American Made: The Industrial Revolution in Connecticut — Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road Wilton, CT 06897 Tel: 203-762-3950

American Made: The Industrial Revolution in Connecticut

American Made: The Industrial Revolution in Connecticut

A collaboration between the Wilton Historical Society and Wilton Library
February and March 2014

 

For the seventh year, the Wilton Historical Society and Wilton Library are partnering on an informative scholarly series about an important time in America’s history – the Industrial Revolution.  This series examines the role that Connecticut played in the emerging growth of a nation.  The five-part series is sponsored by Bankwell in Wilton, with individual sponsors for each lecture.  The hosts for the series are Louise Herot and Greg Chann. Sharing the moderator duties are Steve Hudspeth and Max Gabrielson.  Receptions will follow each of the talks.  The lecture locations alternate between Wilton Library and the Wilton Historical Society.

Registration is essential for these very popular lectures.  Please click the registration buttons below for each lecture .  Registration is free although donations are always welcomed.

To register, please click on the registration links below or call 203-762-3950, ext. 213.


Leaving Connecticut, Shaping America: Walter Woodward 

Sunday, February 9, 2014, 4 – 5:30 pm
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton, 203-762-3950, ext. 213

The collaboration between the Wilton Library and the Wilton Historical Society kicks off its 7th season of scholarly lectures with the return of Walter Woodward.  This year’s topic is “American Made: The Industrial Revolution in Connecticut” and Walter’s lecture is “Leaving Connecticut, Shaping America.”

Between 1780 and 1830, tens of thousands of Nutmeggers left our state to ‘begin the world anew’ in places like Pennsylvania, Vermont, western New York, and especially, the Connecticut Reserve of what is now Ohio. In the process, they took the culture of their home state with them, and gave the nation a strong and indelible Connecticut character. Walter Woodward discusses the reasons behind Connecticut’s massive outmigration, the distinctive attributes of the people who chose to leave, and the very serious concerns their removal raised for those they left behind.

Walter Woodward is a State Historian of Connecticut, Associate Professor of History, University of Connecticut, author of Prospero’s America: John Winthrop, Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture, 1606-1676 (2010).

Lecture sponsor:  Doon and John Foster
Moderator:  Steve Hudspeth

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The Erie Canal, a Mule Named Sal, and the Industrialization of America: Ann Greene

Sunday, February 23, 2014, 4 – 5:30 pm
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road, Wilton, 203-762-7257

Americans often remember the Erie Canal as an engineering marvel of the early 19th century. However, in this second lecture of the annual collaboration between the Wilton Library and the Wilton Historical Society, “American Made: The Industrial Revolution in Connecticut,” Dr. Ann Greene will discuss the long history of the canal which offers a window into the long history of industrialization, including the energy and environmental history of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Ann Greene is a faculty member and administrator at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of History and Sociology of Science.  She has written a book on the energy history of 19th century America, called Horses at Work: Harnessing Power in Industrial America and specializes in Gilded Age environmental, technological and political history.

Lecture sponsor:  Stamford Pathology Group PC
Moderator:  Max Gabrielson

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The Rise and Fall of the Connecticut Textile Industry: Jamie Eves

Sunday, March 2, 2014, 4 – 5:30 pm
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road, Wilton, 203-762-7257

Shortly after the American Revolution, the first textile mills appeared in Connecticut, mass producing thread and cloth. By the 1830s the textile industry was in full swing, and Connecticut — along with the rest of southern New England — became the cockpit of the American Industrial Revolution, and textiles were the state’s leading manufacturing product. The industry reached its height in the late 1800s and early 1900s. But even as it did, decline set in, as the industry slowly moved away — first to the South, and then overseas. Just last year, Connecticut’s last textile factory closed.  In this third lecture of the annual collaboration between the Wilton Library and the Wilton Historical Society, “American Made: The Industrial Revolution in Connecticut,” Jamie Eves will trace the reasons for the rise and decline of Connecticut’s textile industry, its connections to other Connecticut industries, and its ramifications for the future.

Jamie Eves is the Executive Director of the Windham Textile and History Museum and has a Ph. D. in History from the University of Connecticut.  He teaches a variety of History courses part-time at Eastern Connecticut State University, including Environmental History, Public History, the History of Textile in America and Local History.

Lecture sponsor:  Kathleen and Bill Brennan
Moderator:  Steve Hudspeth

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Silicon Valley of the 19th Century – Rediscovering the CT Valley’s Industrial Heritage: William Hosley

Sunday, March 16, 2014, 4 – 5:30 pm
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton, 203-762-3950, ext. 213

Led by the U.S. Springfield Armory, the Connecticut Valley became America’s first high-tech industrial corridor – the vanguard of a technology-based revolution that changed the world of work, producing guns, typewriters, sewing machines, bicycles, automobiles and more, using machines. In this fourth lecture of the annual collaboration between the Wilton Library and the Wilton Historical Society, “American Made: The Industrial Revolution in Connecticut,” William Hosley will present a picture show and lecture on Connecticut’s contribution to the Industrial Revolution.

William Hosley, the principal of Terra Firma Northeast, is an independent scholar, cultural resource consultant, planner, writer and photographer. He was formerly Director of the New Haven Museum and Connecticut Landmarks and prior to that, curator and exhibition developer at Wadsworth Atheneum.  He is an expert in heritage tourism and has lectured throughout the country and served as a content specialist for PBS, BBC and CPTV film documentaries.

Lecture sponsor:  Lee Wilson, Wilson Properties
Moderator:  Max Gabrielson

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The Dawn of Innovation: Charles Morris

Sunday, March 30, 2014, 4 – 5:30 pm
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road, Wilton, 203-762-7257

In this final lecture of the annual collaboration between the Wilton Library and the Wilton Historical Society, “American Made: The Industrial Revolution in Connecticut,” we welcome author Charles R. Morris.  In the thirty years after the Civil War, the United States blew by Great Britain to become the greatest economic power in world history. In The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution, Mr. Morris shows us that the platform for that spectacular growth spurt was built in the first half of the century.  By the 1820s, America was already the world’s most productive manufacturer and the most intensely commercialized society in history.   The War of 1812 jump started the great New England cotton mills, the iron centers in Connecticut and Pennsylvania and the forges around the Great Lakes.  Mr. Morris will present an overview of the book and its arguments with special emphasis on Connecticut’s own Eli Whitney.
Charles R. Morris has written fourteen books, including The Cost of Good Intentions, one of the New York Times’ Best Books of 1980, The Coming Global Boom, a New York Times’ Notable Book of 1990, The Tycoons, a Barrons’ Best Book of 2005, and The Trillion Dollar Meltdown, a New York Times’ Notable Book of the Year 2008. A lawyer and former investment banker, his articles and reviews have appeared in many publications including The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. 

Books will be available for purchase courtesy of Elm Street Books.

Lecture sponsor:  Lila and Buck Griswold
Moderator:  Steve Hudspeth

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