Tag Archives: Connecticut

Uncle Tom’s Cabin was Published

A movie poster from Kroger Babb's 1965 product...

A movie poster from Kroger Babb’s 1965 production of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly was published on March 20, 1852 as a serial by (The National Era & John P. Jewett and Company (in two volumes)). The book was written by Connecticut born author Harriet Beecher Stowe, a teacher at the Hartford Female Seminary and an active abolitionist. The book became the best seller of that century as it was written, following the bible. She wrote the book while she and her husband, Calvin Ellis Stowe, were in Maine, when she heard about the Fugitive Slave Act which penalized officials who did not arrest runaway slaves.

Harriet Beecher Stowe was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, on June 14, 1811. Her parents sent her to a seminary school growing up where she received a traditional “male” education. Her father was Harry Ward Beecher, a well known abolitionist. Growing up she supported the Underground Railroad. She was also interested in writing,

She believed it was her duty to bring money into the house just as her husband did. She worked at raising their two daughters. She could be looked at as a Martha Stewart of her generation. The publishing of this one novel made her and her family very well off.
Did you know that her neighbor was Mark Twain.




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Rosa Ponselle was Born

Rosa Ponselle em foto de estúdio de 1918.

Rosa Ponselle em foto de estúdio de 1918. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The Queen of Queens in all of singing.”
Luciano Pavarotti, tenor.

Rosa Ponselle was born on January 22, 1897, in Meriden, Connecticut, to Italian immigrants from Caiazzo, near Caserta. She was the youngest of three children. They lived at the corner of Lewis Avenue and Bartlett Street, then on Foster Street, and when she was three they moved to Springdale Avenue. She had a naturally gifted mature voice, and took piano lesion with the local music teacher, Anna Ryan, who was also the organist of a nearby Catholic church. She decided very soon on she wanted to become a cabaret singer. She billed herself well and was soon performing ballads all around the area and performing as a silent-movie accompanist.

In 1912 she did vaudeville, performing in The Girl from Brighton, a 1912 Broadway musical. She became so well known she was soon performing a long-term engagement at the San Carlino theater in New Haven near Yale University. She and her sister Carmela also performed on the vaudeville circuit as the Ponselle Sisters until 1918 when the split the act and the great tenor Enrico Caruso persuaded Rosa to audition for the Metropolitan Opera.

On November 15, 1918, Rosa Ponselle debuted at the Met as Leonora in Verdi’s La forza del destino, opposite Caruso. She received rave reviews from New York Times critic James Huneker. She went on to perform numerous operas.
This was the part she was born to play; the voice of an opera singer. All she knew was that she wanted to sing on stage. All she needed to do was to find where she fit.
Here is Rosa Ponselle performing “Suicidio!” which shows her range, timbre, pianissimo




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The Witch Panic of Fairfield of 1692

About eight years ago, I visited Salem, Massachusetts, and went to about half of the historical museums about the witch trials. Rev Cotton Mather was in Salem at the time of the Witch trials and was mentioned at many of the museums frequently. The witch trials’ was their fight against Atheism. Some people had stopped believing in God. Mather supposedly use to dig up the graves of the alleged witches they hung to conduct experiments on the heads of the bodies if I recall. This all is just here say. Mather developed a reputation of his own.

mezzotint portrait of Cotton Mather (Feb. 12, ...

mezzotint portrait of Cotton Mather (Feb. 12, 1663 – Feb. 13, 1728), American Puritan clergyman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cotton Mather went to Harvard in 1675 at age 12, and graduated at age 15. He was preoccupied with many things including women, slaves, witches, and possessions.

Cotton took after his father, Increase Mather. Being a Reverend, and of high moral standing, words that were mentioned such as witchcraft or Satan were considered blaspheme. They might as well as suffered at the wrath of God.  Cotton Mather and other Ministers created rules of evidence and a procedure by which to judge those regarded as witches. They would hold court and everyone from town would come. Mather was not in Fairfield for witch trials because he happen to in Salem, but the rules created were made it appear almost like he was there.

The room was noisy as testimony had finished and the testimony was delivered. The room shook.

The gavel hit the table with a bang.

All quiet in the court,” said the judge, in this case Richard Cromwell. “What evidence have you brought before the court?”

A teenage girl with long black hair came before the court, dressed in a colonial dress and cap, and presented her evidence. Her evidence would be nothing more than a dream she had had. That would be enough if she had a high enough social standing in the community.

Some of the witch trials resulted from quarrels over courtships; others were because of bad behavior and drunkenness. The people were on lectured on behavior in church, for those who attended. After all, they were Puritans.

They worried about what one person was doing and became fearful and scared. Because that person did not believe as they did, and they could not change the person’s behavior or belief they saw only one alternative.

The Witch Panic of Fairfield took place in 1692 about the same time as the Salem Witch Panic.

There were some executions and some that escaped in Connecticut.

To bad the same can’t be said for Salem.

Have we changed that much from the people of 1692?


Tomlinson, R.G. Witchcraft Trials. Hartford: The Bond Press, 1978.

Taylor, John M. The Witchcraft Delusion 1647-1697. Williamstown: Corner House Publishers 1974.

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