Wed May 17, 2017 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Spirit of 1776/1917: Town and Gown Prepare for War
Sponsored by: New Haven Museum
On the evening of August 27, 1917, 50,000 Connecticut residents filed into the recently constructed Yale Bowl for a “Farewell Program” for 4,000 soldiers of the 102nd Regiment heading off to fight in France. That night the walls between city and university dissolved in a way unseen before or since. Together, under the twinkling lights—the first ever electrified evening event at the Yale Bowl—the crowd’s cheers nearly drowned out the blare of the unit’s brass band. New Haven residents and Yale students alike comprised the newly formed 102nd. Months later, during the first U.S. engagement of World War One (WWI), more men from New Haven would die together in one day than in in any other battle of the 20th century. On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, at 5:30 pm, author Laura A. Macaluso, Ph.D. will bring this pivotal period of Elm City history to life during a presentation entitled “The Spirit of 1776/1917: Town and Gown Prepare for War” at the New Haven Museum. Admission is free.
Recognized locally as the guest curator of the recent New Haven Museum exhibit, “An Artist at War: Deane Keller, New Haven’s Monuments Man,” Macaluso will include in her lecture information from her recently published book, “New Haven in World War I,” which was endorsed by the World War One Centennial Commission in Washington, D.C. A book signing will follow.
Macaluso notes that New Haven was a hive of wartime activity during WWI. The city hummed with munition production from the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, while food conservation campaigns, canning kitchens and book drives contributed to the war effort. Meanwhile, Walter Camp, father of American football, whipped recruits and city residents into shape with his fitness programs. The Knights of Columbus were also busy preparing their “Everyone Welcome! Everything Free!” huts. And one hero, a brown and white dog known as Sgt. Stubby, first made his appearance. “For a time, World War One transformed the city and university into a cohesive team, healing old wounds,” she says. “But,” she adds, “Just as peace did not last on the national stage, eventually erupting into WWII, peace did not last in New Haven, either.”
Macaluso holds degrees in art history and the humanities from Southern Connecticut State University, Syracuse University, in Italy, and Salve Regina University. She has worked as a grants writer and curator in historic sites, museums, art, and park organizations. She held a Fulbright at the Swaziland National Museum in 2008-2009, and returned in 2010 under an Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation award from the State Department. Her writings include “Historic Treasures of New Haven: Celebrating 375 Years of the Elm City,” and “Art of the Amistad and the Portrait of Cinqué.” She contributes to a number of periodicals and scholarly journals, including “Connecticut Explored,” “Material Culture,” “The International Society for Landscape, Place, and Material Culture,” and “Nineteenth Century,” among others.
In a related event, on Wednesday, May 24, from 3 to 7 p.m., New Haven Museum will host a statewide effort to help preserve WWI history, hosting the Connecticut State Library’s “Remembering World War One” Digitization Day. During the event, which is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, area residents can bring in their WWI photos, letters, and keepsakes to the museum, where they will be photographed or scanned by Connecticut State Library staff for inclusion in the public record.
- Admission: free
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