Header image of Bushnell Park

Newsletter | January 8, 2024

Web  Facebook  Instagram  LinkedIn  Email

Editor’s note

Where does the time go?

I know that’s an especially trite question to ask on a history website. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized New Year’s Day marked the 25th anniversary of HartfordHistory.net’s launch. I undertook this project mostly as a practical way to learn website construction. But as a history geek, I also saw a need for it; back then, researching city history online meant gathering strands from some very disparate resources. Since then, of course, we’ve seen a virtual explosion of resources. But HartfordHistory.net remains one of the few places that pulls those strands together and curates them in a way that adds context, clarity, and even a little fun. I see this anniversary as a spur to improvement. Last year saw the launch of this newsletter, but there’s more to come in 2024.

Stay tuned, and Happy New Year!

Kevin Flood

Trivia question

In 1791, a lawyer living in Hartford turned his attention to helping the city’s underclass, despite his own strained finances. “(T)here are in every town, more especially in Hartford, great numbers of mechanics and other laborers … who … have no means of subsistence but their daily earnings,” he wrote in an article published in the Connecticut Courant. In the same piece, he proposed creating a Charitable Society in Hartford. With his guidance, the Society soon came into being, relying on small contributions from employers to assist the needy. Who was this lawyer?

For the answer, see the end of this newsletter.


New Aetna President Kane embraces insurer’s history and future: ‘There are no plans for Aetna to leave Hartford’—Hartford Business Journal*

Older than the country itself, Hartford Public Library marks 250 years with rebranding—Connecticut Public Radio 

'We keep innovating:' Hartford Public Library begins its 250th anniversary celebration—CT Insider*

Hartford Public Library celebrates 250th anniversary with launch of new brand and logo—Hartford Courant*  

Owner to donate two Colt buildings to planned Coltsville National Historical Park in Hartford—CT Insider*


Mark Twain House & Museum executive director Pieter Roos to retire—Hartford Courant*

Boar’s Head & Yule Log Festival returns to Hartford—CT Insider*


These Connecticut flags survived the Civil War, but sunlight and gravity are causing deterioration—CT Insider*

Andy Horowitz is the new Connecticut state historian—Connecticut Public Radio


January 8: Washington gives the first State of the Union address, dressed in Connecticut’s finest—Today in Connecticut History

January 6: A wartime departure from an ancient tradition—Today in Connecticut History

January 4: A girl with soaring ambitions—Today in Connecticut History

* Requires paid subscription, usually after a certain number of free articles.

Trivia question answer

Portrait of Noah Webster as a young man.

The lawyer was Noah Webster, best known today as the lexicographer, writer, and editor who created the first American dictionary. Joshua Kendall, in his excellent 2010 biography of Webster, The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster’s Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture, wrote that thanks to Webster, “his hometown established a social insurance system for the poor, sick, and disabled some hundred and forty years before Roosevelt’s New Deal.”

Webster was born and raised in West Hartford, though it was known then as “the West Division of Hartford.” Based on tax filings, the Society appears to remain active as a private foundation, with a Glastonbury address.

More trivia questions at HartfordHistory.net

LinkedIn Share This Email