Archive for the ‘CT’ Tag

Forlorn Soldier Monument Analysis

This slideshow features four of James G. Batterson’s earliest monument figures. This is part of my research on the Forlorn Soldier, a Civil War Monument that was never sold and has been on display at various locations in Hartford for over 100 years. Explanation for when the monument was created and why the monument was not sold is unclear. Some say it was rejected because of the positioning of the monuments feet. This slideshow, however, shows that other monuments created by Batterson, and his colleague Carl Conrads, had identical foot positioning and were sold just the same.

The Forlorn Soldier Monument features a man with a beard, which is consistent with the earliest two monuments featured here, one from Granby (1868) and the other from New Haven (1870). The Forlorn Soldier has two major inconsistencies from all of the monuments featured here. First, the arm positioning on the monuments here are above the belt and the Forlorn Soldiers arm is positioned below the belt. The other inconsistency is that all of these monuments have some sort of support on the back of the statue. The Forlorn Soldier does not have this same support.

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Fraser.TheLandOfSteadyHabits.pdf

The title of this post is the file name for a book that I recently scanned and added to my digital collection. Written by the late Bruce Fraser in 1988, Land of Steady Habits: A Brief History of Connecticut is an important work in the Connecticut history literary cadre.  According to the Publisher’s Note, The Connecticut Historical Commission produced this booklet claiming that it “provides the essence of Connecticut.” At the time of publication, the Commission hoped that Land of Steady Habits would stimulate further study and “provide a wider public appreciation” for the states historical heritage.  This work does all of the above and should be a standard in every history classroom across the state.

Fraser’s Land of Steady Habits is especially accessible to middle and high school grades because of its concise nature.  The entire booklet is eighty pages including title page, table of contents, postscript, timeline, images, and a four page listing of CT’s national historic land marks.  The body of the essay is fifty-two pages broken in 15 sections.  This is the equivalent of 3.4 pages per chapter, very manageable for readers at any level.  Although Mr. Fraser’s work is short, it is packed with not only the story of Connecticut, but also connections to the national historical themes.  Classroom history and social studies teachers could use this work to teach history through the lens of the local story from the time “before the Europeans” to the social unrest of the 1960s.  The basic premise behind this book is that the history of Connecticut is important, a message that we need to teach to the youth of the state.

One of the perennial concerns for Connecticut for the last several decades is the lack of local attachment. It is evident in the disjointed nature of the cities and towns and most prominent in the capital city.  Go to downtown Hartford on a weekend day and it is a ghost town.  People come in to work and they leave to their towns in the suburbs and beyond.  This scenario was just as true at the time of Land of Steady Habits publication as it is today.  Fraser and others, myself included, would accredit this lack of connection to suburban crawl and white-flight of the post-War period.  Nutmeggers now have their own enclaves a world apart from the deteriorating and increasingly diverse cities that they left behind. They lost their connection with the culture and history of their surroundings and they are unattached.

Raising our state’s future generations with knowledge and experiences of local culture and history is needed to create attachment to the region.  Students who are exposed to the culture of the state today will contribute to the local community tomorrow.  If we teach about the history and take students to experience Connecticut culture at places like the Wadsworth, Goodspeed, or Peabody and historical sites such as the Old State House, the Soldier and Sailors Memorial Arch, and Tapping Reeve House and Law School, then they are more likely to participate in cultural offerings when they reach adulthood.  Remarkably,  I am seeing a rise in interest in both state history and local connections.  This may be the time for institutions to market themselves to education institutions to increase their presence in the classroom and curriculum.  I am not talking about marketing to schools so you can charge $6 per person to offer a writing program.  Cultural institutions should look at schools as a way to market to future consumers or customers.  The more exposure the better.  Maybe these institutions should take the advice of the Connecticut Historical Commission and work to “provide a wider public appreciation” for the culture of CT…for the future of CT.

*Please note that my mentioning of cultural and historical centers in this article are not an endorsement of any institution or a discredit to those not listed.

Wadsworth image credit: Wikipedia.

The Internship Begins

I got word this week that my public history internship was accepted by CCSU.  This is a huge step forward for my career in many ways.  First, I will gain a deeper understanding of local/regional history.  Next, I will further develop my writing skills, especially when crafting a interpretation about the past. Finally, these first two developments will increase my effectiveness as an educator.  Overall, this internship is a melding of several projects that I am involved in and points me in the direction of a long-term sustainable career.

In the coming weeks and months look forward to insights, troubles, and triumphs as I work towards achieving this goal.

Public History Internship Proposal

​This proposed internship experience is as a research assistant for several contracted public history projects. The main project is researching for Goodwin College. The research will contribute to a publishable land use history article, the development of a college course, and the creation of a research center. Primarily, the research conducted in this internship will be used to write a land use history of Goodwin College’s River Campus, stretching from Riverside Drive in East Hartford south to the Rt. 3 Bridge. More specifically, we will compare and contrast the land use of this property to usage of land in the Connecticut River region. Steve Armstrong, the professional supervisor for this internship, and I have already had several meetings with professionals in the field and our client, Goodwin College. As an extension of this land use research, Goodwin College wants to develop a history course and ultimately a research center for the Connecticut River.​

Another project I will work as a part of this internship is contributing to connecticuthistory.org, a program of Connecticut Humanities Council. In this portion of the internship, I will research primary sources and write 100-150-word descriptions for a teacher resources page for the newly launched site. The project supervisor will monitor and authorize submissions. The focus of this research is for a section entitled, “CT and the New Nation.” The time period covers from 1800 to the 1830s/1840s. Some topics include industrialization/ manufacturing, Manifest Destiny, maritime history, and evolution of the landscape. In addition to contributing individual resources, I will also write a 100-200-word essay describing the resource section. Much of the work for this internship will be independent with scheduled progress meetings.

These projects build upon the courses I have taken at CCSU in several ways. First and foremost, the research is a direct extension of the land use and local history research methods from Hist. 505, Local History and Community Development. The CHC project, partnership with Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, will put into practice the Digital History coursework of Hist. 511. Other aspects of the coursework I have completed that this internship will build upon are interpretation, use of historiography, and creating a narrative of historical events. Finally, this internship is an opportunity to work in the client-based realm of public history, a concept discussed in the Seminar in Public History.

​This proposed internship experience furthers my career goals both in and outside of the classroom. The area of public history that I am most interested in is the client-based aspect. This opportunity will put me on the front lines of research and interpretation for academic, non-academic, and client-based audiences. These projects will also further my understanding of Connecticut History, with a special focus on the CT River region. This internship provide the future opportunity to create and deliver college-level curriculum. Another result from this internship will be increased capabilities to develop Connecticut and local history in the high school social studies classroom. The US history courses taught at CT River Academy are a through the lens of the CT River and much of the research will be used to enhance instruction. Overall, this internship will contribute to my abilities as a public historian and will create many career opportunities in the future.