Gregg Mangan has performed an amazing feat with On This Day in Connecticut History. I’m not just saying so because the entries include the birth of Great-Aunt Anna Louise James on January 19. I learned of the book when I met Gregg at the Connecticut Library Association conference where Connecticut Humanities was giving a presentation across the hall from where Christy and I were talking about the veterans’ writing workshop.
Like Women in Clothes, On This Day is a book to dip into. Unlike the former, it is eminently readable cover to cover. I plan to do both.
The three-hundred-sixty-five entries (no leap year) capture the yin and yang of this tiny state: hostile and friendly relations with Native Americans; conflicted feelings about the Civil War; clean politics (non-resident Abraham Lincoln) and dirty (now twice con ex-gov John Rowland).
This is a book for young people to learn about the big stuff of the Charter Oak and the Amistad incident and for the rest of us to become acquainted or re-acquainted with L’Ambiance Plaza, the orphanage that became a world-class university, Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller, and Mrs. Connecticut Courant Hannah Watson, one of the first newspaper publishers in the country.