USA Famous People of Connecticut

Connecticut Biographies

Dean Acheson statesman, Middletown Dean Gooderham Acheson (April 11, 1893 – October 12, 1971) was an American statesman and lawyer; as United States Secretary of State in the administration of President Harry S. Truman during 1949–1953, he played a central role in defining American foreign policy during the Cold War. He likewise played a central role in the creation of many important institutions, including Lend Lease, the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank, together with the early organizations that later became the European Union and the World Trade Organization. His most famous decision was convincing Truman to intervene, in June 1950, in the Korean War. Historians have argued, "Dean Acheson was more than 'present at the creation' of the Cold War; he was a primary architect."

Acheson came under heavy attack for his policies in China and for his defense of State Department employees accused during Senator Joseph McCarthy's anti-Communist investigations. Acheson was instrumental in framing U.S. policy toward Vietnam, persuading Truman to dispatch aid and advisors to French forces in Indochina, though in 1968 he finally counseled President Lyndon B. Johnson to negotiate for peace with North Vietnam. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, President John F. Kennedy called upon Acheson for advice, bringing him into the executive committee (ExComm), a strategic advisory group. • Dean Acheson Books

Ethan Allan (1738 - 1789) American Revolutionary soldier; Born in Litchfield.

Anyone looking for a straight biography of Ethan Allen will not find it here. If, however, one is looking for a scholarly examination of the social history of Vermont and Allen's role in its development, this is a good book to read. Bellesiles (history, Emory) details the creation of Vermont, from the fraudulent land sales by New Hampshire's Royal Governor Benning Wentworth in the 1740s to statehood in 1787.

In between, we see how concerns for family welfare brought people into an unsettled wilderness; the social conflicts produced by various religious sects; and, most importantly, Allen's role and activities in the conflict between the settlers and New York, which prepared them for the larger conflict with Britain. The scholarly nature of this book makes it more suitable for academic libraries than for general collections. - Robert A. Curtis, Taylor Memorial P.L., Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio • Ethan Allan Books

Benedict Arnold (1741 - 1801) A captain of the Colonial Army turned British spy. 

He is famous for burning down the town of New London; since then, his name has meant ?traitor;? born in Norwich The name Benedict Arnold survives today as a synonym for treachery. Author James Kirby Martin points out that Arnold's life, however, was not a simple black-and-white morality play--high-school textbook narratives to the contrary. Indeed, under different circumstances the American Judas might have gone down in history as the most revered military leader of the Revolutionary War, save George Washington. "His treason was shocking because of the magnitude of his contributions to the Revolutionary effort," writes Kirby, a professor at the University of Houston. In this revisionist account, Kirby suggests that Arnold was more a victim of his own inept political skills than a slave to base motives. A complex psychology was at work as well: Arnold always felt underappreciated by his colleagues, especially after victories at Saratoga. Benedict Arnold, Revolutionary Hero presents a detailed account of an often misunderstood man. • Benedict Arnold Books

Phineas T. Barnum (1810 - 1891) One founder of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus; born in Bethel.

For more than fifty years, Phineas T. Barnum embodied all that was grand and fraudulent in American mass culture. Over the course of a life that spanned the nineteenth century (1810-91), he inflicted himself upon a surprisingly willing public in a variety of guises, from newspaper editor (or libeler) to traveling showman (or charlatan) and distinguished public benefactor (or shameless hypocrite). Barnum deliberately cultivated his ambiguous public image through a lifelong advertising campaign, shrewdly exploiting the cultural and technological capabilities of the new publishing industry. While running his numerous shows and exhibitions, Barnum managed to publish newspaper articles, expose of fraud (not his own), self-help tracts, and a series of best-selling autobiographies, each promising to give 'the true history of my many adventures'. Updated editions of "The Life of P.T. Barnum" appeared regularly, allowing Barnum to keep up with demand and prune the narrative of details that might offend posterity • Phineas T. Barnum Books

Henry Ward Beecher clergyman, Litchfield (June 24, 1813 – March 8, 1887) was a prominent, Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, abolitionist, and speaker in the mid to late 19th century. An 1875 adultery trial in which he was accused of having an affair with a married woman was one of the most notorious American trials of the 19th century. In 2007, The Most Famous Man in America: A Biography of Henry Ward Beecher by Debby Applegate won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography.

Born in Litchfield, Connecticut, he was the son of Lyman Beecher, a Presbyterian preacher from Boston, and Roxana Foote. Roxana died when Henry was three. Henry was the seventh of 13 siblings, some of whom were famous in their own right: Harriet Beecher Stowe who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin; noted educator Catharine Beecher; activists Charles Beecher and Isabella Beecher Hooker. In addition Henry was the uncle of Edgar Beecher Bronson.

The Beecher household was exemplary of the orthodox ministry that Lyman Beecher preached. His family not only prayed at the beginning and end of each day but also sang hymns and prepared for other rigorous church obligations. The family members were expected to participate in prayer meetings, attend lectures and other church functions. "Undue frivolity was discouraged, so they did not celebrate Christmas or birthdays. Dancing, theater, and all but the most high-toned fiction were forbidden • Henry Ward Beecher Books

John Brown abolitionist, Torrington (May 9, 1800 – December 2, 1859) was an American abolitionist, and folk hero who advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to end all slavery. He led the Pottawatomie Massacre in 1856 in Bleeding Kansas and made his name in the unsuccessful raid at Harpers Ferry in 1859.

President Abraham Lincoln said he was a "misguided fanatic" and Brown has been called "the most controversial of all 19th-century Americans." His attempt in 1859 to start a liberation movement among enslaved African Americans in Harpers Ferry, Virginia electrified the nation. He was tried for treason against the state of Virginia, the murder of five proslavery Southerners, and inciting a slave insurrection and was subsequently hanged. Southerners alleged that his rebellion was the tip of the abolitionist iceberg and represented the wishes of the Republican Party. Historians agree that the Harpers Ferry raid in 1859 escalated tensions that a year later led to secession and the American Civil War.

Brown first gained attention when he led small groups of volunteers during the Bleeding Kansas crisis. Unlike most other Northerners, who still advocated peaceful resistance to the pro-slavery faction, Brown demanded violent action in response to Southern aggression. Dissatisfied with the pacifism encouraged by the organized abolitionist movement • John Brown Books

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) (1835 - 1910) Author of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; lived in Hartford. This unique '10 books in 1' edition of Mark Twain's original works contains the following complete books: 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer ', 'Huckleberry Finn' ', 'Tom Sawyer Abroad ', 'Tom Sawyer, Detective ', 'Life on The Mississippi ', 'The Prince and the Pauper ', 'The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson ', 'A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court ', 'Roughing It ' and 'Following the Equator '. These are classic works which have delighted generations of American children and adults alike. An ideal gift for any fan of the wit and wisdom of Mark Twain. The entire set is available in this single, great value, edition!

Preface to Tom Sawyer "Most of the adventures recorded in this book really occurred; one or two were experiences of my own, the rest those of boys who were schoolmates of mine. Huck Finn is drawn from life; Tom Sawyer also, but not from an individual--he is a combination of the characteristics of three boys whom I knew, and therefore belongs to the composite order of architecture. The odd superstitions touched upon were all prevalent among children and slaves in the West at the period of this story--that is to say, thirty or forty years ago. Although my book is intended mainly for the entertainment of boys and girls, I hope it will not be shunned by men and women on that account, for part of my plan has been to try to pleasantly remind adults of what they once were themselves, and of how they felt and thought and talked, and what queer enterprises they sometimes engaged in." • Mark Twain Books

Samuel Colt (1814 - 1862) Inventor and founder of the Colt firearm company; born in Hartford. an American inventor and industrialist. He was the founder of Colt's Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company (now known as Colt's Manufacturing Company), and is widely credited with popularizing the revolver. Colt's innovative contributions to the weapons industry have been described by arms historian James E. Serven as "events which shaped the destiny of American Firearms.

Samuel Colt was born in Hartford, Connecticut to Christopher Colt, a farmer who had moved his family to Hartford when he changed professions and became a businessman, and Sarah Colt née Caldwell, who died before Samuel was seven years old. Christopher Colt was remarried two years later to Olive Sargeant. The Colt family included eight siblings, five boys and three girls. Two of the sisters died in childhood and the other committed suicide later in life, but Samuel's brothers were a significant part of his professional life.• Samuel Colt books

Dominick John Dunne (October 29, 1925 - August 26, 2009) was an American writer and investigative journalist, whose subjects frequently hinged on the ways in which high society interacts with the judicial system. He was a movie producer in Hollywood and was also known for his frequent appearances on television. He was the brother of author John Gregory Dunne; the writer Joan Didion was his sister-in-law. He was the father of Alexander Dunne, and of the actors Griffin Dunne and Dominique Dunne, as well as two daughters who died in infancy.

On what would have been Dunne's eighty-fourth birthday, long time Hollywood friends, along with new Hollywood movers and shakers, and a cast of reporter friends gathered at the Chateau Marmont to celebrate Dominick Dunne's life.

Dunne, the second of six children, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Dorothy Frances (née Burns) and Richard Edwin Dunne, a hospital chief of staff and prominent heart surgeon. His Irish Catholic family was wealthy (his maternal grandfather, Dominick F. Burns, founded the Park Street Trust Company); but, from his earliest days, Dunne recalled feeling like an outsider in the predominantly WASPish West Hartford. • Dominick Dunne Books

Oliver Ellsworth jurist, Windsor (April 29, 1745 – November 26, 1807), an American lawyer and politician, was a revolutionary against British rule, a drafter of the United States Constitution, and third Chief Justice of the United States. On June 20, 1787, while at the Federal Convention, Ellsworth moved to strike the word National from the May 30, 1787 motion made by Edmund Randolph of Virginia, that called for the government to be called a National Government of United States. Ellsworth moved that the government continue to be called the United States Government.

Oliver Ellsworth was born in Windsor, Connecticut, to Capt. David and Jemima Leavitt Ellsworth.[2] He entered Yale in 1762, but transferred to the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) at the end of his second year. He continued to study theology and received his A.B. degree, Phi Beta Kappa[3] after 2 years. Soon afterward, however, Ellsworth turned to the law. After four years of study, he was admitted to the bar in 1771 and later became a successful lawyer. • Oliver Ellsworth Books

Eileen Farrell soprano, Willimantic (February 13, 1920 – March 23, 2002) was an American opera and concert singer soprano. During her career, Farrell was greatly admired as an opera singer, but she preferred the concert hall and radio to the theater.

Farrell was born in Willimantic, Connecticut, but she moved at an early age to Woonsocket, Rhode Island, which she always publicly and affectionately called her home town. She was elected to Woonsocket's Hall of Fame. Her parents were vaudeville singers. In 1942 she made her concert debut on CBS radio where she soon presented her own radio program. During 1947–1948, she toured the US as a concert singer, and in 1949 she toured South America.

Farrell's song recital in New York in October 1950 was enthusiastically acclaimed and secured for her immediate recognition. That year, she also appeared in a concert performance of Berg's Wozzeck as Marie. In 1952, she was engaged by Toscanini for his first and only studio recording of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the NBC Symphony Orchestra.

In the 1955 film Interrupted Melody, which starred Eleanor Parker as Australian soprano Marjorie Lawrence, Ms. Farrell supplied the singing voice for Ms. Parker. • Eileen Farrell Books • Eileen Farrell Discography

Charles Goodyear (December 29, 1800 ? July 1, 1860) Inventor of vulcanized rubber; born in New Haven.Goodyear was an entrepreneur who actually made good on the ever-popular claim that his company would change the world. Korman, senior editor of Engineering News-Record, dryly traces the life of the rubber pioneer and American industrial legend in this part scientific history lesson and part American business story. Goodyear (1800-1860) became an inventor not out of any great scientific thirst; he was self-taught and wanted to make money. He earned success, but endured continual patent monopoly battles and numerous trips to debtors' prison as he steadfastly and compulsively held onto his dream of using rubber to change just about every aspect of life.

(According to Korman, Goodyear frequently wore a coat made of rubber in his early inventing days to underscore the versatility of his product.) Korman waxes scientific at times, offering in-depth descriptions of how Goodyear cooked rubber and sulfur compounds, yet his technical discourses are not so esoteric that they will turn away amateurs. His book is also valuable for its accurate portrayal of factory life in the 1830s and '40s; his accounts of the aproned men who chopped rubber with axes and knives and the machines that ground it are lively examples of industrial age America. Although Korman doesn't emphasize it often, his book serves as inspiration for entrepreneurs of any age.• Charles Goodyear Books

Ella Grasso The first woman to be elected governor of a state; (May 10, 1919 – February 5, 1981), born Ella Giovanna Oliva Tambussi, was an American politician, and first woman elected governor of Connecticut.

Grasso was born in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, to Italian immigrant parents. Contrary to popular belief, she was not the first elected woman to serve as governor of a U.S. state; however, Grasso was the first woman who was elected governor "in her own right," without being the wife or widow of a past governor. She was also the first female governor of Connecticut.

After attending St. Mary's School in Windsor Locks, and then the Chaffee School in Windsor, Grasso went on to Mount Holyoke College, in South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she was awarded her B.A. in 1940 and her M.A. in 1942. After graduation, she served as assistant director of research for the War Manpower Commission of Connecticut. • Ella Grasso Books

Kevin R. Constantine Gutzman is an American historian, Constitutional scholar, and New York Times bestselling author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution.He is an associate professor of the Department of History and Non-Western Cultures at Western Connecticut State University. He is an outspoken critic of excessive power of the Supreme Court. His views have been characterized as libertarian, conservative, anti-Federalist, and pro-states' rights " Books by Kevin Gutzman: Understanding revolutionary and Jeffersonian America.(Book Review): An article from: Modern Age : The Colonization Chimera," in Lincoln Emancipated: The President and the Politics of Race, ed. Brian Dirck (Northern Illinois University Press, 2007) The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution (Regnery Press, 2007) Virginia's American Revolution: From Dominion to Republic, 1776-1840 (Lexington Books, 2007) Who Killed the Constitution?: The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush (Co-authored with Thomas E. Woods, Jr. Crown Forum, 2008) • Kevin R. Constantine Gutzman Books
Nathan Hale (1755 -1776) A martyr soldier of the American Revolution; born in Coventry. a soldier for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Widely considered America's first spy, he volunteered for an intelligence-gathering mission, but was captured by the British. He is best remembered for his speech before being hanged following the Battle of Long Island, in which he said, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

Hale has long been considered an American hero and, in 1985, he was officially designated the state hero of Connecticut. A statue of Nathan Hale is located at the headquarters of the CIA in Langley, Fairfax County, Virginia,  and also at the Federal Triangle in Washington, DC. In 1768, when he was thirteen years old, he was sent with his brother Enoch to Yale College. Nathan was a classmate of fellow patriot spy Benjamin Tallmadge. The Hale brothers belonged to the Yale literary fraternity, Linonia, which debated topics in astronomy, mathematics, literature, and the ethics of slavery • Nathan Hale Books

Robert N. Hall inventor, New Haven (born December 25, 1919) is an American engineer and applied physicist. He demonstrated the first semiconductor laser, and invented a type of magnetron commonly used in microwave ovens. He also contributed to the development of rectifiers for power transmission.

Hall was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He studied at California Institute of Technology, receiving the B.S. in 1942 and the Ph.D. in 1948.

Studying the characteristics of p-i-n diodes used as power rectifiers, he had a key insight which resulted in his being co-credited with William Shockley and W. T. Read, Jr., for the analysis of nonradiative carrier recombination in semiconductors.

Hall developed the semiconductor laser in 1962, while working at General Electric in Schenectady, New York. In the 1970s, Hall's work focussed on photovoltaics and solar cells. He retired in 1987 having been granted 43 U.S. patents during his career. Hall was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1977, and to the National Academy of Sciences in 1978. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1994. • Robert N. Hall Books

Dorothy Hamill (1956 - ) Olympic gold medallist and professional ice skater with the Ice Capades; grew up in Riverside.

A poignant, revealing look at a life we might have imagined differently. . . . Her story will give inspiration to anyone striving toward a seemingly impossible dream." --Booklist "America's Sweetheart" Dorothy Hamill grew up on the ice, working toward the dream she was to accomplish by age nineteen: winning Olympic gold in figure skating. But life was not the picture of perfection it appeared to be. Dorothy faced a painful inner struggle with depression that followed her from the time she was a young girl into adulthood. Months away from home to train and compete took a toll, yet little reprieve could be found in the tumultuous and fragile relationship she had with her parents.

Dorothy went on to marry the man of her dreams, only to have the partnership end in heartache and a tragedy that almost pushed her to the breaking point. When a second failed marriage tried and tested Dorothy yet again, she found a remarkable strength in what she did have--her greatest love, daughter Alexandra.

In this deeply moving and honest memoir, Dorothy opens up for the first time about love, family, courage, and what it means to truly win--both on and off the ice. • Dorothy Hamill Books

Katharine Houghton Hepburn (May 12, 1907 – June 29, 2003) was an American actress of film, television and stage. Famous actress who won four Academy Awards for best actress; born in Hartford. With a mind and will of her own both on screen and off, Katharine Hepburn has become a role model to women worldwide. Barbara Holland's portrait of this outspoken and talented actress reveals the truth behind one of the greatest actresses of our time.

Hepburn's family had a tragic history. By her eighth birthday, three family members were dead from suicide. The death that haunted Kate the most was the suicide of her dear brother, Tommy. His memory echoed throughout her life in her inability to separate herself from self-destructive men.

Hepburn found solace on the stage before eventually making her way to Hollywood. There she starred in Morning Glory, winning the first of her four Academy Awards and launching a film career that was plagued by huge ups and downs in popularity. It was the unique interplay of her public and private personas that made Katharine Hepburn a performer unlike any other. • Katharine Hepburn Books • Katharine Hepburn Movies

Collis Potter Huntington financier, Harwinton (April 16, 1821 – August 13, 1900) was one of the Big Four of western railroading (along with Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker) who built the Central Pacific Railroad as part of the first U.S. transcontinental railroad. Huntington then helped lead and develop other major interstate lines such as the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, which he was recruited to help complete. The C&O, completed in 1873, fulfilled a long-held dream of Virginians of a rail link from the James River at Richmond to the Ohio River Valley. The new railroad facilities adjacent to the river there resulted in expansion of the former small town of Guyandotte, West Virginia into part of a new city which was named Huntington in his honor.

Collis Potter Huntington was born in Harwinton, Connecticut, USA on April 16, 1821. His family farmed and he grew up helping. In his early teens, he did farm chores and odd jobs for neighbors, too, saving his earnings. At age 16, he began traveling as a peddler. About this time, he visited rural Newport News Point in Warwick County, Virginia in his travels as a salesman. It was later to become quite clear that he never forgot the untapped potential of the location he observed where the James River emptied into the large harbor of Hampton Roads. In 1842 he and his brother established a successful business in Oneonta, New York, selling general merchandise. • Collis Potter Huntington Books

Charles Ives composer, Danbury Charles Edward Ives (October 20, 1874 – May 19, 1954) was an American modernist composer. He is widely regarded as one of the first American composers of international significance. Ives' music was largely ignored during his life, and many of his works went unperformed for many years. Over time, Ives came to be regarded as an "American Original".[3] Ives combined the American popular and church-music traditions of his youth with European art music, and was among the first composers to engage in a systematic program of experimental music, with musical techniques including polytonality, polyrhythm, tone clusters, aleatoric elements, and quarter tones,[4] thus foreshadowing virtually every major musical innovation of the 20th century.

Sources of Charles Ives’s tonal imagery are hymn tunes and traditional songs, the town band at holiday parade, the fiddlers at Saturday night dances, patriotic songs, sentimental parlor ballads, and the melodies of Stephen Foster. • Charles Ives Books • Charles Ives Discography

Edwin H. Land inventor Edwin Herbert Land (May 7, 1909 – March 1, 1991) was an American scientist and inventor, best known as the co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation. Among other things, he invented inexpensive filters for polarizing light, a practical system of in-camera instant photography, and his retinex theory of color vision.

Edwin was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut to Harry and Helen Land. His father owned a scrap metal yard. He attended the Norwich Free Academy at Norwich, Connecticut, a semi-private high school, and graduated in the class of 1927. The library there was posthumously named for him, having been funded by grants from his family. He studied chemistry at Harvard. After his freshman year, he left Harvard for New York City.

In New York City, he invented the first inexpensive filters capable of polarizing light, Polaroid film. Because he was not associated with an educational institution, he lacked the tools of a proper laboratory, making this a difficult endeavor. Instead, he would sneak into a laboratory at Columbia University late at night to use their equipment. He also availed himself of the New York City public library to scour the scientific literature for prior work on polarizing substances. His breakthrough came when he realized that instead of attempting to grow a large single crystal of a polarizing substance, he could manufacture a film with millions of micrometre-sized polarizing crystals that were coaxed into perfect alignment with each other. • Edwin H. Land Books

Annie Leibovitz photographer, Waterbury Anna-Lou "Annie" Leibovitz (pronounced /?li?b?v?ts/) (born October 2, 1949) is an American portrait photographer whose style is marked by a close collaboration between the photographer and the subject.

Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, Leibovitz is the third of six children. Her mother, Marilyn Leibovitz, was a modern dance instructor; her father, Sam Leibovitz, was a lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force. The family moved frequently with her father's duty assignments, and she took her first pictures when he was stationed in the Philippines.

In high school, she became interested in the various artistic endeavours, and began to write and play music. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute, where she studied painting. She became interested in photography after taking pictures when she lived in the Philippines, where her Air Force father was stationed during the Vietnam War. For several years, she continued to develop her photography skills while she worked various jobs, including a stint on a kibbutz in Amir, Israel for several months in 1969 • Annie Leibovitz Books

John Pierpont Morgan financier, Hartford (April 17, 1837 – March 31, 1913) was an American financier, banker and art collector who dominated corporate finance and industrial consolidation during his time. In 1892 Morgan arranged the merger of Edison General Electric and Thomson-Houston Electric Company to form General Electric. After financing the creation of the Federal Steel Company he merged the Carnegie Steel Company and several other steel and iron businesses to form the United States Steel Corporation in 1901.

He died in Rome, Italy, in 1913 at the age of 75, leaving his fortune and business to his son, John Pierpont "Jack" Morgan, Jr., and bequeathing much of his large art collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and to the Wadsworth Atheneum of Hartford, Connecticut.

J.P. Morgan was born in Hartford, Connecticut to Junius Spencer Morgan (1814–1891) and Juliet Pierpont (1816–1884) of Boston, Massachusetts. Pierpont, as he preferred to be known, had a varied education due in part to interference by his father, Junius. In the fall of 1848, Pierpont transferred to the Hartford Public School and then to the Episcopal Academy in Cheshire, Connecticut (now called Cheshire Academy), boarding with the principal.  • John Pierpont Morgan Books

Frederick Law Olmsted landscape designer, Hartford (April 26, 1822 – August 28, 1903) was an American journalist, landscape designer and father of American landscape architecture. Frederick was famous for designing many well-known urban parks, including Central Park and Prospect Park in New York City. Other projects include the country's oldest coordinated system of public parks and parkways in Buffalo, New York; the country's oldest state park, the Niagara Reservation in Niagara Falls, New York; Mount Royal Park in Montreal in Canada; the Emerald Necklace in Boston, Massachusetts; the Belle Isle Park, in Detroit, Michigan; the Presque Isle Park in Marquette, Michigan; the Grand Necklace of Parks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; the Cherokee Park and entire parks and parkway system in Louisville, Kentucky; the Marquette Park in Chicago; Jackson Park, Washington Park, and the Midway Plaisance in Chicago for the World's Columbian Exposition; the south portion of Chicago's Boulevard ring (its 'emerald necklace'); the landscape surrounding the United States Capitol building; George Washington Vanderbilt II's Biltmore Estate in Asheville; and Montebello Park in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. • Frederick Law Olmsted Books
Kenneth H. Olsen inventor, Stratford (born on February 20, 1926) is an American engineer who co-founded Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1957 with colleague Harlan Anderson and venture capital provided by Georges Doriot's American Research and Development Corporation. He was born in Stratford, Connecticut. Olsen was a Massachusetts engineer who had been working at MIT Lincoln Laboratory on the TX-2 project.

Ken Olsen was known throughout his career for his paternalistic management style and his fostering of engineering innovation. Ken Olsen’s valuing of innovation and technical excellence spawned and popularized techniques such as engineering matrix management that are broadly employed today throughout many industries.

In 1986, Fortune Magazine named Olsen "America's most successful entrepreuner." Olsen was the focus of a 1988 biography, "The Ultimate Entrepreneur: The Story of Ken Olsen and Digital Equipment Corporation," by Glenn Rifkin and George Harrar.

Olsen was a major contributor to The Family, a secretive, political Christian organization • Kenneth H. Olsen Books

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (1908 - 1972) Congressman; born in New Haven. Powell (1908-72) fused a complex mix of temperament and tactics into a discomforting, loud leadership of racial protest that insistently exposed the gap between American principle and performance, argues Hamilton. Probing Powell's rise and fall, Hamilton moves from the 1930s, when Powell became a New York City councilman, to his service starting in 1945 as a U.S. Representative, and then to his chairing of the House Education and Labor Committee, his expulsion from the House in 1967, and his defeat at the polls in 1970. Hamilton's able analysis of the unapologetic, openly arrogant champion of civil rights reflects the race issues of the day within a prism of political theory focused on the conflict of basic American values like majority rule and minority rights. This book is essential for any serious collection on black biography, civil rights, or political analysis. Highly recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/91. • Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Books
Rosa Ponselle soprano, Meriden (January 22, 1897 – May 25, 1981), was an American operatic soprano. She sang mainly at the New York Metropolitan Opera and is generally considered by music critics to have been one of the greatest sopranos of the past 100 years.

She was born Rosa Ponzillo on January 22, 1897, in Meriden, Connecticut, the youngest of three children. The family lived on the city's west side in a neighborhood chiefly populated by immigrants from the south of Italy, first at the corner of Lewis Avenue and Bartlett Streets, then on Foster Street, where Ponselle was born, moving when she was three to Springdale Avenue. Her parents were Italian Neapolitan immigrants. Rosa had an exceptionally mature voice at an early age and, at least in her early years, sang on natural endowment with little, if any, vocal training. Instead, her early prowess as a piano student (which was cultivated by a local music teacher, Anna Ryan, the organist of a nearby Catholic church), seemed to incline Rosa to instrumental rather than vocal music. But with the influence and example of her older sister, Carmela, who was then pursuing a career as a cabaret singer, Rosa began to augment her engagements as a silent-movie accompanist in and around Meriden by singing popular ballads to her audiences while the projectionist changed film reels. • Rosa Ponselle Books • Rosa Ponselle Discography

Benjamin Spock pediatrician, New Haven Benjamin McLane Spock (May 2, 1903 – March 15, 1998) was an American pediatrician whose book Baby and Child Care, published in 1946, is one of the biggest best-sellers of all time. Its revolutionary message to mothers was that "you know more than you think you do."

Spock was the first pediatrician to study psychoanalysis to try to understand children's needs and family dynamics. His ideas about childcare influenced several generations of parents to be more flexible and affectionate with their children, and to treat them as individuals, whereas the previous conventional wisdom had been that child rearing should focus on building discipline, and that, e.g., babies should not be "spoiled" by picking them up when they cried.

In addition to his pediatric work, Spock also won an Olympic gold medal in rowing in 1924 while attending Yale University. • Benjamin Spock Books

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 - 1896) Author of Uncle Tom's Cabin ; born in Litchfield. Harriet Beecher Stowe, daughter of a preacher, married to a poor Biblical scholar, and mother of nine, had the early good fortune of an education at a school founded by her feminist older sister. To help support her family, Stowe began to write. In 1851, born of evangelical outrage against slavery, her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin made her famous. Today the very name conveys white paternalism and black passivity, but Hedrick points out that this unfairly ignores the "freedom narrative" of a book that had an electrifying effect on the abolitionist cause. When Abraham Lincoln met Stowe in 1862 he joked, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war." Hedrick's illuminating biography of this remarkable woman won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize.• Harriet Beecher Stowe Books
  Noah Webster (1758 - 1843) Author of the first dictionary published in 1807; from West Hartford. Noah Webster is known chiefly as the original standard-bearer of "American" English. His speller has sold hundreds of millions of copies over the years, his dictionary achieved nothing short of a complete transformation of the way Americans wrote the language, and his elementary school curriculum was for 100 years the foundation of American education.

This ambitious biography expertly unpacks an astoundingly rich life--Webster was a true renaissance man who, beyond his landmark work in lexicography, was also a tireless social reformer, lawyer, and champion . Through the lens of this singularly American figure, author Harlow Unger renders an engaging portrait of the United States as an energetic and troubled young country, when the nation was fragile and its future unclear. • Noah Webster Books