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P.O. Box 46, Glastonbury, CT 06033

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1944 Main St., Glastonbury, CT 06033

860-633-6890
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Historical Society membership meetings

Upcoming Meetings:

​“An Evening with William and Helen Gillette”
Tuesday, October 23rd
7:30 pm
First Congregational Church
2183 Main Street
As portrayed by Harold (Tyke) and Theodora (Teddie) Niver


It is commonly said that “a man’s home is his castle”. But for William Gillette (1853-1937), a native of Hartford, who, despite his father, US Sen. Francis Gillette’s, misgivings, went on to become the most important and influential actor of his day, it was quite literally true. That home, of course, is Gillette Castle, designed by Gillette himself and constructed between 1914 and 1919 on a prominence overlooking the Connecticut River in East Haddam, and now a state park. Providing Gillette with the means to indulge his every architectural and creative fancy was his decades-long popularity and immense financial success playing Sherlock Holmes in the play of the same name that he, not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, had written back in 1899.  
On Tuesday, October 23rd at 7:30 pm, Harold and Theodora Niver will portray “Will” and his wife, Helen, in their own popular historical interpretation “An Evening with the Gillettes”. Sponsored by the Historical Society of Glastonbury, this entertaining and educational theatrical-style performance will take place at First Church Congregational, 2183 Main Street in Glastonbury. It is the last of the four free presentations open to the public which the HSG has sponsored this year. 
Live-long enthusiasts of both Sherlock Holmes and the Gillettes, the Nivers have been appearing as Will and Helen weekends at Gillette Castle State Park since 2002. “An Evening with the Gillettes” is a cohesive and expanded version of those appearances featuring authentic period costuming, witty repartee, and Victorian-era musical interludes. During the course of the performance, attendees will learn about the life, loves, and illustrious career of William Gillette who almost single-handedly changed the way turn-of-the-century actors performed before pioneering the role of Sherlock Holmes. It was Gillette, for example, who popularized the deerstalker cap, the calabash pipe, and even the phrase “Elementary, my dear Watson.”  
But the Nivers don’t just portray the Gillettes at Gillette Castle or throughout Connecticut in their “An Evening with the Gillettes,” they live them in their Victorian-themed home in Rocky Hill. As a result, they – and their house – have been profiled in magazines such as “US,” “Smithsonian,” “Fortune,” “Connecticut” and “Yankee,” and appeared in numerous local and national TV news segments.  


Previous Meetings:​

New Discovery’s Stemming from The Hollister/Gilbert Dig S. Glastonbury


​The Historical Society of Glastonbury (HSG) brings you “New Discovery’s Stemming from The Hollister/Gilbert Dig S. Glastonbury” presented by Dr. Brian Jones, on Tuesday, May 22nd at 7:30pm at the First Church Congregational, 2183 Main Street in Glastonbury. This is the third of four free presentations open to the public which the HSG sponsors throughout the year.
Join Dr. Brian Jones, Connecticut State Archaeologist as he discusses his 2017 findings during two seasons of excavation at the Lt. John Hollister site in Glastonbury. This 17th century fortified farmstead is remarkably well-preserved and contains a wealth of information about the early English settlement of Connecticut. In addition to having excellent preservation of organic materials, including fragile fish remains, the site provides new and informative evidence of the relationships made between the English settlers and the Wangunk Indians.
The 2017 field season focused on two main questions. The first was to determine if post 
features could be found between the three main cellars identified in 2015. If so, these could 
provide information about the architecture of the old Hollister house. The second was to explore a new cellar feature to the south and determine if a nearby, possible wigwam feature related in time to the Hollister Farm. This talk summarizes our finds and digs into the Gilbert and Hollister family historical documents more deeply as well.
Dr. Jones 2017 field season focused on two main questions. The first was to determine if post features could be found between the three main cellars identified in 2015. If so, these could provide information about the architecture of the old Hollister house. The second was to explore a new cellar feature to the south and determine if a nearby, possible wigwam feature related in time to the Hollister Farm. This talk summarizes finds and digs into the Gilbert and Hollister family historical documents more deeply as well.


Connecticut Made

The Historical Society of Glastonbury (HSG) brings you “Connecticut Made” presented by Cynthia Parzych, on Tuesday, March 27th at 7:30pm at the First Church Congregational, 2183 Main Street in Glastonbury. This is the second of four free presentations open to the public which the HSG sponsors throughout the year.
Join Connecticut native Cynthia Parzych and learn about the spiritual “road trip” she took while researching and writing her book Connecticut Made: A Unique Guidebook to Local Resources and Cottage Industries Learn about creative craftsmen, artisans and entrepreneurs that reside in Connecticut and what motivates their loyal supporters. This talk will inspire you to take your own road trip to visit local businesses, discover local history and have fun finding out what goes on in Connecticut. 

About Cynthia Parzych
Born and educated in Connecticut, Cynthia Parzych is a writer, book publisher, editor and professional chef. She lives in Glastonbury where she runs her publishing company and a food business. She utilizes the produce grown on her property and sourced locally to make sauces, soups, pesto, pickles, vinegars, jams and marmalades all sold from her house and farm stand. This presentation is FREE and open to the public. Parking is in the rear of the Church. Come in the bottom rear door or the side door facing the driveway. Phone 860-633-6890 or visit www.hsgct.org for events and more information.


Frost Season: The Poetry of Robert Frost in Story and Song 
presented by Connecticut State Historian Walt Woodward and the musical group Band of Steady Habits

The Historical Society of Glastonbury (HSG) brings you “Frost Season: The Poetry of Robert Frost in Story and Song” presented by Connecticut State Historian Walt Woodward and the musical group Band of Steady Habits, on Tuesday, January 23rd at 7:30pm at the First Church Congregational, 2183 Main Street in Glastonbury. This is the first of four free presentations open to the public which the HSG sponsors throughout the year.
In “Frost Season,” Walt Woodward and the musical group Band of Steady Habits present a unique occasion for you to enjoy the works of American poet Robert Frost paired with songs that reflect and amplify the power of New England’s most beloved poet. Robert Frost was a four-time Pulitzer Prize winner for volumes of his poetry. Walter Woodward was formerly a hit songwriter and is now an award-winning author of books about New England history and an Associate Professor of History at the University of Connecticut. A long-time admirer of Frost, Woodward and his musical partners Rachel Smith, Teagan Smith, Jeremy Teitelbaum, and Duke York present a unique tribute to Frost– a lecture, love story, poetry reading, and song-pairing, all in one.

About Band of Steady Habits
The six-member acoustic Band of Steady Habits came together in 2014 to share their love of music, and to use their talents to help create a new kind of public history presentation. Rachel Smith, Teagan Smith, Jeremy Teitelbaum, Walt Woodward, and Duke York use banjo, guitars, violin, recorders, bass, percussion, and beautiful harmonies to perform songs – some old, some original, and some contemporary – to accompany the rich and evocative stories of Walt Woodward. The stories provide new insights and perspectives into topics ranging from the Civil War to the uniqueness of Connecticut, to the poetry of Robert Frost. The Band of Steady Habits has received rave reviews throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts where they are gaining fans for both their stories and music. 




Making Places
A Presentation given by Renée Tribert, Project Manager of “Making Places,” an initiative of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation

The Historical Society of Glastonbury (HSG) brings you “Making Places” presented by Renée Tribert, Project Manager of the initiative of the same name of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, on Tuesday, October 24th at 7:30pm at the First Church Congregational, 2183 Main Street in Glastonbury. This is the last of four free presentations open to the public which the HSG sponsors throughout the year.
Surviving wooden grist mills, brick textile mills, and concrete lofts in our towns and cities all attest to Connecticut’s long history of manufacturing. Many of these buildings have been adapted to new uses such as museums, housing, and office space; others stand lifeless and neglected.
“Making Places: Historic Mills of Connecticut” is an initiative of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation that documents the state’s historic mills and factories and encourages their productive reuse through education and technical assistance. An introduction to the program will be followed by selected survey findings and an in-depth study of the Russell Manufacturing Company site in Haddam, including its implications for the Hopewell Mill Site here in Glastonbury.  
“Making Places” is funded by the State Historic Preservation Office, Department of Economic and Community Development and the Community Investment Act.
Renée Tribert became Project Manager for “Making Places” in 2014, after a sixteen-year hiatus from preservation which she spent in in environmental consulting. She has a Master’s in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and has served as curator/collections manager at the Harriet Beecher Stowe House and the New Britain Museum of American Art.



Exciting New Finds from the John Hollister Site: What we are Learning about 17th Century Life in Glastonbury

Presented by: Professor Brian Jones, Connecticut's State Archeologist
The Historical Society of Glastonbury (HSG) brings you “Exciting New Finds from the John Hollister Site: What we are Learning about 17th Century Life in Glastonbury” presented by Professor Brian Jones, Connecticut’s State Archeologist, on Tuesday, May 23nd at 7:30pm at the First Church Congregational, 2183 Main Street in Glastonbury. This is the third of four free presentations open to the public which the HSG sponsors throughout the year.
Three archeological digs last summer unearthed clues about Connecticut’s colonial past. One of the digs was conducted with Historical Society of Glastonbury Archaeology Day participants in a pasture alongside the Connecticut River in South Glastonbury. With the help of ground penetrating radar (GPR), numerous artifacts were unearthed. While it will probably take a number of years to fully document them, Dr. Jones, who led the excavation, will tell us what they suggest to us about some of the Connecticut River Valley’s first European settlers.
Brian Jones is associated with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History at UConn. Brian has worked as an archaeologist since 1992 and received his Ph.D. in Anthropology at UConn in 1998. Brian has a broad background in New England archaeology that spans the Paleoindian period through the industrial era. His special fields of interest include the peopling of the New World, lithic analysis, and geoarchaeology. He has recently made the archaeology of 17th Century Connecticut one of his top priories. Dr. Jones has traveled extensively in Southeast Asia and lived and studied in Germany. He leads a busy life in Glastonbury with his wife and two children. 



An Architectural Gem: Connecticut's Old State House and its History
Presented by Sally Whipple

The Historical Society of Glastonbury (HSG) brings you “An Architectural Gem: Connecticut's Old State House and its History” presented by Sally Whipple on Tuesday, March 28th at 7:30pm at the First Church Congregational, 2183 Main Street in Glastonbury. This is the second of four free presentations open to the public which the HSG sponsors throughout the year.
Connecticut’s Old State House is an architectural gem designed by American architect Charles Bulfinch. Completed in 1796 it has ties to every town in the state. As the seat of government from1796 to 1878, it housed the Senate, House, governor, and courts, as well as the state library and a museum featuring curiosities from around the world. Important local and national stories played out in its halls, including the first Amistad Trials and legislative activities related to State Heroine Prudence Crandall. Noah Webster and PT Barnum served in the legislature here and many famous people passed through its doors. Today, the Old State House is a museum that brings a lively mixture of history and civics to students and tourists from both near and far. Old State House Executive Director, Sally Whipple, will share pictures and stories of the Old State House and its impact on life in the Nutmeg State. 
In addition to her position at the State House, Sally Whipple serves as Chair of Connecticut Humanities and is a member of the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s Civic Health Advisory Group. She also serves on the boards of Discovering Amistad, Inc. and the Coltsville Heritage Partnership. She is past president of the Connecticut League of History Organizations, a member of the editorial board of “Connecticut Explored” magazine, and past vice president of the Colchester Historical Society. 
In 2015 she received an Award of Excellence from the New England Museum Association for her commitment to the Connecticut museum community over the past thirty years. She and her Old State House colleagues lead the Connecticut affiliate of National History Day for middle and high school students as well as a nationally award-winning 5th-grade school program, Connecticut’s Kid Governor, created by CPAN in 2015.
Whipple has a BA in History from Seton Hill College and an MA in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program. She has served as director of education and executive director of the Noah Webster House, director of education for the Mark Twain House, director of the Lebanon Historical Society and as an anti-hunger advocate for the Connecticut Association for Human Services. She has also consulted on strategic and interpretive planning with many Connecticut history groups. 
She and her husband live in Colchester where they foster collies for the Collie Rescue League of New England. 



The Role Connecticut Played During World War I
Presented by Christine Pittsley

The Historical Society of Glastonbury (HSG) brings you “The Role Connecticut Played During World War I” presented by Christine Pittsley on Tuesday, January 24th at 7:30pm at the First Church Congregational, 2183 Main Street in Glastonbury. This is one of four free presentations open to the public which the HSG sponsors throughout the year.
This presentation will explore the role Connecticut played leading up to the war, home front activities during the war, stories of local contributions to the war effort, and how Connecticut commemorated the war.
Connecticut was known as “the Arsenal of the Nation” during World War I. It is believed that Connecticut factories produced two-thirds of all munitions used by the Allied Forces. Yet Connecticut played other roles as well, ones that are just now being revealed.. Join Christine Pittsley from the Connecticut State Library's “Remembering World War One” project to explore what was happening here on the home front as our soldiers fought in the trenches. Learn about how our war governor, Marcus Holcomb, prepared the state for war and how Connecticut’s Council of Defense became one of the largest and most effective in the nation. From Liberty Loan campaigns and victory gardens to local soldiers and nurses on the front lines, you will also learn about the ways Glastonbury in particular contributed to winning the war.
Christine Pittsley is the Project Director for the Remembering World War One community archiving project at the Connecticut State Library as well as the Chair for the Connecticut World War One Centennial Committee. She also serves as Connecticut’s liaison to the United States World War One Centennial Commission. For the past nine years, Christine has also led the State Library’s archival and museum digitization and metadata programs. She has been involved in a number of statewide digital initiatives, has served on the boards of the Association for the Study of Connecticut History and the Cheshire Historical Society, and is currently a Commissioner on the Cheshire Historic District Commission.

The Cost of Battles Not Fought: War and Rumors of 
War in Early New England 
Presented by Dr. Woodward

This thought-provoking and copiously illustrated presentation looks at the role rumors (and who doesn’t love a good rumor) played in the early wars between English settlers and the native people whose land they occupied. Focusing on the first and most shocking of these conflicts - the Pequot War of 1636-1637 - it argues that rumors, rather than actual conflict, account for the greatest expenditures of time, resources, and psychic energy in this, and probably most other, human conflicts.
Prof. Woodward is a scholar of Early American and Atlantic World history, with an emphasis on Connecticut and New England. His research interests cover a variety of subjects, including witchcraft, alchemy and the history of science, the use of music in Early America, and environmental history.
Prof. Woodward received his Ph. D. with Distinction from the University of Connecticut in 2001, and has served as State Historian since 2004. He obtained his Master's Degree in History from Cleveland State University, and his B.A. in English from the University of Florida. Prior to joining UConn, he was a faculty member of the Department of History at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.
Before becoming a historian, Woodward had successful careers in both the music and advertising industries. He was the composer of two hit country songs ("Marty Gray" and "It Could'a Been Me") in the 1970s, as well as music for film and television, for which he won two Emmy Awards and two special achievement awards from SESAC. His advertising creativity won him 8 Clio Awards, and in 1980 he was Cleveland's Advertising Person of the Year.  




The History of Memorial Day (including its Glastonbury Root), on this, its 150th Anniversary
Presented by Marshall S. "Mike" Berdan

The Historical Society of Glastonbury (HSG) brings you “The History of Memorial Day” presented by Marshall S. "Mike" Berdan on Tuesday, May 24th at 7:30pm at the First Church Congregational, 2183 Main Street in Glastonbury. This is one of four free presentations open to the public which the HSG sponsors throughout the year.
Memorial Day, America’s most solemn holiday, originated 150 years ago this month in Waterloo, New York, or so decreed Congress in 1966 on the eve of its centennial. If so, then the father of the commemoration originally as "Decoration Day" is none other than Henry C. Welles, a relative of Glastonbury's own Gideon Welles (Lincoln's Secretary of the Navy), who had himself been born here in 1820. 
Writer, historian, and Historical Society of Glastonbury board member Marshall S. "Mike" Berdan will speak about Henry C. Welles, that first Memorial Day, and the subsequent history of the holiday. 




Connecticut’s Earliest European Settlers: 
Recent Finds from Glastonbury and Windsor

Professor Brian Jones, Connecticut State Archaeologist

The Historical Society of Glastonbury (HSG) brings you “Connecticut’s Earliest European Settlers: Recent Finds from Glastonbury and Windsor” presented by 
Professor Brian Jones, Connecticut’s State Archeologist, on Tuesday, March 22nd at 7:30pm at the First Church Congregational, 2183 Main Street in Glastonbury. This is one of four free presentations open to the public which the HSG sponsors throughout the year.
Three archeological digs this past summer unearthed clues about Connecticut’s colonial past. One of the digs was conducted with Historical Society of Glastonbury Archaeology Day participants in a pasture alongside the Connecticut River in South Glastonbury. A ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey was conducted and the large remains that were uncovered are very exciting, though it is likely that it will take a number of years of thorough study to fully document what is clearly a very significant find. Dr. Brian Jones, Connecticut’s State Archaeologist and the leader of these excavations, will talk about what they entail and what they tell us about Connecticut’s earliest European settlers. 
Brian Jones is Connecticut’s State Archaeologist and is associated with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History at UConn. Brian has worked as an archaeologist since 1992 and received his Ph.D. in Anthropology at UConn in 1998. Brian has a broad background in New England archaeology that spans the Paleoindian period through the industrial era. His special fields of interest include the peopling of the New World, lithic analysis, and geoarchaeology. He has recently made the archaeology of 17th Century Connecticut one of his top priories. Dr. Jones has traveled extensively in Southeast Asia and lived and studied in Germany. He leads a busy life in Glastonbury with his wife and two children.





Historical Impact of the Iroquois
Presented By Luis R. Lee
The Historical Society of Glastonbury (HSG) brings you “Iroquois Historic Impact” presented by Luis R. Lee (Guin Yah Geyh) on Tuesday, January 26th at 7:30pm at the First Church Congregational, 2183 Main Street in Glastonbury. This is one of four free presentations open to the public which the HSG sponsors throughout the year.

Dressed in full Seneca regalia, Guin Yah Geyh will discuss the history of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and their contributions to American history, specifically the northeast. He will discuss how the Iroquois form of government influenced the U.S. Constitution and how women were the controlling factor in the Iroquois Confederacy.

Our presenter, Luis Robert Lee, a member of the Bear Clan was born on the Seneca Nation's Allegany Indian Reservation in Quaker Bridge, NY. His clan name, Guin Yah Geyh, means "Something from the Clouds" and was given to him by his maternal grandmother in the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Longhouse.

Luis worked as a connector on high steel construction with his father while obtaining his BFA degree in Advertising Design from Syracuse University. After working his way up in the corporate world, Luis finished his "big business" career as Director of Packaging at Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd., in Ontario, Canada. He then formed his own boutique design firm specializing in packaging design and consulting and had major national and international clients. He has won many prestigious graphic design awards.

Luis is also a former lacrosse player and now coaches high school lacrosse in Connecticut. He has played for the Newtown Athletic Club (Iroquois Can/Am box lacrosse leagues), Syracuse University, and the New York City and New Jersey lacrosse clubs.

In his spare time, Luis creates beadwork jewelry, horn rattles and, most recently, Quahog "wampum" shell necklaces and earrings. The designs are based on the tradition, color and style of the Haudenosaunee and are unique, but faithful to the American Indian heritage.

Each piece created by Luis is, by its very nature, one of a kind and all are a joy to wear or collect by Native and non-Native people alike.




The Hartford Courant: 250 Years and Counting 
Presented by Henry McNulty​

The Historical Society of Glastonbury (HSG) brings you “The Hartford Courant: 250 Years and Counting” presented by Henry McNulty on Tuesday, October 27th at 7:30pm at the First Church Congregational, 2183 Main Street in Glastonbury. The presentation will focus on the history of the oldest existing newspaper in the country: The Hartford Courant. This is one of four free presentations open to the public which the HSG sponsors throughout the year.

After working for The Hartford Courant for more than 25 years, Henry McNulty left the newspaper in 1995 to found Henry McNulty Communication Services, L.L.C.
At The Courant, he created the newspaper’s Op-Ed Page and was its first editor; was The Courant’s first Features Editor, and was the paper’s first Reader Representative, or news ombudsman. He is a former president and director of the international Organization of News Ombudsmen.

Henry McNulty Communication Services, L.L.C. specializes in writing and editing, advertising and brochures, public relations and communication counseling.
A direct descendant of Ozias Goodwin, one of the people who founded the city of Hartford, Henry is the former Governor (president) of the Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford. He is also Vice Chairman of the Board of CHI, an operator of nonprofit retirement villages in Connecticut. His work in the field of journalism ethics is featured in the standard college text Reporting for the Print Media (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich) and Writing and Reporting News (Wadsworth Publishing).

One of our historic restored tobacco sheds in Glastonbury, CT
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One of our historic restored tobacco sheds in Glastonbury, CT