagement immediately! Sometime before 1767, John Talcott wrote a letter (or a treatise?) to his future wife Abigail Ledyard. The letter was ten pages long and filled with sage advice, or what he termed “my…
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Best tin pail…67 cents

Lucy Skinner was born in Granby, Connecticut in about 1801. Twenty years later she married Alexander H. Griswold (1792-1881), also a native of Granby. The only other detail about Lucy’s life I have been able to find is that she died in 1845. For women’s history, this is fairly average. Women’s history may be hidden,…
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Dear diary

November 14, 2012 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

At CHS we have an extensive and constantly growing collection of diaries because of the detail they provide about  daily life of ordinary people, the ones who do not usually appear in the history books. The contrasts between diaries can be striking, as it is between the two that we recently added to the collection….
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Give us back our cows!

December 13, 2012 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

I recently came across four letters in our catch-all “Miscellaneous Manuscripts” boxes that provided a real aha moment. The letters were written by Amos Laurence of Brookline, Massachusetts, to Abby Smith of Glastonbury, Connecticut. Abby is one of the Smith sisters whose claim to fame is that they refused to pay their town taxes because…
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10 Eggs, a Pint of Brandy

March 6, 2013 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

One of our current exhibitions is Cooking by the Book: Amelia Simmons to Martha Stewart, an exploration of food in Connecticut from the colonial times to the present. The developers read any number of cookbooks in preparation. In the collections here at CHS we have a large assortment of both printed and manuscript recipes gathered by…
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Auction Angst

March 21, 2013 · Collections ·

The auction house said they would call before 11:00 am. It was 11:01 and I was in a panic, only to have the call come in at 11:02. We were bidding on an amazing collection of letters written by a young woman, Charlotte Cowles, of Farmington, Connecticut. We have plenty of other collections of letters,…
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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.

What is this?

May 28, 2013 · Collections, Exhibits ·

Our exhibit, Making Connecticut, showcases over 500 objects, images, and documents from the CHS collection. “What is this?” posts will highlight an object from the exhibit and explore its importance in Connecticut history every other week. What is this object? What is the story behind it? To find out more,

A dreadful accident

July 3, 2013 · Collections ·

On October 7, 1833, the boilers on the Steamer New England exploded while the vessel was unloading passengers at Essex, Connecticut. It was on a voyage from New York to Hartford. Six days later, Charlotte Cowles writes a letter to her brother about acquaintances of theirs who were on the vessel. Charlotte writes:

Another Charlotte Cowles (Hull) letter to write about!

August 21, 2013 · Collections ·

One of our good friends recently purchased and then donated to us a letter written by Isabella Beecher Hooker to Charlotte Cowles Hull. Yes, a letter to “our” Charlotte Cowles after her marriage to Joseph Hull.  Isabella Beecher and her husband John Hooker introduced Charlotte and Joseph and evidently maintained that friendship. The letter was…
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What is this?

December 3, 2013 · Collections, Exhibits ·

Our exhibit, Making Connecticut, showcases over 500 objects, images, and documents from the CHS collection. “What is this?” posts will highlight an object from the exhibit and explore its importance in Connecticut history every other week. What is this object? What is the story behind it?

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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Mourning in the 19th century

October 16, 2014 · Collections ·

Customs surrounding the mourning of deceased loved ones were prominent in the 19th century and the objects created around these practices tell quite a story.

Panel Discussion: Women in STEM

March 8, 2017 · ·

Learn about innovative programs encouraging girls and STEM, and listen to advice from women who have broken barriers in STEM careers.

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To support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Connecticut Historical Society will temporarily close now through April 22. We will re-evaluate the situation at that time. All public programs and tours are canceled during this time. We hope to reschedule some of the events if possible.