history | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

history

Joan Marcus / Hamilton National Tour

Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton: An American Musical is, simply, a phenomenon.

The Broadway production was nominated for a record 16 Tony Awards, and it won 11. The Original Broadway Cast Recording is certified five-times Platinum and won the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album, and The Hamilton Mixtape debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.

Connecticut Historical Society

Bicycles helped inspire modern cars, paved roads...even airplanes! But did you know they were also an inspiration for the women's movement?

This hour we take a look back in time at the origins of the bicycle, including innovation that happened right here in Connecticut. We find out the history of how this vehicle spurred social change and helped empower women to break through gender barriers a little more than a century ago.

Jiří Nedorost / Creative Commons

Whether for sport or sustenance; by rifle or crossbow, hunting has long been a part of the human experience.

This hour, we look back on our relationship with hunting and consider what it means to hunt today.

Marco Verch / flickr creative commons

Seriously: a show about towels.

There's the history of towels, towels in Christianity, Terrible Towels, Towel Day.

Oh, and there are actual towels too.

Deborah McCullough

Our relationship with our toothbrush is complicated. Most of us don't brush our teeth well enough. We don't brush long enough, or we brush too hard, or we keep our toothbrushes so long that tests would show it to be about as clean as our toilets.

Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904-1989), Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach, 1938. Oil on canvas, 45 x 56 5/8 in.

Salvador Dali and Max Ernst are among the Surrealist artists whose works are on view in Monsters & Myths, an exhibit at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford. This hour, we go behind the scenes and take an in-depth look at Connecticut's place within the Surrealist movement. 

Elias Baker / John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation

Nicholson Baker once spent a portion of his retirement savings to rescue first edition newspapers from being destroyed. He also fought to save card catalogues and to prevent library managers from sending thousands of books to landfills in their rush to microfilm. 

He fought on behalf of all of us who think about what is lost when the specifics of a particular moment are worn away or forgotten or altered in the subsequent retellings of the original observations. It's kind of like a childhood game of telephone where the original message is passed from child to child until the last person relays a message with little resemblance to the original. 

Stalin's Ghost

Nov 26, 2018
Eugene Zelenko / Wikimedia Commons

Joseph Stalin's only daughter grew up the beloved pet of a man responsible for a decades-long campaign to arrest, torture, execute or forcibly imprison millions of Soviet citizens, including children and members of his own family. That's what we know now.

A herd of sheep on Lebanon's town green were used to mow hay.
First Selectman's Office, Town of Lebanon

Every winter, water on the historic town green in the small town of Lebanon, Conn. freezes and becomes the perfect place for ice skating.

Netflix

No Country for Old Men. Fargo. The Big Lebowski. Raising Arizona. O Brother, Where Art Thou? Miller's Crossing.

Over the past 35 years, Joel and Ethan Coen have reliably been among the most recognizable voices in moviemaking.

Their latest, the anthology western The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, hit Netflix last weekend.

This hour: a Noseish look at the work of the Coen brothers.

United Kingdom Government / Wikimedia Commons

This weekend was the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. World leaders convened in Paris and listened to French president Emmanuel Macron warn against reviving the "old demons" of nationalism that led to our first world war. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

David McGhee grew up with two mysteries. One was his grandmother's suitcase — it was full of stuff she shared with no one. The other mystery was about the boy's grandfather, a soldier who died before David was born.

Chion Wolf / WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio

This month marks 10 years since Connecticut first granted marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. This hour we talk about the work that led up to a historic ruling from the state Supreme Court and we learn how LGBTQ rights have advanced in recent years. Were you one of the couples that finally got to tie the knot in 2008?

David McGhee grew up with two mysteries. One was his grandmother's suitcase — it was full of stuff she shared with no one. The other mystery was about the boy's grandfather, a soldier who died before David was born.

David was only 9 years old when he first got a glimpse of what was inside his grandmother's suitcase.

"She was actually going in for something else, but I saw that picture," David said, asking her who was in that photo. It was her parents, she told him. She then quickly zipped up the suitcase. She didn't speak another word about it.

Ed Dunens / Flickr

As President Trump talks about draining the swamp in Washington D.C., we turn our attention to actual swamps. Associated with death and decay, while also celebrated for their beauty and biodiversity, few landscapes evoke such contradictory sentiments as swamps.

On the grounds of Wethersfield's Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, archaeologists have discovered evidence of the oldest English colony in Connecticut.

Chion Wolf / WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio

It's as somber as it is blissful; as old as it is contemporary. And it's more than just the Horah!

This hour: the music of the Jewish klezmer tradition. We discuss its history and cultural significance, and we also hear from you. 

Dave White / Creative Commons

For interview highlights from this show, click here. 

It’s been fifteen years since the death of Fred Rogers -- a man who, for decades, served as the cardigan-donning host and creator of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Rogers’ life is now the focus of a new Maxwell King biography -- aptly titled The Good Neighbor. This hour, we sit down with King for a special preview of the book. 

Some personal secrets are so well-kept that even family and friends are oblivious. So it is with the story of the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist's marriage proposal to a Stanford Law School classmate in the early 1950s.

Douglas Fernandes / Creative Commons

There's a set of steps and a big stone fireplace sitting in the middle of the woods where I used to walk my dog. I can envision the family living in the house that was part of the neighborhood that got washed away when the Farmington River overflowed its banks in 1955.  My exploration led me to the origin of those steps. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The Connecticut State Library is marking the upcoming World War I centennial with an effort to preserve memorabilia from the war.

Warner Bros. Ent.

In terms of box office, 2017 was the biggest year in the history of horror cinema. One wonders: Why? And then this year has brought us Hereditary, A Quiet Place, and now Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House.

This hour: a look at our current horror through the lens of our current horror.

Zappys Technology Solutions Photostream / Flickr

About 2000 years ago the Chinese came up with something really great: paper! Paper has allowed us to share ideas around the globe, record important historical events, build on our past success, create art, architecture, literature, music and more that may live on long on after we're gone.

BriSaEr / Flickr Creative Commons

Things burn: Our environments, resources, and all forms of monument to self. And since the beginning, so too has our imagination. The inspiration humans have drawn from fire throughout the millennia is as impressive as it is immeasurable. Why fire occupies such an elemental place in the creative wellsprings of our consciousness is certainly a debate to had.

AMC

You know all the reasons Trump won, right?

Economic anxiety. Racial anxiety. The forgotten working class. The forgotten rustbelt...

But what if the real cause were something much simpler and much more pervasive: our popular culture.

Chion Wolf / WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has announced she will resign from the post by year's end, raising questions and speculation as to who will fill the high-ranking vacancy.

This hour, we examine one possible candidate: former Connecticut U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman. What qualifications would Lieberman bring to the position? And what would it take for him to be confirmed?

Later, we talk about trends in U.S. civics education. Are children who are exposed to the topic earlier more likely to develop into engaged voters?

And finally, controversy surrounding New Britain’s Paul Manafort Sr. Drive has drawn attention to a lesser-known Connecticut son, Ebenezer Bassett. Who was he? And how should the state honor his legacy? 

One of the last secrets from the Watergate scandal could soon be revealed.

A federal judge in Washington has ordered the National Archives to review key documents that have remained under seal for 44 years and prepare for their release.

Those papers, known as the "road map," helped advance the impeachment effort aimed at then-President Richard Nixon.

They've been under wraps since then but scholars say they're newly relevant today as President Trump faces down a different investigation.

Central Connecticut State University

A tussle over the renaming of a street in New Britain has illuminated the life of a little known, but important Connecticut abolitionist and diplomat.

Brandon Giesbrecht / flickr creative commons

So, when Prince died (which was two-and-a-half years ago), we announced that we were finally going to retire our theme song (which was a Prince song). And then we promptly did... nothing at all.

Earlier this year, though -- and in typical Colin McEnroe Shovian fashion -- we decided that this non-problem was a big problem. And so, in order to try and hopefully finally fix this non-problem big problem, we did a whole show about theme songs -- ours and other people's.

Jiří Nedorost / Creative Commons

Whether for sport or sustenance; by rifle or crossbow, hunting has long been a part of the human experience.

This hour, we look back on our relationship with hunting and consider what it means to hunt today.

Are you a hunter? We want to hear from you. 

Pages