Popular scholarly series looks at the Industrial Revolution

The scholarly series presented by the Wilton Historical Society and Wilton Library has delved into a number of historical subjects over the years, including Abraham Lincoln, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and the War of 1812. The seventh installment of the series will focus on another major milestone of our nation’s growth with American Made: The Industrial Revolution in Connecticut.

Five programs over the next two years will look at this period of time, beginning with Leaving Connecticut, Shaping America: Walter Woodward, on Sunday, Feb. 9, from 4 to 5:30 at the library, 137 Old Ridgefield Road.

Mr. Woodward, state historian, will explore how tens of thousands of Nutmeggers left the state between 1780 and 1830 to find a new life in places like Pennsylvania, Vermont, western New York, and the Connecticut Reserve of what is now Ohio. Who left, why they left, and what they left behind will be part of the discussion.

Next up is The Erie Canal, a Mule Named Sal, and the Industrialization of America: Ann Greene on Sunday, Feb. 23, 4 to 5:30 at the historical society, 224 Danbury Road.

Dr. Greene, who is on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of History and Sociology of Science, will discuss the history of the canal and its effect on the energy and environmental history of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Rise and Fall of the Connecticut Textile Industry: Jamie Eves, will be presented Sunday, March 2, 4 to 5:30, at the historical society.

Shortly after the American Revolution, the first textile mills appeared in Connecticut, mass producing thread and cloth. By the 1830s the textile industry was in full swing, and Connecticut — along with the rest of southern New England — was a major player in the American Industrial Revolution. Dr. Eves, executive director of the Windham Textile and History Museum, will discuss how the industry reached its height here in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but then declined, and its effect on other industries here.

Led by the U.S. Springfield Armory, the Connecticut Valley became America’s first high-tech industrial corridor, the subject of Silicon Valley of the 19th Century — Rediscovering the Connecticut Valley’s Industrial Heritage: William Hosley, Sunday, March 16, 4 to 5:30, at the library.

During that time, Connecticut helped change the way the world worked by turning out guns, typewriters, sewing machines, bicycles, automobiles, and more. Mr. Hosley, the principal of Terra Firma Northeast, is an independent scholar, cultural resource consultant, planner, writer, and photographer.

Author Charles Morris will lead the final lecture, The Dawn of Innovation, on Sunday, March 30, 4 to 5:30, at the historical society.

In the 30 years after the Civil War, the United States became the greatest economic power in world history, but the foundation of that growth was laid in the first half of the century by the New England cotton mills, the iron centers in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and the forges around the Great Lakes. Mr. Morris will look particularly at Connecticut’s own Eli Whitney.

The series is sponsored by Bankwell in Wilton, with individual sponsors for each lecture. Admission is free but donations are welcomed. Registration is essential. Visit wiltonlibrary.org or call 203-762-3950, ext. 213.