November 23 -2nd Continental Light Dragoons Talk – Danbury Historical Society.

November 23 at 2PM. Free & Open to the public.

Sheldon’s Horse: The History of the 2nd Continental Light Dragoons presented by Eric Chandler.
“Sheldon’s Horse” is credited with having played a significant part in the winning of the War of Independence. They were the first commissioned United States cavalry; executed the first cavalry charge by United States cavalry on American soil; operated the first “pony express” as military couriers; participated in America’s first organized espionage ring; achieved victories on foot, horseback and by boat.

See http://danburymuseum.org/danburymuseum/Home.html for details

CT Archives Online (CAO) turns 5

On November 12, 2010, the CAO went live. In the beginning, it searched across around 300 archival collection; now it searches some 6500 and is always growing. If your historical society, library, archive, museum or school would like to participate, contact Brian Stevens (stevensb[at]wcsu.edu) for more information or go to the CAO About pages.

If you already participate in the CAO, THANKS!

TEDxWCSU

TEDxWCSU started as an idea after an Honors Program gathering in the fall of 2012. It was that fall His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Western for two consecutive days to present talks on Creativity and Compassion. Since then, the University has been awash in events themed with Creativity and Compassion, culminating in Western becoming a Univeristy of Compassion and Danbury becoming a City of Compassion.

We hope through the TEDxWCSU event to continue to remind students of the daily lifestyle of compassion, and to spark discussion about creativity amoung the Western Connecticut State University community.

WCSU Science Center
​181 White Street
Danbury , CT, 06810
United States

November 16, 2013 2PM-6PM

Watch the video

Danbury “Firebug” of the 1890s Exhibit

Exhibit in the Haas Library thru fall 2013 (at the main entrance to the library)

Danbury, Connecticut in January 1891 had endured most of the preceding three years plagued by arson. Some person or persons determined that setting fires, among the largest the area had seen up to that point, would influence the course of the City. Blame for the fires was pinned on a person or persons the Press referred to as the “Firebug,” but after three years and seemingly no closer to catching the “Firebug,” in 1891, authorities resorted to hiring at great expense an operative from the Pinkerton National Detective Agency to help.

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The compelling “Firebug” story percolated throughout area newspapers including the New York Times; even a young Charles Ives wrote to his father: “We are all talking about the fires in Danbury” and seemed to have written the beginnings of a “Firebug” limerick on the same letter. However, the episode was essentially forgotten in subsequent years. This may be due in large part to the fact that James Bailey’s 1894 History of Danbury makes no mention of firebugs or any of the turmoil during this period. Likely the story would have remained forgotten were it not for a small collection in the WCSU Archives of the reports made by the Pinkerton operative that the City had hired which somehow survived the last 122 years.

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August 3 – “The Felonious Fire Bug of Danbury” 2:00pm at the Danbury Historical Society

Archivist Brian Stevens will give a brief talk on the Danbury “Firebug”.

Danbury, Connecticut in January 1891 had endured most of the preceding three years plagued by arson. Some person or persons determined that setting fires, among the largest the area had seen up to that point, would influence the course of the City. Blame for the fires was pinned on a person or persons the Press referred to as the “Firebug,” but after three years and seemingly no closer to catching the “Firebug,” in 1891, authorities resorted to hiring at great expense an operative from the Pinkerton National Detective Agency to help.

The compelling “Firebug” story percolated throughout area newspapers including the New York Times; even a young Charles Ives wrote to his father: “We are all talking about the fires in Danbury” and seemed to have written the beginnings of a “Firebug” limerick on the same letter. However, the episode was essentially forgotten in subsequent years. This may be due in large part to the fact that James Bailey’s 1894 History of Danbury makes no mention of firebugs or any of the turmoil during this period. Likely the story would have remained forgotten were it not for a small collection in the WCSU Archives of the reports made by the Pinkerton operative that the City had hired which somehow survived the last 122 years.

Danbury’s Third Century: From Urban Status to Tri-Centennial Released

The long-awaited and anticipated book by Herb Janick and Bill Devlin, Danbury’s Third Century: From Urban Status to Tri-Centennial, is now available for sale at the Danbury Historical Society.  Janick and Devlin pick-up where James Bailey left off and tell the story of Danbury from 1889 to 1985.   Their especially readable narrative animates the historical microcosm of the City and illuminates industrial New England’s sometimes-rocky transition to more diversified populations and business communities. This volume is destined to be the chief reference work on twentieth century Danbury.

Western Research Day 2013

Western Research Day (WRD) is taking place on Thursday, May 2, 2013. WRD is a conference at which students at WCSU can share their research or other professional activities (such as paintings and sculptures for Art majors and writing or playing music for Music majors, etc.) with the University Community.

Keynote: Dr. Eric Martone

“Set Yourself Up for Success: The Value and Practical Applications of Student Research and Publications”

Dr. Eric Martone is Assistant Professor of History and Social Studies Education at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York.

WRD Poster Sessions
Location: Science Building Atrium

Pioneers in the Early Years of WestConn: The story of Katherine Butler and Burchia Stewart – Exhibit

posterIt would not be until the late 1960s that the composition of U.S. college and university student body populations began to proportionally reflect the African-American population.  In 1895, among the small African-American community in Danbury, there were only 14 registered births of persons considered to be “black” out of a total population in the City of more than 20,000.  Very few African-Americans in Danbury at the time had the opportunity to attend high school and even fewer the option to attend college.  Yet, standing in the back row of the 1906 senior class picture for the Danbury Normal School (first graduating class of the precursor to WestConn), there is a lone young African-American woman; her name was Katherine Marie Butler.

There would not be another African-American student at the Danbury Normal School until Burchia Ellen Stewart in the class of 1917. Though Katherine Butler was the first African-American to attend the DNS, the first African-American to earn a degree was Burchia Stewart.   Stewart’s home on Golden Hill Road was close to the Butler’s farm on Clapboard Ridge and it is conceivable that she was taught by Katherine Butler who was teaching in 1907 when Stewart was 12.

Through February and March, there will be an exhibit in the Haas Library entrance hall of materials relating to these extraordinary women.

Abraham Lincoln – Paula Hopewell Talk, Feb 11, 2013

Newtown Historical Society

Monday, Feb 11, 2013
7:30 pm
C.H. Booth Library
25 Main Street, Newtown, CT

Influenced by the border region from which he came, Hopewell will speak of Lincoln’s extraordinary compassion. She will share insights on how Lincoln managed to steer the country through the Civil War, as well as relate some of the tragedies of Lincoln’s personal life. Excerpts from his excellent speeches will also be given. All in all, a well rounded picture of perhaps our most beloved President will emerge.