Celebrate Earth Day: Connecticut Walk Book


Earth Day is an opportunity to explore the rich natural world that we may take for granted in our day-to-day lives. In a time of social distancing, appreciating the outdoors has become more important than ever!

The Connecticut Forest & Park Association provides many great ways to get out and enjoy Connecticut. The CFPA maintains over 825 miles of trails that wind through state parks and forests, land trusts, town open space and across private land. Wesleyan University Press published the twentieth edition of The Connecticut Walk Book: The Complete Guide to Connecticut’s Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails. It is a comprehensive guide to blue-blazed trails that includes detailed, full color maps, mileage/destination tables, and a lay flat design for ease of use. The book is also offered as an e-book so you can have all the maps available on your favorite device when you’re out on the trail. The CFPA website also provides an interactive trail map, a great accompaniment to the book.

The Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System covers 825 miles of woodlands and offers spectacular views, fresh air, exercise, and tranquility. In addition, CFPA partners with Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to manage the James L. Goodwin Conservation Center, set among 2,000 acres of managed forest and wildlife habitats. The Center’s goal is to educate children and adults about conservation. Goodwin Forest is also home to the Haley Native Plant Wildlife Gardens, 1.5 ares of gardens of North American plants, as well as three large ponds for fishing, boating, and bird-watching, a picnic pavilion, and the Goodwin Nature Museum.

CFPA is a leader in state conservation efforts, working with leaders at all government levels to promote sound conservation laws in Connecticut. Those interested in volunteering with the CFPA in the future can sign up here. The website offers a portal in which you can sign up for volunteer opportunities and track your hours. People can also donate to the CFPA to support their conservation efforts and protect parks and forests throughout Connecticut.

“Public Figures” Revisited

The topic of monuments and memorialization of historical figures has been a point of contention in the United States. We recall the removal of confederate statues in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, resulting in retaliation from violent white supremacist groups. In more recent news, the removal of similar statues has swept the nation after the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Riah Milton, and Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells. As protests against police brutality occur in states across the nation, calls for the removal of statues that stand as symbols of racism and oppression have increased. Some monuments, such as one of Christopher Columbus in Boston and Thomas Jefferson in Portland, have been physically removed by frustrated people demanding a more accurate recognition of American history.

Many of these Civil War-related statues were erected long after the war, in the early 20th century. This fact might leave one to ponder, what was the intention of honoring Confederate military leaders in the early 20th century?

Jena Osman’s book Public Figures examines the monuments and statues of Philadelphia, pondering each statue’s literal “view” on the city as well as the embedded history within their creation and placement. As the book progresses, including photographs of various figures, the common theme remains of militarism and pride in the state. Regardless of the historical context of a statue, whether it be a Civil War soldier or a replica of a classical Greek statue, weaponry including guns, swords, spears, and grenades are attached to the hands and arms of these iron men. Many are dressed in military uniform, differentiating them from the civilian life of the passersby.

Osman ponders what we do and do not notice as we move about our lives. Does our oblivious walk past such statues parallel our nation’s ability to ignore the deadly work of state-sanctioned violence and indicate an implicit acceptance of our country’s racist history? What kind of message do statues symbolizing slave owners and colonizers send to communities of color? And why must these communities accept these statues looming over their daily lives?

When you next find yourself in a public space, take a look around at the monuments and art placed there. Ponder what the intended message is.

To learn more about Public Figures, check out our Reader’s Companion. Teachers might find these classroom exercises useful, including a research project for students to investigate their local “public figures.”



Spring has sprung: What are you doing for fun?

The sun is shining ever so radiantly, the morning breeze is just right, and if you are just as over the snow as I am, you are looking for any and every excuse to be outdoors. We have four insightful books that will cater to your favorite hobbies this Spring season. 

Fly Fishing 

In this beginner friendly guide to Fly Fishing in Connecticut , Kevin Murphy teaches novice anglers about the state’s trout hatcheries and stocking programs, the differences between brook, brown, and rainbow trout, and offers easy-to-follow instructions on the basics of fly fishing. In this concise text, the reader finds the essentials in fly fishing gear, stream tactics, casting, and a host of related topics. Whether you’re in the market for that first pair of waders, thinking of tuning up your casting technique, or just want to know where the fish are biting, this is the book to read.

KEVIN MURPHY is an independent historian and writer who lives in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. He is the author of Water for Hartford and Crowbar Governor.


How ’bout a Hike ? 

Lace up your boots and experience some of the best hiking in New England! The Connecticut Forest and Park Association (CFPA) maintains over 825 miles of Blue-Blazed Trails in Connecticut. The 20th edition of the Connecticut Walk Book  is a comprehensive guide to these trails, including detailed, full color maps, mileage/destination tables, and a lay flat design for ease of use. The Connecticut Walk Book also offers descriptions of the hikes with maps and trip-planning essentials.

THE CONNECTICUT FOREST AND PARK ASSOCIATION (CFPA) is the first private, nonprofit member-based organization established in Connecticut, and the founder and maintainer of over 825 miles of Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails.


Want to explore different neighborhoods in Connecticut and their histories?

Frog Hollow  is an ethnically diverse neighborhood just west of the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford. Its row houses have been home to inventors, entrepreneurs and workers, and it was one of the first neighborhoods in the country to experiment with successful urban planning models, including public parks and free education. From European colonists to Irish and Haitian immigrants to Puerto Ricans, these stories of Frog Hollow show the multiple realities that make up a dynamic urban neighborhood. Features 40 illustrations.

SUSAN CAMPBELL is the author of the memoir Dating Jesus and Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker.


Are you interested in experiencing rare bird sightings?  

Birding in Connecticut  ,by Frank Gallo, is the definitive guide to where, when and, how to find birds in the Constitution State. This guide provides synopsis of local weather and a host of tips to finding and identifying birds. It’s the first guide of its kind to offer QR code links to continually updated information on the occurrence and abundance of birds at each location. Includes color photos and maps.

FRANK GALLO is a tour leader for Sunrise Birding, LLC, an international birding tour company, is a member of the Connecticut Avian Rare Records Committee, and a federally licensed master bird bander.

Q & A with Mary Kathryn Nagle on Native Theater and YIPAP

Mary Kathryn Nagle contributed a powerful original essay to introduce Wesleyan’s new theater volume, Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light: A Play by Joy Harjo and a Circle of Responses. Her essay is entitled “Joy Harjo’s Wings: A Revolution on the American Stage.” Nagle explains how negative and demeaning representations of Native people in popular culture are not without consequence to Native people. She writes:

“Redface was purposefully created to tell a false, demeaning story. Redface constitutes a false portrayal of Native people—most often performed by non–Natives wearing a stereotypical ‘native’ costume that bears no relation to actual Native people, our stories, our struggles, or our survival in a country that has attempted to eradicate us. The continued dominant perception that American Indians are the racial stereotypes they see performed on the American stage is devastating to our sovereign rights to define our own identity. Of course, that’s why it was invented.”

Join Joy Harjo & Priscilla Page at the Yale Center for British Art, March 5, 4PM.

Nagle is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She currently serves as executive director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program (YIPAP)—who are sponsoring Joy Harjo and Priscilla Page’s visit to Yale on Tuesday, March 5th. She is also a partner at Pipestem Law, PC, where she works to protect tribal sovereignty and the inherent right of Indian Nations to protect their women and children from domestic violence and sexual assault. Curious to learn more about YIPAP, I asked Mary Kathryn some questions about the program, and Native theater in general. Here are her answers:

Q. How long has YIPAP been existence? Can you tell me a little about how the department came to be?
A. YIPAP was formed in 2015, following the performance of SLIVER OF A FULL MOON at Yale Law School. Professor Ned Blackhawk noted that several of the Native students were moved and inspired when they witnessed professional Native actors, alongside Native women survivors, sharing Native stories in a play. Because Native people hardly ever see authentic Native people on stage, this one performance was very impactful. Professor Blackhawk wanted to sustain this work and give students exposure to professional Native performing artists, while also assisting with the development of Native artists more broadly in the field. This is the work YIPAP has been dedicated to.

Q. What do you envision for YIPAP, moving forward?
A. We hope to expand our programing and partnerships in order to bring more Native artists to college campuses and tribal communities to work directly with youth.

Q. What would you like to say about “Native Theater” as a concept? Misconceptions? Relevancy? How long it’s actually been around? How is it different than Non-Native theater?
A. I think the biggest misconception today about Native theater is that somehow our stories do not appeal or are not relevant to non-Natives. Powerful stories are powerful stories. Good stories are good stories. Just like the stories of ALL of the other communities that comprise the United States today, our stories are universal in their humanity and always relevant to the issues everyone faces today.

Nagle has authored numerous briefs in federal appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court. She studied theater and social justice at Georgetown University as an undergraduate student, and received her JD from Tulane University Law School, where she graduated summa cum laude and received the John Minor Wisdom Award. She is a frequent speaker at law schools and symposia across the country. Her articles have been published in law review journals including the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Yale Law Journal (online forum), Tulsa Law Review, and Tulane Law Review, among others. Nagle is an alum of the 2012 Public Theater Emerging Writers Group, where she developed her play Manahatta in Public Studio (May 2014). Productions include Miss Lead  (Amerinda, 59E59, January 2014) and Fairly Traceable  (Native Voices at the Autry, March 2017). Upcoming productions include Arena Stage’s world premiere of Sovereignty, Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s world premiere of Manahatta, and others.


As the wind’s blowing outside, the first snow falls, and the winter solstice approaches, it’s time to crack open a bottle of maple syrup for those cold winter mornings.

Written in celebration of the sweet nectar, Maple Sugaring: Keeping It Real in New England by David K. Leff is a maple history and recipe book you don’t want to miss out on.

An essayist, poet, and former deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, David K. Leff is an expert on maple tapping in New England.

The book trailer can be found below:


Are you ready to get those griddles cooking? It’s National French Toast Day and at Wesleyan University Press, we’re celebrating with one of our favorite diners.

Irish Soda Bread French Toast and recipe found on pages 74-75 of Breakfast at O’Rourke’s.

Breakfast at O’Rourke’s: New Cuisine from a Classic American Diner by Brian O’Rourke is an innovative recipe book straight from the heart of Middletown, CT’s favorite hometown diner. Including four French Toast recipes, it’s time to get your butter, eggs, and sugar in a mixing bowl and bread slices ready.

The book trailer can be found below:

Announcing “Country Acres and Cul-de-Sacs”

Classic magazine captures New England state on the brink of transformation

In Country Acres and Cul-de-Sacs, Jay Gitlin revisits Connecticut’s dramatic mid-twentieth century changes, through the pages of Connecticut Circle magazine.

In 1938, the first year of its publication, Connecticut Circle magazine covered the opening of the Merritt Parkway in June, a devastating hurricane in September, and a transformative election in November that saw Raymond Baldwin replace Governor Wilbur Cross on the brink of WWII. Covering the news, recreation, literary figures, and politicians, and above all—the achievements and products of the state, Connecticut Circle entertained, promoted, and projected the image of a bustling state with more than its share of creative citizens and renowned institutions of higher learning.

Connecticut Circle cover

With an illuminating introduction and context-setting headnotes for its thirteen sections, this volume provides a wealth of fascinating articles for anyone seeking to reminisce, and understand the values that pushed Connecticut into the postwar world.

Jay Gitlin teaches history at Yale University. He is the author of The Bourgeois Frontier: French Towns, French Traders & American Expansion and co-author of Under an Open Sky: Rethinking America’s Western Past. He lives in North Branford, Connecticut.

December 3, 2018
328 pp., 9 x 12”
Paperback, $29.95 978-0-999-7935-0-3

Announcing “Connecticut Architecture” from The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation

The first comprehensive illustrated history of Connecticut architecture

“This is an exceptionally thoughtful and provocative book, one that offers insights into art and life that are often forgotten in aesthetics. A great book for anyone.”
—Duo Dickinson, author of A Home Called New England

Connecticut boasts some of the oldest and most distinctive architecture in New England, from Colonial churches and Modernist houses to refurbished nineteenth-century factories. In his guide to this rich and diverse architectural heritage, Connecticut Architecture: Stories of 100 Places Christopher Wigren introduces readers to 100 places across the state. Written for travelers and residents alike, the book features more than 200 illustrations and a glossary of architectural terms.

A project of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, the book reflects more than 30 years of fieldwork and research in statewide architectural survey and National Register of Historic Places programs.

Christopher Wigren is an architectural historian and Deputy Director of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation was established in 1975 to protect and promote buildings, sites, structures, and landscapes that contribute to the heritage and vitality of Connecticut communities.


Publication of this book is funded by the
Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.



296 pp., 211 illus. (171 color photos, 17 pierces of line art, 1 map) 9 x 10”

Cloth, $40.00



eBook, $32.99


#NationalBetterBreakfastMonth and #NationalPancakeDay

It’s September: a month for back-to-school, changing of the seasons, and breakfast! Nationally recognized as Better Breakfast Month, September is the perfect time to get your breakfast morning routine into shape. In addition to this, September 26th is National Pancake Day. Thankfully, Wesleyan University Press has a little inspiration to get you started.

Napoleon Pancakes and recipe found on pages 53-55 of Breakfast at O’Rourke’s.

Breakfast at O’Rourke’s: New Cuisine from a Classic American Diner by Brian O’Rourke is the perfect morning pick-me-up recipe book inspired by Irish-American and down-home diner specials found at O’Rourke’s Diner in Middletown, CT. Recipes include omelets, pancakes, French toasts, eggs, quiches and more!

The book trailer can be found below:

For those who are more of maple lovers, Maple Sugaring: Keeping It Real in New England by David K. Leff can help satisfy your sweet tooth with a multitude of maple-inspired recipes.

Announcing “The Listeners” by Roy R. Manstan

An untold story of scientists and engineers who changed the course of the Great War

“Mr. Manstan has captured a critical part of our nation’s history and role in preserving world peace by telling the story of those in the background whose toils and untold stories made it possible for a war-torn world to survive.”Dr. Peter “Skip” Scheifele, University of Cincinnati

Roy R. Manstan’s new book, The Listeners: U-boat Hunters During the Great War, details the struggle to find a solution to the unanticipated efficiency of the German U-boat as an undersea predator during World War I. Success or failure was in the hands and minds of the scientists and naval personnel at the Naval Experimental Station in New London, Connecticut. Through the use of archival materials, personal papers, and memoirs, The Listeners takes readers into the world of the civilian scientists, engineers and naval personnel who were directly involved with the development and use of submarine detection technology during the war.

Roy R. Manstan is the co-author of Turtle: David Bushnell’s Revolutionary Vessel and author of Cold Warriors: The Navy’s Engineering and Diving Support Unit. He lives in East Haddam, CT.



340 pp., 75 illus., 7 1/4 x 9 1/4”

Jacketed Cloth, $34.95



Ebook, $23.99


History / Military