Connecticut History Out Loud! GRATING THE NUTMEG PODCAST



Brought to you by Connecticut Explored and the State Historian at UConn Hartford



Grating the Nutmeg offers stories about Connecticut history that you can listen to on your phone, tablet, or computer whenever you want.


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Episode 54 Part I: The Long Journeys Home–Henry ‘Opukaha’ia
35 Minutes
Part II: The Long Journeys Home–Albert Afraid-of-Hawk
38 Minutes. Release Date: August 1, 2018

Two young native men: Henry Opukaha’ia, a native of Hawaii, who died in Cornwall, Connecticut in 1818, and Albert Afraid of Hawk, a Lakota Sioux native who died in Danbury in 1900. 

Nick Bellantoni was the archaeologist tasked with helping return the remains of each of these men to their homes and families, more than a century after they had died. 

Hear him tell their strangely connected and deeply moving stories in this special two part Grating the Nutmeg episode based on Bellantoni’s new Wesleyan University Press book The Long Journeys Home: The Repatriations of Henry ‘Opukaha’ia and Albert Afraid of Hawk.

Read More!
Rediscovering Albert Afraid-of-Hawk,” Summer 2014

This episode is sponsored by attorney Peter Bowman, holding distracted drivers accountable for their actions. Find out more at And Connecticut Humanities, copublisher of Connecticut Explored.

Episode 53: Hopes & Expectations: Creation of a Black Middle Class in Hartford
1 Hour 5 Minutes. Release Date: July 16, 2018

In an unforgettable interview, historian Dr. Barbara Beeching describes the creation of a black middle class in Hartford – not in the 20th century, but in the 1800s. The story features the Primus family and their letters and other prominent black families. It’s a tale full of insights and surprises – not the least of which is Beeching herself. Beeching’s book, Hopes and Expectations: The Origins of the Black Middle Class in Hartford was published by SUNY Press, 2017. 

This episode is sponsored by Attorney Peter Bowman—find out more at, and Connecticut Humanities, co-publisher of Connecticut Explored, visit

Episode 52: Mark Twain’s Native American Problem
40 Minutes. Release Date: July 1, 2018

In this episode recorded at the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Twain scholar and University of St. Joseph Professor of English Emerita Kerry Driscoll explores one of the last unexamined aspects of American author and humorist Mark Twain. Twain, a resident of Hartford from 1871 to 1891, wrote some of his most beloved works while living in Hartford and was generally known for championing the underdog. But Driscoll unflinchingly reveals here and in her book, Mark Twain Among the Indians and Other Indigenous Peoples, Twain’s blind spot when it came to America’s first peoples.

This episode was produced by Elizabeth Normen. It is sponsored by Attorney Peter Bowman—find out more at, and Connecticut Humanities, co-publisher of Connecticut Explored, visit

Courtesy West Indian Social Club

Episode 51: Greater Hartford’s West Indian Diaspora
63 Minutes. Release Date: June 16, 2018

In 2010, Jamaicans became the largest foreign born population in Connecticut.  Jamaicans also have the highest percentage of property ownership in Hartford County of any foreign-born group. How did so many West Indians come to call Connecticut home? 

University of Connecticut Associate Professor Fiona Vernal documents this 70-year transformation in her traveling exhibition “Home Away From Home: Greater Hartford’s West Indian Diaspora,” currently on view at Hartford Public Library. HPL’s Jasmin Agusto and I asked Fiona to share this fascinating story. Its a great story told by a natural-born story-teller. 

This episode presented by Attorney Peter Bowman, helping the seriously injured and holding distracted drivers accountable for their actions. More at

And Connecticut Humanities, co-publisher of Connecticut Explored magazine. The episode was produced by Walter Woodward.

Episode 50: A Seaside Village in the Big City: New Haven’s Morris Cove
27 Minutes. Release Date: June 1, 2018

What do you think of when you hear “New Haven?” Yale University’s campus, the New Haven Green, IKEA? In this episode, we’ll take you on a trip to the beach in New Haven! Morris Cove, on the east shore of New Haven Harbor, is a world apart from the rest of New Haven. A sandy beach, an armed attack by the British, a vanished amusement park, and the summer home of the New Haven Museum all come to light in this episode of Grating the Nutmeg.

We’ll hear from Jason Bischoff-Wurstle, director of photo archives and Ed Surato, librarian for the New Haven Museum. They’ll tell you why Morris Cove was called the “Newport of Connecticut.” Learn about one of the most interesting summer day trips in Connecticut, and plan to attend Morris Cove Day on June 9, 2018. Find out more about Morris Cove Day at For more information about the Pardee-Morris House, visit

This episode was hosted and produced by Mary Donohue and engineered by Patrick O’Sullivan. The episode was sponsored by attorney Peter Bowman, helping the seriously injured and holding distracted drivers accountable for their actions. More at And Connecticut Humanities, co-publisher of Connecticut Explored magazine. Visit

Episode 49: The Professor’s Secret Life
48 Minutes. Release Date: May 15, 2018

All the time Joel Kupperman was a soft spoken, distinguished philosophy professor at the University of Connecticut, he carried a secret he discussed with no one – not even his family. That secret? That he had once been America’s greatest child radio and tv star. He was so popular J. D. Salinger, Philip Roth, Nora Ephron, and the poet William Friedman wrote about him. Now, as he slips into dementia, his son, the award-winning graphic novelist Michael Kupperman, has created a graphic memoir about his father’s hidden past. All the Answers uncovers Joel Kupperman’s life as a Quiz Kid, and the cost that being the most popular child celebrity in America inflicted, not just on Joel, but on his whole family. At the end, we’ll tell you how to enter to win a free copy of the book.

This episode presented by Attorney Peter Bowman, helping the seriously injured and holding distracted drivers accountable for their actions. More at And Connecticut Humanities, co-publisher of Connecticut Explored magazine. Visit

Episode 48: Mid-Century Modern in Connecticut
38 Minutes. Release Date: May 1, 2018

A group of architects known as the Harvard Five made their mark on New Canaan, Connecticut—a suburb within commuting distance of New York City—designing and building there some of the most influential and significant examples of Mid-century Modern architecture in the country. Today you can visit Philip Johnson’s Glass House, now a museum operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

But stellar Modern architecture can be found in other Connecticut towns, too, commissioned by sophisticated clients including homeowners, mayors, and factory owners. Long-time architecture fans Robert Gregson and Peter Swanson take listeners to Hartford, New Haven, and Litchfield to discover some of the state’s other Modernist landmarks.

Every wonder what that big concrete building in front of Ikea in New Haven was? Find out in this episode. If you thought all there was to Connecticut was Colonial homes, this will change your mind!

See photos that go with the podcast HERE.

This episode presented by Attorney Peter Bowman, helping the seriously injured and holding distracted drivers accountable for their actions. More at

And Connecticut Humanities, co-publisher of Connecticut Explored magazine. Episode produced by Mary Donohue and engineered by Patrick O’Sullivan. Visit

Read More!

See Connecticut Explored, Winter 2009-2010
     including Bob Gregson’s “Modernism in Connecticut
    “Philip Johnson in His Own Words”
    “Jens Risom: The Answer is Risom!” by Mary Dunne
     “Modern in Manchester,” by Mary Dunne

“Discovering LaGardo Tackett” By Peter Swanson, Winter 2010-2011
“Destination: Ingalls Rink and the Yale Bowl” By Patrick Pinnell, Fall 2009

Subscribe or buy these back issues at

Episode 47: A Field Trip to the Litchfield Historical Society
38 Minutes. Release Date: April 15, 2018

It was home to America’s first law school and to one of the first schools in which a woman could get a real education. Litchfield today is one of Connecticut’s prettiest towns. Join state historian Walt Woodward on a field trip to the Litchfield Historical Society, where Executive Director Cathy Fields talks about her amazing institution and it’s two brand new exhibits – one about Sarah Pierce’s Litchfield Female Academy and another about expressions of sorrow and mourning in the early 1800s. 

This episode was sponsored by attorney Peter Bowman, helping the seriously injured, and holding distracted drivers accountable for their actions. More at

Hear more about Litchfield and the law school in Episode 15

The Influence of the Litchfield Law School,” Fall 2016
Litchfield’s Fortunes Hitched to the Stage Coach,” Spring 2008
Flying the Banner for Temperance,” Winter 2008

Episode 46: Staying on the Land: Five Generations of Connecticut Pioneers 
31 Minutes. Release Date: April 2, 2018 

Political unrest, religious dissension, women’s rights, and mental health–stories from today’s news? All this happens in Thy Children’s Children by historian and first-time novelist Diana McCain. It’s the story of a real family, the Lymans of Middlefield, in the thick of Connecticut and American history for more than a century. Hear how McCain wove decades of research into a compelling historical novel.

Music on this episode by Henrik Andersson.  Hosted by Mary Donohue and produced by PDO Media. 

This episode was sponsored by attorney Peter Bowman, helping the seriously injured, and holding distracted drivers accountable for their actions. More at

Win a copy of the book! Share the podcast on Facebook (, Twitter (, and Instagram (@ct_explored) and tag us to be entered in the drawing. Expires 5/1/2018

Listen to Episode 9 for more about the story of the Lyman family: “Lyman Orchards Turns 275” 

Episode 45:Trouble in the Land of Steady Habits 
49 Minutes. Release Date: March 15, 2018 

On the 200th anniversary of the creation of the state Constitution of 1818, we remember one of Connecticut’s least well known but most important events. Hear State Historian Walter Woodward’s Old State House talk about what led to the state’s first constitutional convention, and all that the resulting document did and didn’t do.

Read more:
Read stories from our Fall 2012 “Is this the Land of Steady Habits?” issue
The “Notorious Hartford” Convention of late 1814/early 1815
Reflections on the1965 Constitution Convention 

Episode 44: The Amazing Story Behind America’s First Cookbook
57 Minutes. Release Date: February 20, 2018 

When Hartford History Center’s Brenda Miller suggested Walt Woodward co-host a podcast with the authors of a new book about America’s first cookbook–published in Hartford in 1796, Woodward thought a culinary episode might be a nice change of pace. What they found, though, was that authors Keith Staveley and Kathleen Fitzgerald have not only written an extraordinary history of Amelia Simmons’s American Cookery, they’ve also written one of the best books about Connecticut history in a generation. 

Read more:
America’s First Cookbook, Spring 2006. Read more stories about Connecticut food history in the issue and in
Summer 2017: “We Are What We Eat” with stories about oystering, hops growing, New Haven pizza, and more!


Episode 43:The Challenge of Fair Housing in Connecticut’s Suburbs
39 Minutes. 
Release Date: January 21, 2018 

After World War II Americans moved out of the cities and into the suburbs in droves looking for single-family homes. In this episode, we talk with the experts about Connecticut’s history of steering certain people to certain neighborhoods through restrictive covenants, racial and religious discrimination, and federal housing policies—all of which helped determine where African American and Jewish homebuyers could purchase homes.

Using West Hartford as an example, learn what some common real estate terms really mean—“redlining,” steering, and exclusionary zoning—and how they affected West Hartford’s neighborhoods. Please note that this episode contains outdated language used in historical context.

View Trinity College’s Dr. Jack Dougherty’s accompanying presentation at and also visit his online book On The Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and its Suburbs at

Get all the historic preservation and architecture stories that matter to you! Get all five historic preservation back issues in a Collection at a special value price! Great reading on a snowy day or on a sunny beach. You can even put together your own collection by choosing the back issues you want to read!

Episode 42: Treasures of the Watkinson
50 Minutes: Release Date: January 2, 2018

It’s a brand new year, and what better way to start 2018 than with a treasure hunt? Join Brenda Miller, Executive Director of the History Center at Hartford Public Library, and State Historian Walt Woodward as they explore the treasures of the Watkinson Library at Trinity College with curator Rick Ring. It’s mission is to be open to all, so listen and then visit!

Episode 41: Have Archaeologists Found Connecticut’s Jamestown?
55 Minutes. Release Date: November 23, 2017

Archaeologists working at Wethersfield’s Webb-Dean-Stevens Museum recently found something completely unexpected: signs of a 17th century palisade adjacent to the historic house where General George Washington met with French Count Rochambeau to plan the campaign that won the American Revolution. Along with evidence of a defensive wall, they also found artifacts dating to the 1637 Pequot War which Connecticut declared after a Wangunk-Pequot attack on Wethersfield left 9 people dead. Is this fort–as archeologist Ross Harper posits–possibly Connecticut’s Jamestown?

Join state historian Walt Woodward and Wethersfield residents at the Webb-Deane Stevens museum as the archaeologists provide a surface-to-paydirt–20th to 17th century–description of what they’ve found so far.


Episode 40: Wicked Hartford
47 Minutes. Release Date: November 10, 2017

Conniving bosses, predatory slumlords, greedy industrialists and political intrigue abound in Steve Thornton’s latest history book, Wicked Hartford—but his take on this universal topic is not quite what you’d expect. Hear Steve tell us about the fascinating stories in “wicked” Hartford history.  

Music by Hartford jazz artist Orice Jenkins from the album ‘SOAR’ available on iTunes now.

Connecticut Explored is celebrating its 15th anniversary—and we’ve got a special offer for new subscribers. Subscribe before December 31, 2017 and receive 6 issues for the price of 4. Use coupon code “Nutmeg” when you subscribe at

Episode 39 Parts I, II, III: Connecticut–New England’s Other Witch Hunt
Release Date: October 26, 2017
Part I 40 min; Part II 42 min; Part III 1 hr. 40 min

Few people know that long before Salem’s witch trials in 1692, Connecticut had its own witch trials. In this special 3-part series, we investigate the surprising story of witchcraft in colonial Connecticut. Why did Connecticut execute New England’s first witch? Why was it early New England’s fiercest prosecutor of witches (Who knew?) And how did European witch-hunting affect the same practice in New England?

Part I: Walt Woodward  talks about the European witchcraft tradition from witch Connecticut’s witch hunts were derived.
Part II: Woodward tells the sobering tale of Connecticut’s roll in New England witch-hunting, from executing the first witch, to the Hartford Witch hunts of the 1660s, to the trial of Katherine Harrison, arguably the most important witchcraft trial to take place before Salem.
Part III: Brenda Miller, Executive Director of the Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library, and Walt Woodward interview historian Richard Ross about his new book, Before Salem: Witch- the Connecticut River Valley 1647-1663. Ross’s historical spadework provides many new insights into one of Connecticut’s most important, and least well known, events.

Read more:
Accused! Fairfield’s Witchcraft Trial–a graphic novel excerpt
Wethersfield’s Witch Trials


Episode 38: Talkin’ About the 9/11 Generation
28 Minutes. Release Date: October 4, 2017

Are you a member of the 9/11 generation? Do you wonder how 9/11 and its aftermath affected kids who witnessed the terrorist attack on the U.S. 16 years ago? In this episode CCSU history professor Matt Warshauer explores the 9/11 generation and wonders about the next generation who will have no emotional connection to it—in 2017 half of high school students were born after 9/11. As Warshauer notes, this is history still in the making.

We thank Matt Warshauer, Diane Smith, Bilal Sekou, Avery Eddy, Patrick O’Sullivan, Avon Public Library, and The Old State house with audio courtesy of CT-N, the Connecticut Network. Episode produced by Elizabeth Normen.

Read More:
Stories about how Connecticut has responded to disasters, including 9/11, published on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Fall 2011

Watch the Connecticut Old State House’s Conversations at Noon featuring Matt Warshauer, Bilal Sekou, and Christine Pittsley. 

The Onrust docked at the Connecticut River Museum. CT Explored

Episode 37: A 400-Year Old Boat, A Sea Serpent, & A Murmuration of Swallows
41 Minutes. Release Date: September 18, 2017

Come along with state historian Walt Woodward on a Connecticut River Museum sunset excursion about the Onrust, a replica of Adriaen Block’s ship, the first European boat to enter the Connecticut River, with a teller of tall tales, and some very talented young artists–in search of a few million swallows. 

Thanks to the Connecticut River Museum. Sail on the Onrust through October 14 2017 and again in the spring, visit for more information. 

Read related story:
Why Connecticut Didn’t Go Dutch,” Summer 2014

Episode 36: Fidelia Bridges’s Connection to Old Lyme & A Ride on the Air Line Trail
33 Minutes. Release Date: August 30, 2017

Two stories from eastern Connecticut: a Ride on the Air Line State Park Trail, a rail trail with history, and the story of artist Fidelia Bridges and her newly discovered connection to Old Lyme. Featuring Carolyn Wakeman and Jenny Parsons of the Florence Griswold Museum and its summer 2017 exhibition, Flora/Fauna: The Naturalist Impulse in American Art, on view through September 17, 2017.

Read related stories and see images:
“Desination: The Lyman Viaduct,” Summer 2008
Florence Griswold Museum’s History Blog

Thanks to Carolyn Wakeman, Jenny Parsons, and the Florence Griswold Museum.

Episode 35: Bagel Beach and Jewish Vacationers at the Connecticut Shore
31 Minutes. Release Date: August 16, 2017

Listen to a recent book talk by author Elizabeth Poliner whose novel As Close to Us as Breathing (Little, Brown, 2016) takes us to the 1940s when Connecticut’s beach colonies were segregated by ethnicity and religion. Poliner masterfully weaves the story of a multi-generational Jewish family and a fatal accident in 1948, all set in “Bagel Beach,” a real Jewish beach colony in Milford, Connecticut. We also visit the Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont–the state’s only synagogue built as a summer synagogue. You’ll be inspired to read this evocative novel and take a drive along CT’s shoreline to catch a glimpse of its early beach colonies in this episode of Grating the Nutmeg.

Thanks to author Elizabeth Poliner, the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford, the Bagel Beach Historical Association and the Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont. This episode was produced by Mary Donohue and Patrick O’Sullivan.

Visit Bagel Beach

Episode 34: Caroline Ferriday Inspires a Bestseller
27 Minutes. Release Date: July 28, 2017

Listen to the compelling story of Caroline Ferriday–and how she inspired a New York Times bestselling historical novel. Ferriday’s summer home, the Bellamy-Ferriday House in Bethlehem, Connecticut, recently hosted hundred of fans who came out to hear Martha Hall Kelly tell how she was inspired by a visit there to write her novel.

You’ll be inspired to put a visit to Connecticut Landmarks’s Bellamy Ferriday House on your bucket list of things to do this summer–in this episode of Grating the Nutmeg.

Thanks to Connecticut Landmarks, Martha Hall Kelly, and Stacey Fitzgerald. This episode was produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O’Sullivan.

Caroline Ferriday: A Godmother to Ravensbruck Survivors

Episode 33: World War I Reenactors Tell All
45 Minutes. Release Date: July 11, 2017

Hear three extraordinary World War I reenactors talk about what they do, why they do it, and what it all means. You’ll go for a ride in a WWI ambulance, too. And, you’ll meet Gayle Hall, who brought photos of her grandfather and his World War I medals to share with the State Library’s NEH funded World War I digitization project.

View some great images, too, many courtesy of historian/photographer Donald Rogers, from the recent World War I weekend at the historic Waldo House in Scotland, CT (where we recorded these interviews) on the Connecticut State Historian Facebook Page.

Spring 2017: 100th Anniversary of World War I, Part II
Winter 2014-2015: Connecticut in the Great War, Part I

LISTEN–More Episodes about World War I:
Episode 28: Connecticut in World War I: Letters from the Front
Episode 25:
On to Mexico: The Connecticut National Guard
Episode 24:
“The Conquest of America,” A WWI Cautionary Tale

Episode 32: Hops, Beer, and Hartford’s 1902 Brewery Strike
54 Minutes. Release Date: June 27, 2017

Beer–that great cold drink! In 1902, Hartford’s brewers went on strike. Find out what happened, explore the resurgence of hops growing in Connecticut, and visit the Hog River Brewery, one of the state’s newest craft breweries.

We wish to thank Steve Thornton, Dr. James LaMondia, Dr. Katja Mauer, Ben Braddock, and the CT Agricultural Experiment Station. Music courtesy of Klokwize and Angela Luna, on iTunes now. This episode was produced by Mary Donohue and Patrick O’Sullivan.

READ MORE: Summer 2017

What Does a Hopyard Look Like?
A Visit to the Hog River Brewery

Episode 31: The NEW Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
27 Minutes. Release Date: June 7, 2017

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center—one of our nation’s most important historic sites—has a fresh take on the house tour and a freshly renovated interior. Find out why you should visit this summer—plus a stroll through their historic garden and the award-winning plants you’ll find there, including a national champion Paw Paw tree!

We wish to thank Katherine Kane, Judith Lohman, Beth Burgess, and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. This episode was produced by Elizabeth Normen and Sarajane Cedrone.

Read more at where you’ll find several stories on Stowe including “The Most Famous American,”  “Lincoln and the Key to ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’,” and 

Harriet Beecher Stowe: The Most Famous American by Katherine Kane
Hartford’s Nook Farm: Where Mr. Twain and Mrs. Stowe Built Their Dream Houses by Elizabeth Normen
Lincoln and the Key to ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’ by Katherine Kane
Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Must Read Book’ is 160 Years Old by Walt Woodward


Episode 30: Part I: P. T. Barnum and The Art of Money Getting

30 Minutes. Release Date: May 9, 2017
Part II: P. T. Barnum and The Art of Money Getting–the First 10 (of 20) Rules

43 Minutes. Release Date: May 12, 2017
Part III: P. T. Barnum and the Art of Money Getting–Rules 11 – 20
34 Minutes. Release Date: May 27, 2017
This month, the “Greatest Show on Earth” folds its tent after a run of 146 years. To commemorate, we’re honoring “The Greatest Showman on Earth,” P T Barnum, with a look back at his life, and a full reading of his still so useful book, THE ART OF MONEY GETTING. His 20 rules for achieving success and attaining wealth are still as sound as when he first wrote them back in 1858. And no wonder, because as Kathy Maher, Executive Director of the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport says, Barnum was not only America’s first entertainment mega-mogul, he was the nation’s second millionaire. Consider it a get rich quick theme in three parts, yours for free on Grating the Nutmeg. 

Episode 29: Art, Agency, Legacy: 30 Years of The Amistad Center for Art & Culture
31 Minutes. Release Date: April 24, 2017

The Amistad Center for Art & Culture in Hartford, which documents the history and art of people of African descent in America, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Connecticut Explored’s Elizabeth Normen talks with executive director Frank Mitchell about the center’s history and takes you on a tour of its special exhibition “30 for 30: Art, Agency, Legacy” on view at The Amistad Center through the Fall 2017.

The episode features music by Connecticut-based Self Suffice, the RapOetFind Self Suffice’s music on iTunes and on Facebook.

Watch for Frank’s story in the Fall 2017 issue!

We wish to thank Frank Mitchell and The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, and Self Suffice, the RapOet. This episode was produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O’Sullivan.

Episode 28: Connecticut in World War I: Letters from the Front
34 Minutes. Release Date: April 5, 2017

With equal doses of wit and bravado, hear the stories of New Britain’s Stanley Works employees serving in France with World War I-era music recorded from the original records in the collection of Henry Arneth.

We wish to thank Karen Hudkins and Andrea Kulak from the New Britain Industrial Museum, Henry Arneth, and CCSU students Jacob Carey, Joe Guerrera, and Ryan Paolino. This episode was produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O’Sullivan. 

For more Connecticut in World War I:
Episode 25: On to Mexico: The Connecticut National Guard
Episode 24: “The Conquest of America,” A WWI Cautionary Tale

Connecticut in World War I, Part II, Spring 2017
Connecticut in the Great War, Winter 2014/2015

Episode 27: Sam Colt Mines the West
38 Minutes. Release Date: March 21, 2017

Central Connecticut State University history professor Leah Glaser retells the story of Sam Colt’s investment in the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company in the 1850s, a company that was incorporated in Cincinnati, Ohio to exploit silver mines in the new Arizona Territory. Colt never set foot in Arizona but that didn’t mean he didn’t pour energy, money, and firearms into making the venture a success. Unfortunately, the Apache, the Civil War, and myriad other challenges came into play.

Recorded February 28, 2017 at the University of Hartford as part of the Presidents’ College and Connecticut Explored’s “Connecticans in the American West” lecture series. Produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O’Sullivan.

Read the Story: Sam Colt Mines the Arizona Territory

Episode 26: Catharine Beecher Educates the West
44 Minutes. Release Date: March 8, 2017

What was it like when a young schoolteacher from Connecticut arrived to teach in a rough frontier school in 1850? Find out in this podcast by Eastern Connecticut State University English professor Allison Speicher. Speicher tells us about why the famous Catharine Beecher, sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe, was so driven to send New England school teachers to the west—and what those teachers found when they arrived.

This talk was recorded February 21, 2017 at the University of Hartford as part of the Presidents’ College and Connecticut Explored’s “Connecticans in the American West” lecture series. The episode was produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O’Sullivan.

Read the Story: Catharine Beecher Educates the West

By Donna Neary

Episode 25: On to Mexico: The Connecticut National Guard
35 Minutes. Release Date: February 24, 2017

Museum of Connecticut History curator Dave Corrigan tells the forgotten story of the Connecticut National Guard’s service on the Mexican border in 1916—the first test of these young soldiers in a hostile environment before they shipped out to France six months later.

Part of our Commemorating World War I coverage. Recorded February 14, 2017 at the University of Hartford, part of the three-part Presidents’ College Lecture Series “Connecticans in the American West,” organized in collaboration with Connecticut Explored’s Winter 2016-2017 issue on that theme. Produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O’Sullivan.

Watch for the other two lectures in that series in future episodes of Grating the Nutmeg.

READ MORE: Spring 2017


“The Crown Prince occupies the Mark Twain House,” illustration from “The Conquest of America,” Charles Moffatt, 1916

Episode 24: “The Conquest of America,” A WWI Cautionary Tale
40 Minutes. Release Date: February 2, 2017

This spring, Americans will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into World War I–including with CT Explored’s Spring 2017 issue. To whet your appetite for some of the surprising stories ahead, state historian Walt Woodward retells war correspondent Cleveland Moffett’s cautionary tale from 1915 of an imagined “German invasion of Connecticut.” It was serialized in the national magazine McClure’s, and released in book form as The Conquest of America in 1916. 

See illustrations from the book here, and download the entire book in .pdf form here.


Episode 23: The Great American Road Trip!
35 Minutes. Release Date: January 12, 2017

A celebration of the adventure, fun, and excitement of a road trip along the byways and back roads of America. Featuring the stories of the diners, motels, gas stations, and roadside amusements that are featured in Road Trip!, the New Haven Museum’s exhibition on view through June 15, 2017.

Visit for photos and more information on Connecticut’s roadside eateries, and listen to episode 10, “Poets & Patriots in Stonington,” for our visit to the Sea Swirl in Mystic.

This historic preservation story is supported in part by Connecticut Humanities.

A Hip Road Trip, Winter 2009/2010
Lunch Wagon to Space Age Diner: Connecticut’s First Fast Food Emporiums, Spring 2006

Episode 22: The Smithsonian’s Eric Hintz–Hartford as a Place of Invention
37 Minutes. Release Date: December 27, 2016

The Smithsonian’s Eric Hintz reveals why he featured Hartford as one of six places of invention in a special exhibition at the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. Find out how Samuel Colt, Elisha Root, and Mark Twain figure into the story and the ingredients he’s discovered that mark Connecticut as a standout place of invention in the late-19th century. Thank you to Eric Hintz and the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, and Jody Blankenship and the Connecticut Historical Society. This episode was produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O’Sullivan.

PLUS:  Episode 19’s interview with Connecticut Historical Society curator Ilene Frank about “Connecticut Innovates!,” on view through March 25, 2017.

Sikorsky: Still Revolutionary, Spring 2014 
Pepperidge FarmWinter 2015/2016
Peter Paul, Spring 2010
Bigelow Tea, Winter 2015/2016
Pratt & Whitney, Spring 2005
Kaman, Fall 2008
International Silver, Winter 2015/2016
The Miracle on Capital Avenue” Spring 2004

Buy “The Connecticut Brand” Collection: 6 issues full of stories on Connecticut’s history of innovation, just $35. Makes a great gift!


christmas-in-ct-imageEpisode 21: Holiday Episode 2: A Connecticut Christmas Story
33 Minutes. Release Date: December 1, 2016
Celebrate Christmas in Connecticut with two stories: from Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Mark Twain House. Featuring music from Duke Ellington’s Suite from the Nutcracker Ballet performed by the New England Jazz Ensemble. 

Our preservation story about the restoration of the Mark Twain House’s Mahogany Suite is brought to you by Connecticut Humanities. Special thanks to Beth Burgess of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Tracy Brindle of the Mark Twain House, and the New England Jazz Ensemble. For more information on the New England Jazz Ensemble, visit

“Christmas in Connecticut,” Winter 2010/2011

Episode 20: Holiday Episode 1: Soup and Stories
52 Minutes. Release Date: November 26, 2016
What do the Shroud of Turin, a  beer-drinking donkey, a walking catfish, Farmall tractors, the Blizzard of 1888,  spooky houses, and the songs from the Wizard of Oz have to do with the little towns of Lebanon and Columbia? In this, the first of 2 special holiday episodes, we celebrate one of the best things about the holiday season–the stories people share with each other. We journey to Connecticut’s Quiet Corner, where residents of the towns of Columbia and Lebanon met together on an evening in early November to share soup, dessert, and stories.

Thanks to Donna Baron, Justin Holbrook, Rick Kane, Andrea Stannard, Alicia Lamb, Marge Nicholls, Ed Tillman, Belle Robinson, and ALL the amazing story tellers who made this night so fun and memorable.

Sikorsky 1Episode 19: Connecticut Innovates!
20 Minutes. Release Date: November 16, 2016
What does it take to be considered innovative? What is Connecticut’s history of innovation? Find out with this interview with Connecticut Historical Society curator Ilene Frank and exhibit designer Jordan Klein about their new exhibition “Connecticut Innovates!” on view November 11, 2016 to March 25, 2017.

Sikorsky: Still Revolutionary, Spring 2014 
Pepperidge Farm, Winter 2015/2016
Peter Paul, Spring 2010
Bigelow Tea, Winter 2015/2016
Pratt & Whitney, Spring 2005
Kaman, Fall 2008
International Silver, Winter 2015/2016
The Miracle on Capital Avenue” Spring 2004

Buy “The Connecticut Brand” Collection: 6 issues full of stories on Connecticut’s history of innovation, just $35. Makes a great gift!

Episode 18: Governor John Dempsey, Son of Cahir
43 Minutes. Release Date: November 2, 2016
John Dempsey, governor from 1961 to 1971, was one of the most popular–and effective–governors Connecticut ever had, according to state historian Walt Woodward. Born in Ireland in 1916, he was the first immigrant governor of Connecticut since the colonial era. During his administration Connecticut was completely transformed from one of the most tight-fisted American states to one of the most socially responsible. Based on a talk Woodward gave in Ireland in 2015, Dempsey’s remarkable achievements, and how both his character and his policies were shaped by his boyhood in Cahir, Ireland, are revealed.

A Grating the Nutmeg First:
Click here to watch on Youtube with slides

Dempsey was executive secretary and lieutenant governor to Governor Abraham Ribicoff and then succeeded him in office. Read more about Ribicoff and Connecticut political history:
Abraham Ribicoff Turns Connecticut Blue,” Spring 2016
Spring 2016 and Fall 2004: stories of Connecticut’s political history

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Episode 17: A Pirate’s Tale and Visit to Old New-Gate Prison
47 Minutes. Release Date: October 14, 2016
Hear about Ruth Duncan’s shocking discovery of her great great grandfather’s connection to the notorious pirate William Gibbs and about who’s clamored to get into—and escape from—Old New-Gate Prison over the last 240 years. After six years of a stabilization project, the popular historic site is on the verge of reopening to the public with an open house on October 22, 2016.

Featuring: Ruth Duncan, Christopher Shields of the Greenwich Historical Society, Jack Shannahan, Rep. Tami Zawistowski, Sophie Huget.

“The Pirate’s Pericardium?,” Fall 2016
Escape from New-Gate Prison,” Summer 2006

Episode 16: Drinking in History at the Noah Webster House
21 Minutes. Release Date: October 4, 2016
Some people say that young people these days just aren’t that interested in history museums. Don’t tell that to the Noah Webster House in West Hartford, which has found a way to attract hundreds of twenty-and-thirty-somethings to drink in history at the birthplace of the man who helped define early America.

See also Episode 4: Winter 2015-2016–Connecticut Clocks and American Words (below)

Episode 15: What’s It All About: The Law and Order Edition!fall2016cover_255x300
34 Minutes. Release Date: September 15, 2016

Was the oldest person executed under Connecticut’s now-abolished capital punishment law given a fair trial? Where did an enterprising young man find the best law school in the early years of the new nation? (hint: it wasn’t New Haven) 
Find out about these and others stories about crime and punishment in Connecticut from the Fall 2016 issue of Connecticut Explored. 

Guests: Johnna Kaplan, author of “The Mysterious Case of Gershom Marx,” and Cathy Fields, executive director of the Litchfield Historical Society: Hosts: Elizabeth Normen and Jennifer LaRue

Get the issue! Fall 2016

v14n3_255x300Episode 14:  Before BDL: Bradley Field and Eugene Bradley
41 Minutes. Release Date: September 6, 2016
What’s the history of Bradley International Airport and why is it named for someone from Oklahoma? Is it time to change the name? On the 75th anniversary of Bradley Field (almost to the day) CT Explored’s Elizabeth Normen spoke with Jerry Roberts of the New England Air Museum about the past, present, and future of Connecticut’s international airport and air museum. The last of our episodes from the Summer 2016 issue “Small Towns, BIG Stories.”

Windsor Locks: Bradley International Airport
reserving Connecticut’s Aeronautical History
Sikorsky: Still Revolutionary
Frederick Rentschler: The Sky’s the Limit
The Rise and Fall of Balloonist Silas Brooks

Red ware fragment, Hollister site, 2016. photo: Walter Woodward

Red ware fragment, Hollister site, 2016. photo: Walter Woodward

Episode 13: Discovery: Connecticut’s Most Important Dig Ever
42 Minutes. Release Date: August 23, 2016
Take an earwitness journey to the 1659 John Hollister homesite on the Connecticut River in ancient Wethersfield, and join the archaeologists, graduate students, and volunteers from many walks of life as they uncover one of the richest early colonial sites ever found in Connecticut.

Accompany State historian Walter Woodward on the last day of the dig for a first-hand account of what they’re finding, and what it means for understanding our early history. Hear from State archeologist Brian Jones, Lori Kissel, Scot Brady, Glenda Rose, Dick Hughes, Fiona Jones, Mandy Ranslow (president of FOSA – Friends of the Office of State Archaeology)  and others about their epic archeological adventure.

Summer 2014: History Underground
“Waste Not, Want Not: What a Colonial Midden Can Tell Us” by Ross Harper, Fall 2012

Episode 12: Great Finds: Inside and Out
34 Minutes. Release Date: August 2, 2016
The Great Find!
A pair of 18th century portraits comes up for auction. Should the Connecticut Historical Society make a bid? This is a behind-the-scenes story in more ways than one! Host: Elizabeth Normen, CT Explored. Featuring: Ilene Frank, Connecticut Historical Society.
Pleasant Valley Drive In
Did you go to the drive-in movies when you were a kid? You still can! Join Jennifer LaRue for another segment inspired by the “Small Towns, BIG Stories” theme of the Summer 2016 issue of Connecticut Explored. Host: Jennifer LaRue, Connecticut Explored.
Growing Up in Connecticut
Are you a millennial, Gen Xer, Baby Boomer, or member of the Silent Generation? Relive your childhood with the Connecticut Historical Society’s special exhibition “Growing Up in Connecticut.” Host: Elizabeth Normen, Connecticut Explored. Featuring: Ben Gammell, Connecticut Historical Society

Read More:
“In Search of the Great Find: Nathan Liverant and Sons”
“Shack Attack: Connecticut’s Roadside Eateries”  and listen to Episode 10 “Shack Attack”
A Hip Road Trip: The History of the Berlin Turnpike”
Lunch Wagon to Spage-Age Diner: Connecticut’s First Fast Food Emporiums”

Episode 11: Wallace Nutting and the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum
39 Minutes. Release Date: July 13, 2016

Most people know the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum as the place where George Washington and the comte de Rochambeau planned the campaign that won the American victory in the Revolutionary War. This year, a special exhibition commemorates another important event, one that happened there 100 years ago. In 1916, minister, photographer, antiques expert, and marketing entrepreneur Wallace Nutting made Webb-Deane-Stevens one of the very first historic house museums in America. Museum executive director Charles Lyle tells us the amazing story about an amazing man who was the Martha Stewart of his generation and more.

Related Stories:
“The Conference State: Washington and Rochambeau Plan for Victory”
Winter 2011/2012: “Site Line: Silas Deane”

4Episode 10: Poets and Patriots in Stonington & Shack Attack! Summer Eats in Connecticut
29 minutes. R
elease Date: June 27, 2016
More stories from “Small Towns, BIG Stories,” the summer 2016 issue of Connecticut Explored.
Poetry and Patriots in Stonington: A visit to an unexpected listing on the National Register of Historic Places: poet James Merrill’s fourth-floor walk-up pied-a-terre in Stonington. Special guest poet-in-residence Noah Warren reads from Merrill’s work and reveals how this place inspired both his and Merrill’s poetry. And Beth Moore of the Stonington Historical Society gives us a highlights tour of historic sites in Stonington.
PLUS–Shack Attack: Summer Eats in Connecticut: Find out where to get great clams, hot dogs, and ice cream at Connecticut’s most iconic roadside food shacks.

Episode 9: Small Towns, BIG Stories–Lyman Orchards Turns 275 and What’s It All About
45 minutes. Release date: June 7, 2016
Lyman Orchards in Middlefield celebrates its 275th anniversary and so state historian Walt Woodward sat down with John Lyman III to talk about the history of the 12th oldest family business in America, which also happens to be one of New England’s most popular agri-tourism destinations. 30 minutes

Then, (at minute 30) listen to What’s It All About – Summer Edition, a lively discussion with Bill Hosley and Betsy Fox about their favorite small towns with BIG stories from the summer issue of Connecticut Explored.

Related stories:
“Top 10 Treasures from Small Museums”
“Even with History, Go Local”
Summer 2016 issue

Episode 8: Living History
20 minutes. Release date: May 22, 2016
What if you could tour writer Mark Twain’s house with the maid, getting the juicy inside story? Join Connecticut Explored editor Jennifer LaRue as she tags along on one of the Mark Twain House’s new living history tours. Plus learn about the living history tour offered at the Windsor Historical Society. Then publisher Elizabeth Normen smells the lilacs in the Florence Griswold Museum’s gardens and takes you through their current exhibition celebrating executive director Jeffrey Anderson’s 40th anniversary.

Related stories:
Saving Mark Twain’s House,” by Steve Courtney, Spring 2013

Episode 7: A Communist’s Arrest in 1950s New Haven
28 minutes. Release date: April 19, 2016
In 1954, 32-year-old Al Marder was arrested in New Haven along with several others under the Smith Act for allegedly working to overthrow the US government. After a lengthy trial, during which he was defended by the celebrated civil rights lawyer Catherine Roraback, he was acquitted. With humor, grace, passion, and optimism, hear Al tell in his own words what he was fighting for and what it feels like when the full power of the state, federal, and local government is aimed at you. Recorded at New Haven Museum on April 14, 2016. An extended version including the entire 1-hour program is available as Episode 7E (Extended).

Read related stories in the Spring 2016 issue, including “A Life of Conviction: Al Marder” by Mary Donohue.

Episode 6: Irish in a Mill Town and Spring 2016–Voting and Protesting
45 minutes. Release date: March 13, 2016
Irish Eyes in a Connecticut Mill Town, 17 minutes. Jamie Eves of the Windham Textile & History Museum in Willimantic talks with state historian Walt Woodward about their new exhibition Irish Eyes: The Irish Experience in a Connecticut Mill Town.
What’s It All About, 13 min. The CT Explored editorial team talks about voting, protesting, and religious equality. Features Dave Corrigan on the 1991 income tax protest and Mary Donohue on the 1843 petition by Jews for religious parity in Connecticut.
Theodate’s Suffrage Journey, 12 min. Melanie Anderson Bourbeau, curator of Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, describes the suffrage journey of Hill-Stead’s architect and last resident Theodate Pope Riddle.

Read related stories in the Spring 2016 issue and
SAMPLE ARTICLE: The Anti-Income Tax Rally of 1991
Connecticut’s Irish Domestics

Episode 5: What Makes Connecticut Connecticut?
52 minutes. Release date: March 3, 2016
A musical lecture by state historian Walter Woodward featuring his Band of Steady Habits. This podcast was inspired by Connecticut Captured: A 21st Century Look at an American Classic, an exhibition of photographs by acclaimed visual documentarian Carol M. Highsmith on view at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford through March 12, 2016. This exhibition, based on Woodward  and Highsmith’s recently published book Connecticut (Chelsea Publishing, 2015), is an effort to capture in images the character of Connecticut in the 21st century. Read more at

Episode 4: Winter 2015-2016–Connecticut Clocks and American Words
37 minutes. Release date: February 2016
They Keep On Ticking: A Visit to the American Clock & Watch Museum: Clock & Watch Museum executive director Patti Philippon tells us about the Mickey Mouse watch that saved the Timex Company during the Great Depression, and so much more.
Defining the American Language: A Visit to the Noah Webster House: Webster House executive director Jennifer Matos tells out why Webster’s dictionary was so revolutionary.

Read these related stories:
Everyman’s Time: The Rise and Fall of Connecticut Clockmaking
On Noah Webster:
Father of American Copyright Law
A Connecticut Yankee Doodle Dandy
Noah Webster Slept Here and So Did I
And stories from our Winter 2015-2016 issue

Episode 3: History That’s Music to Our Ears
35 minutes. Release date: January 2016
Speed-dating at a History Conference: State historian Walt Woodward takes listeners inside the Fall 2015 Association for the Study of Connecticut History conference.
125 Years of Music: Editor Jennifer LaRue lets us listen in on the music-making of the Musical Club of Hartford, the subject of her Fall 2015 story.

Read related story:
125 Years of Music: The Musical Club of Hartford

Episode 2: Winter 2015-2015–Connecticut’s Iconic Brands
36 minutes. Release date: December 2015
What’s It All About: Editor Jennifer LaRue, publisher Elizabeth Normen, assistant publisher Mary Donohue, and curator of the Museum of Connecticut History Dave Corrigan talk about the big ideas behind their favorite stories in the Winter 2015-2016 issue.
A Birdcall Moment:
Historian Rich Malley takes listeners out into the field to demonstrate the subject of his story “The Simple Genius of the Audubon Bird Call.”
It Doesn’t Look Like a Toaster:
Editorial assistant Sarajane Cedrone takes listeners on a tour of the New Britain Industrial Museum, the subject of her story “Site Lines: Making Places,” with the museum’s executive director Karen Hudkins.

Read related stories in our Winter 2015-2016 issue

Episode 1: Introducing Grating the Nutmeg
19 minutes. Release date: November 2015
What’s It All About: Editor Jennifer LaRue, publisher Elizabeth Normen, and state historian Walter Woodward explain what Grating the Nutmeg is about and how it got its spicy name.
Lebanon’s Quiet Benefactor: Walt Woodward visits Lebanon’s historic green to learn from Ed Tollman about that town’s amazing life-long benefactor Hugh Trumbull Adams.

Read related stories in our Fall 2015 issue


Plus, these one-hour interviews by


Eric Lehman, “Tom Thumb and the Age of Celebrity.” CLICK HERE

WINTER  2014/2015

Laura Macaluso, “New Haven’s Monuments Man”–Click Here

FALL 2014 Issue

Elisabeth Petry, “Just Like Georgia Except for the Climate”– Click Here


Jerry Roberts, War of 1812: The British Raid on Essex  CLICK HERE

African American Connecticut Explored

Hear an interview with contributing author Katherine Harris on our new book African American Connecticut Explored (Wesleyan University Press, 2014).


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