Tag Archives: Connecticut Historical Society

Hepburn’s Clothes On Display At CHS

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hepburn13hepburn11Ladies, Katharine Hepburn knew how to shop wisely.

When she found pants that fit right, she bought several pair. And as far as shoes, when she found the ones that worked best, she bought a few pair instead of just one.

Proof of those habits were part of the fun and the celebrity of the opening reception for the “Katharine Hepburn: Dressed For Stage and Screen” exhibit at the Connecticut Historical Society Thursday.

Among the lush and creative costumes from her famous plays and movies including “The Lion in Winter,” “Coco” and “Adam’s Rib,” were some of Hepburn’s personal belongings including several pair of her signature beige trousers as well as pairs of identical leather walking shoes.

But it was the costumes including the slinky red gown and ostrich feather boa from “Love Among the Ruins” and the pink gown from “The Philadelphia Story” and even the somewhat tame turtleneck and pants from “On Golden Pond” that had the VIP guests remembering and buzzing about Connecticut’s most famous and most treasured actress.

“I think it is the nostalgia of her and her movies that brought us here,” said West Hartford resident Mary Britcher who attended the reception with her husband Bill. “There were so many of her movies we loved, I don’t know what one was our favorite,” she said as the two conferred. “I thihepburn10nk “African Queen” is probably the one we both agree on.”

While the crowd was a diverse one, the movies most often mentioned and the costumes and posters most couldn’t wait to see were those from some of her most well-known movies.

“She seemed so strong-willed and independent long before women were really allowed to be,” said Vernon resident Gail Ramos who got a last minute invitation from a friend to reception. “I’m not old enough to remember her in her heyday so I have only heard my parents and grandparents talk about her and her history,” Ramos said. “But I have seen some of her classics including ‘Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner,” she said, adding that she found it amazing that the  5 foot, eight inch Hepburn wore clothes that today would be a size 2 or 4. “She was such a powerful woman, and how interesting that her everyday life was so opposite of her professional life,” Ramos added. “You can see it in her clothes.”

The exhibit, owned by Kent State university in Ohio, will be on display until Sept. 13. For more information go to www.chs.org

CHS Has New Executive Director

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Jody Blankenship has been tapped as the new executive director at The Connecticut Historical Society, it was announced Thursday. Blankenship succeeds Kate Steinway who retired in November, 2012.

 “Jody clearly distinguished himself among a number of outstanding candidates from across the nation,” said CHS board chair Paul Beach. “His vision, passionate commitment to the life-enriching power of historical understanding, and already-demonstrated record of leadership, collaboration and management savvy give the Board great confidence that he will lead CHS to engage new communities and new audiences through 21st-Century tools.”

Blankenship was previously education director at the Kentucky Historical Society where he initiated technological advancements including the launch of “Explore Kentucky History,” the institution’s first mobile application.

He begins in Hartford on Sept. 23.

Time To Go Out Hartford! April Is Here!

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jewishAnd that means milder temperatures (hopefully) and a ramped up gala and event season!

Thursday the 17th annual  Jewish Film Fest opens at the Spotlight Theatres on Front Street in Hartford with a reception followed by the first in the film series “Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story,”

The festival continues trough April 15 with a schedule of 21 award-winning films from eight countries. As part of the series there will also be special guest speakers, directors and producers with movies being shown at several locations. Go to www.hjff.org . for information.

Updated_postcard_front_NPOn Friday, head over to the Connecticut Historical Society where it will host its first “Connecticut Historical Society Cook-Off.”

A panel of judges including Courant Java, WFSB Kara Sundlun, WNPR  Chion Wolf,  Food blogger Caitlin Croswell  and writer Krystian von Speidel  will judge food entries in categories including  casseroles, Grandma’s Kitchen and the Not-So-Secret Ingredients Challenge.

The party will also feature food from the Pond House, wine donated by CT Valley Views (ctvalleyviews.com), spirits by Onyx, and beer provided by Thomas Hooker Brewing Company. Guided tours of the society exhibit “Cooking by the Book: Amelia Simmons to Martha Stewart” and a trip down food memory lane will round out a vintage evening of food and fun. A canned food drive to benefit Hands on Hartford is also part of the event.

Go to chs.org for information.

Get out of the house  with the family Saturday and head over to the Bushnell’s Family Day.

ERTH’s Dinosaur Petting Zoo™ will be featured, an interactive exhibit for children and adults that includes a simulated prehistoric journey with Erth’s multi-faceted performers. Audiences will have the opportunity to feed, water and care for the prehistoric marvels via simple lessons in animal husbandry. Lobby activities are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with performances of ERTH’s Dinosaur Petting Zoo™ at 10 a.m. and 12 noon.

BallGame[1]Did anyone notice its baseball season? The Hartford Symphony Orchestra will celebrate with a special concert Saturday titled “Take Me Out to The Ballgame.” The event, coordinated with the New Britain Rick Cats, will feature thousands of archival photos, video from the national Baseball Hall of Fame and  songs including “Let’s Keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn” and “Slide Kelly, Slide. ” Baseball movie music including selections from “The Natural” and “Field of Dreams” will also be performed.

Go to hartfordsymphony. org for ticket information.



Three-Day Weekend Hartford? Enjoy!

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calendar_clip_art-1_optFor some, this weekend will be a decadent three days long because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday Monday.

And that means some additional special events.

On Friday, the Connecticut Historical Society will open a new exhibit “Cooking By The Book: Amelia Simmons to Martha Stewart.”

ameliasThe exhibit, developed by students in the Public History Program at Central Connecticut State College,  traces the changes in cooking and its impact on society  and showcases one of only four surviving first editions of Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery. The book, America’s first cookbook , was published in Hartford in 1796. The featured cookbooks include “Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt-Book” by Catharine Esther Beecher, sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Fannie Farmer’s “The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book”  and  Martha Stewart’s “Entertaining.” The opening reception is from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Plans are to hold a “Community Potluck” in conjunction with the exhibit on April 5.


On Saturday,  The Bridge Family Center will hold its 14th annual “Children’s Charity Ball” at the Hartford Golf Club beginning at 6 p.m. Honorary chairs are Peter and Cynthia Gutermann and UTC Propulsion & Aerospace. Proceeds from the event, which includes live and silent auctions, benefit the center which provides services and support for young people and their families.

king4[1]The state will hold its  27th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Celebration Monday at  11 a.m. in the Hall of Flags in the Capitol Building. Three people will be honored: Rex Fowler, Hartford City Mission (Leadership Honoree); Diane Lucas, Glastonbury MLK Community Initiative (Community Honoree); and the Rev. Bonita Grubbs, Christian Community Action (Humanitarian Honoree). The Liberty Bell will be rung following the ceremony.

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, 77 Forest St., Hartford, is giving free tours talking about Stowe and the Emancipation Proclamation on Monday in honor of King. Tour guides will also discuss King’s march on Washington D.C. 50 years ago, where he gave his “I Have A Dream” speech. Stowe, who wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” urged then-Pres. Abraham Lincoln to sign the proclamation. Tours run between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. There are children’s tours, for ages 5 to 10, at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. They include a tour of the home with props, crafts and storytelling. Information: 860-522-9258 and www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.org.

The Mark Twain House is offering free tours to Hartford residents on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Residents should bring proof of residency. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; with the last tour is at 4:30.  Information: www.marktwainhouse.org.

amistadThe Amistad Center for Art & Culture, the Connecticut African-American Affairs Commission and the Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Commission will also mark the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The event features poetry,  music, living history and historical readings from 1 to 4 p.m. at The Amistad Center for Art & Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum.


salute_opt[1]Monday is not only Martin Luther King Day. it also marks the start of the two-week long Taste of Hartford, a way to dine fine and inexpensively!

Dozens of Hartford restaurants are offering $20.13 dinners as part of the promotion. More information on participating restaurants and menus is available at tastehartford.com.





Wedding Reception A First Today At Ct. Historical Society

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It’s a first at the CT Historical Society today and it’s not so much about old things but rather about a new marriage.

Alan English and Gretchen Unfried will hold their wedding reception at the society for very sentimental reasons.

The two met at the annual West End of Hartford dine-around, a kind of oversized block party that brings neighbors together. English hosted one of the dinner portions of the event and Unfried was assigned to eat at his house.

Gretchen is a school leader at Achievement First Hartford Elementary. English is a brand manager for Stanley Black and Decker.

“We choose CHS not because of its mission or decor, but because it is in the West End,” explained English about the reception site that has never been used for such an occassion before.  ” We both live here, met here, and are very well-connected in the neighborhood,”  he said. “It was important to us to share our neighborhood with our friends and family.  So much of our event is about the neighborhood.”