By Linda Tuccio-Koonz
For a small state, Connecticut’s history is robust and complex, and its character runs much deeper than quaint coastal towns and breathtaking fall foliage. Its history is steeped in dichotomy. Connecticut is home to many recognizable heroes of the Revolutionary War such as Johnathon Trumbull and Roger Sherman, yet was also the home to Benedict Arnold, whose name today is synonymous with the word traitor.
While going to great lengths to promote its agricultural side, Connecticut has actually made greater contributions as a leader in industry through its production of firearms, helicopters, brass items and submarines. Complicating the state’s search for its identity is its location. Situated between Boston and New York, Connecticut has a strong New York style identity in its western counties, and a distinctively Bostonian flavor to the east.
Ever wonder how PEZ candies got their name? Are you aware that Mark Twain entertained many famous people at his home in Redding, charging the male visitors $1 per visit as a donation toward the construction of a town library? Did you know that Rentschler Field was an airstrip where Pratt & Whitney tested their engines, which were originally developed by Frederick Rentschler.
Through short, concise essays which range from celebratory to critical, Gregg Mangan chronicles some of the most fascinating as well as some lesser known episodes in Connecticut history. His new book, “On This Day in Connecticut History,” follows the form of a daily calendar with each day containing a nugget of knowledge. These events provide a greater understanding and appreciation of Connecticut’s diverse identity and what it means to be a “Connecticuter.”
You can meet Mangan on Saturday, April 11, when he will discuss and sign copies of his new book ($19.99, History Press) at the Hickory Stick Bookstore in Washington Depot. The event is at 2 p.m. and admission is free.
Mangan holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a master’s in public history from Central Connecticut State University and a doctorate in public history from Arizona State University. While at ASU he also completed a graduate program in scholarly publishing. Prior to working with the Connecticut Humanities Council, he spent seven years as a freelance historian, writer, and editor and twelve years as a manager in the health insurance industry. Mangan also served as an intern at the Connecticut Department of Culture & Tourism. Currently he works for the Connecticut Humanities Council at Wesleyan University as the manager of the ConnecticutHistory.org digital history project.
If you are unable to attend Saturday’s event, you may still reserve a signed copy of the book by calling the store at 860-868-0525.
For further information, visit www.hickorystickbookshop.com. or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org