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Celebrating Women’s History in Connecticut

March is Women’s History Month, commemorating and honoring women’s contributions in American history. Here in Connecticut, numerous homegrown female trailblazers have left their mark in government, the arts, education, and more. 

About Women’s History Month

The first International Women’s Day was held on March 19, 1911, when millions of women and men across Europe gathered in the streets to demand fair wages and an end to gender discrimination. This day was later moved to March 8th after women in Russia were given the right to vote in 1917. 

Women’s History Month began as a local “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978 in Santa Rosa, California. The week of March 8th was selected to coincide with International Women’s Day. After successful lobbying, President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8th, 1980 as National Women’s History Week. Succeeding Presidents continued to proclaim a National Women’s History Week in March until 1987 when Congress passed a law designating March as “Women’s History Month.”

Connecticut Women’s Heritage Trail

From the first boarding school for women of color to the women who left their mark on the American Impressionist movement, Connecticut is filled with historic landmarks that honor Women’s contributions to America. And Delamar gives you the perfect home base from which to explore these sites with the whole family.

1) Hill-Stead Museum – Farmington

Set on 152 hilltop acres, this Colonial Revival-style house was designed by and home to Theodate Pope Riddle, one of the first female architects in America. The museum hosts an impressive collection of Impressionist art that was collected by Riddle and her parents on their trips to Europe. The collections include paintings by Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, James M. Whistler, and Mary Cassatt.

The site is also home to seasonal gardens, over three miles of stone walls and woodland trails, and a c.1920 sunken garden designed by landscape architect Beatrix Farrand. 

2) Harriet Beecher Stowe Center – Hartford 

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was an abolitionist and the author of over 30 books, but she is best remembered for her best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is home to Stowe’s home, as well as Victorian grounds and gardens. 

The museum explores her life and works but also holds regular programs that help visitors connect the social issues of the past — such as slavery and the role of women — to the present. 

3) Florence Griswold Museum – Old Lyme

You can admire American Impressionist Art at the former home of “Miss Florence” Griswold. Florence Griswold helped cultivate American Impressionism by turning her home into a boarding house and Old Lyme into a thriving artists’ colony. Over 135 American artists boarded in the Florence Griswold House from 1899 through the 1930s.

The museum has one of the best collections of American Impressionism, including works by Joseph and Anni Albers, Sol LeWitt, Walker Evans, and others who transformed American art in the 20th century. 

4) Bush-Holley House – Greenwich

At the turn of the 20th century, two influential women, Josephine Holley and later her daughter Constant, ran a boarding house at this very house for writers and Impressionist artists and helped to foster the artist colony of Cos Cob.

Among the early members were Childe Hassam, Ernest Lawson, Theodore Robinson, John Henry Twachtman, and J. Alden Weir. Today, the house hosts many important examples of American Impressionist works and celebrates the artists that once called it home. 

5) Prudence Crandall Museum – Canterbury

Prudence Crandall was a schoolteacher and activist who opened the nation’s first boarding school for young African American women right here in Connecticut. She was designated “Connecticut’s State Heroine” for the courage she showed in providing education for “young ladies of color” as she called them. 

Crandall and her students faced harassment and legal prosecution and eventually were forced to shut down due to mob violence, just 17 months after it first opened. While the museum is currently under renovation, we encourage you to plan a future visit to learn about the courageous history of its founder and students. 

Explore Women’s History in CT

Situated a few hours outside of NYC and Boston, Connecticut offers rich history through its beautiful landscapes and attractions. When you’re exploring the rich history of Women’s contributions in Connecticut, be sure to book your stay at a hotel that offers a convenient home base to your landmarks, but doesn’t compromise on luxurious details, comfort and COVID protocols. 

With three convenient and dog-friendly locations throughout Connecticut (Greenwich, Southport, and West Hartford), Delamar offers the best in gracious accommodations and convenience to historic sites for the whole family. Our partner, the New Britain Museum of American Art, is also holding a variety of in-person and virtual Women’s History Month events through March. We encourage you to check those out during your stay at our West Hartford hotel. 

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