Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Connecticut’s Old State House Explores the Diary of Gideon Welles - February 10 at Noon

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For Immediate Release
February 4, 2015
Contact: Chris Zaccaro
(860) 246-1553 ext. 116

Hartford, CT – Civil War historians and enthusiasts can celebrate Presidents’ Day a little early this year as Connecticut’s Old State House will explore the diary of Gideon Welles, the Connecticut native who served as Secretary of the Navy under President Abraham Lincoln. Professor J. Ronald Spencer, author and Associate Academic Dean Emeritus from Trinity College, will headline the next installment of Conversations at Noon entitled A Connecticut Yankee in Lincoln’s Cabinet: Gideon Welles’ Civil War Diary on Tuesday, February 10 at noon.

Welles is best remembered for his wartime diary which countless historians have drawn on since it was first published in 1911. Professor Spencer will discuss this important figure from the American Civil War and answer questions still asked today:

What distinguishes Welles's diary? Is the extensive information about Lincoln reliable? Are Welles' often caustic characterizations of other cabinet members, prominent politicians, and top army and navy officers fair and accurate?  

Following his talk, Professor Spencer will join a panel of experts that includes Dr. Matthew Warshauer, Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University and author of Connecticut in the American Civil War: Slavery, Sacrifice and Survival, and Paula Hopewell from the Lincoln Forum for a lively discussion on the war, Welles and his famous diary. The Connecticut Network’s (CT-N) Diane Smith will moderate the discussion and take questions and comments from the audience.

The program is free, begins at noon and is open to the public.

What’s Coming Up at Connecticut’s Old State House?
January’s installment of Conversations at Noon, To Protest or Not to Protest? Activist Lessons from the Career of William Sloane Coffin, Jr., which was postponed due to the Blizzard of 2015, will now take place on Tuesday, February 24 at noon.

Dr. Warren Goldstein, author of William Sloane Coffin, Jr.: A Holy Impatience will discuss the life and work of civil rights & anti-Vietnam War activist, Minister William Sloane Coffin, Jr. After his talk he will be joined by Debra Cohen of Activate CT and Jon Mueller from the University of Hartford for a panel discussion on protests past and present. CT-N’s Diane Smith will moderate the discussion.

This event is co-sponsored with Connecticut Explored. Like the February 10th program, this installment of Conversations at Noon is free and open to the public.

Located in Hartford, a short walk from the Wadsworth, Connecticut’s Old State House served as a seat of government for the Constitution State from 1796 to 1878. The Old State House Shop, located on the Main Street side of the building, provides visitors an opportunity to purchase great, quality-made Connecticut and Hartford themed gifts, products and apparel. The interactive History is All Around Us exhibition by the Connecticut Historical Society, located in the Mortensen Gallery of the lower level of the Old State House, allows visitors to explore over 300 years of Hartford and Connecticut history. For more information on admission prices, upcoming events and parking discounts nearby, become a fan of Connecticut’s Old State House on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or visit us online at