2014 History Bites Lecture Series
Each spring History Bites, comprised of ten local historical societies and museums, presents a series of weekly lunchtime lectures designed to bring topics of local history to the attention of the regional community. With generous funding from the Connecticut Humanities and from the Connecticut Community Foundation, this year’s lecture series entitled, The Way We Worked/Work, will explore the past, present and future of work in the lives of Connecticut residents.
The lectures will complement the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibition, The Way We Worked, visiting seven locations throughout Connecticut. American jobs are as diverse as the American workforce. From agriculture to industry, American workers keep our economy and our society up and running. Adapted from an original exhibition developed by the National Archives, the exhibition traces the many changes that have affected the American workforce and work environments thoroughout our country’s history. (For more information on exhibition dates and locations, visit cthumanities.org.)
The lunchtime lectures will be hosted on Thursdays between March and May from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. Lectures are free and open to the public.
The Way We Worked / Work
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Old Bethlehem Historical Society
New Spin on the Old Family Farm
Speakers: Ben March and Ken Assard
Lecture Site: Church of the Nativity
48 East Street, Bethlehem, CT
Two young entrepreneurs tell how they have preserved their family farms and how farm work has been transformed by technology and innovation. March Farm and Percy Thomson Meadows are two
examples of creativity in land use.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
The Old Woodbury Historical Society
Industry and the Growth of Woodbury
Speaker: Sarah Griswold
Lecture Site: New Morning Market
129 Main Street North, Woodbury, CT
This illustrated presentation will be about the rise and decline of factories and mills in Woodbury, and the legacy of those activities on our landscape. The talk will include a discussion of the unique
geology of the area that contributed to both the rise and fall of industry. It will also touch on the larger forces that determined industrial growth in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Torrington Historical Society
Speaker: Mark McEachern, Executive Director
Lecture Site: Torrington Historical Society Carriage House
192 Main Street, Torrington, CT
Drawing from the Torrington Historical Society’s rich photographic collection, this visual presentation will illustrate residents at work from the late 19th century through the mid 20th century. Photographs in this program show men, women and children in various occupations. Included are scenes on farms, in factories, in shops and offices.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden
American as Apple Pie
Speaker: Tom Christopher
Lecture Site: Bellamy Hall of First Church of Bethlehem
21 Main Street South, Bethlehem, CT
Tom Christopher, a graduate of the New York Botanical Garden School of Professional Horticulture, will explore the role of domesticated apples in the history of rural Connecticut, including the Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden, and introduce some of the historic apple varieties that are still available today. He will explore how apples were a key cash crop for farmers especially through cider production and offer tasting of some hard ciders produced with traditional recipes and methods that allow the modern New Englander to taste again the flavors that delighted their predecessors in this region.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Litchfield Historical Society
How We Didn’t Work: The Rise of Litchfield’s Tourism Industry
Speaker: Kate Meador, Curator of Education
Lecture Site: Litchfield Historical Society
7 South Street, Litchfield CT
In the late 19th century, Litchfield’s tourism industry boomed. The advent of the railroad and the concept of a weekend brought many seasonal residents to the area to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and unspoiled scenery. This talk will explore the many ways Litchfield transformed into a resort community.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Glebe House Museum & Gertrude Jekyll Garden
The Antique Trade in Woodbury
Speaker: Wayne Mattox, Owner of Wayne Mattox Antiques
Lecture Site: Gallery at Woodbury Public Library
From vintage porcelain to 20th century Modern, the antique shops that line Main Street in Woodbury are a destination for antique lovers from all over the country. Wayne Mattox, owner of Wayne Mattox Antiques and well-known antiques dealer, appraiser and auctioneer will talk about the evolution of this exciting business, which has been Woodbury’s main industry for over 50 years, and the people involved in its growth.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust
Creating Art and Artists Throughout the Greater Woodbury Region
Speaker: Don Giroux, an educator, local presenter and Flanders Board member.
Lecture Site: The Studio @ Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust
5 Church Hill Road, Woodbury, CT
Among a variety of accomplished artists living and working in the Woodbury region, Natalie Van Vleck was lesser known but gaining stature as a historic art figure. Don Giroux will take us on a journey that explores some of the areas known artists (especially Natalie) and the local art they helped to create and celebrate.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Gunn Memorial Library & Museum
Women at Work: Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Connection to The Gunnery
Speaker: Olivia Judd, 2013-14 Gunn Scholar, The Gunnery
Lecture Site: Wykeham Room of the Gunn Library
5 Wykeham Road, Washington, CT
The oldest school in town is The Gunnery, which was not only founded as an excellent independent school, but also a platform for antislavery activism. Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry Ward Beecher, both nationally known abolitionists, sent their children to The Gunnery in the 1850s and 1860s. Ms. Judd will look into the relationship of the Stowe, Beecher, and Gunn families and the impact they made on The Gunnery, Washington, and the nation as a whole.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
The Way They Worked Us
Speaker: Jeremy Brecher, Historian
Lecture Site: Mattatuck Museum
144 West Main Street, Waterbury CT
Jeremy Brecher has interviewed, studied, written books, and made films about work and workers for the past forty years. Books like Strike!, a history of peak periods of class conflict in America, and Brass Valley, an account of the brass workers in Connecticut's Naugatuck Valley, have told workers' stories, often in their own words. His talk will argue that work is more than simply an activity; it is also a set of relationships -- and that workers have been crucial in shaping those relationships throughout American history.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Topsmead State Forest
The Work that Built and Maintained Topsmead
Speaker: Jerry Geci, Educator and Guide, Topsmead State Forest
Lecture Site: Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road, Litchfield, CT
Behind every end product is a process that required thought and effort. Learn about the work that brought into being Edith M. Chase's beloved Topsmead and the establishment of Topsmead State Forest.