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Heroes & Villains Lecture Series: Ella Grasso As She Saw Herself

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 114 Whitney Ave New Haven CT 06510  See map

The legends of heroes and villains abound. Starting this fall, the New Haven Museum will present a lecture series entitled “Heroes & Villains,” exploring the stories behind some of the most important historical figures in the history of Greater New Haven. The lecture series will continue through 2013 as the New Haven Museum celebrates its 150th and the City of New Haven’s 375th anniversary. All lectures begin at 6:30 pm. Lectures will be accompanied by book signings, and copies of each speaker’s books will be available for sale. All lectures are free and open to the public.

On Thursday, September 27, Chris Pagliuco will discuss his new book, The Great Escape of Edward Whalley & William Goffe, sharing the adventures of two of the regicides, the judges who condemned King Charles I to death, ultimately forced to live as fugitives and fled to New Haven from England in the seventeenth century. Chris is a freelance writer who specializes in 17th-century colonial history. He teaches high school history in Madison, CT, and serves as town historian in Essex, CT.

On Tuesday, October 9, Fred Calabretta will discuss how the War of 1812 shattered the lives of Connecticut citizens. Focusing on the experiences of Connecticut’s participants and witnesses, this talk will reveal how the war upset lives in every town, especially those along the coast, interfering with business activity and home life alike, and the lasting effects on Connecticut and the nation that the conflict left behind. Fred Calabretta is Curator of Collections and Oral Historian at Mystic Seaport Museum. He has also served as curator for a number of exhibitions, including The Rockets’ Red Glare: Connecticut and the War of 1812, which is currently on view at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London. Fred is also a contributing author to the exhibition’s companion book and has authored two other books and a number of published articles and essays.

On Wednesday, November 7, Marcus Rediker will share the story of the Amistad rebellion from the point of view of the African captives themselves, the topic of his new book, The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom. Utilizing sources unique to this event, Rediker reconstructs the horror of their plight, their courage, their humanity, and their backgrounds not just as captives, but as people. His new book reminds readers of the humanity behind this rebellion, a side to this story that has gone unexplored and unheard until now. Marcus is a professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. He has won several book prizes and held numerous fellowships, and is the author of four other books, including The Slave Ship.

On Thursday, December 6, Jon E. Purmont will speak on his new book, Ella Grasso: Connecticut’s Pioneering Governor. In 1974, the people of Connecticut chose her as the nation’s first woman to be elected governor in her own right—the capstone of a long and successful career dedicated to public service, effective government, and the democratic process. The daughter of Italian immigrants, she endeared herself to her constituents during the great Blizzard of 1978, when she stayed at the State Armory around the clock to direct emergency operations and make frequent television appearances. Author Jon E. Purmont, who served as Grasso’s executive assistant when she was governor, draws on his diary from that time, research in Grasso’s archives, and interviews with Grasso’s family and friends to give us a rich and intimate portrait of this political pioneer. Jon is an emeritus professor of history at Southern Connecticut State University. His articles have appeared in Connecticut Review and Connecticut Explored, and he is coauthor of A Concise History of the United States.

The New Haven Museum, founded in 1862 as the New Haven Colony Historical Society, is located in downtown New Haven at 114 Whitney Avenue. For more information, contact Michelle Cheng, Director of Education, at (203) 562-4183 ext. 11 or education@newhavenmuseum.org.

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