Yale History Professor Jay Gitlin, editor of Country Acres and Cul-De-Sacs: Connecticut Circle Reimagines The Nutmeg State, 1938-1952, will discuss the new book in a special talk on Saturday, March 9, at Hartford Public Library’s Hartford History Center, 500 Main Street, Hartford, from 2-4 pm. The talk is being held in partnership with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. Country Acres and Cul-De-Sacs was published by the Nutmeg Club, an organization devoted to promoting Connecticut history. Several club members contributed essays to the book. Country Acres and Cul-De-Sacs is largely composed of reprinted articles from Connecticut Circle, a magazine which was published from 1938-1970 (and later developed into Connecticut Magazine). However, Gitlin said he decided to concentrate on the magazine’s first 14 years, “not only because it featured many significant events, but also because, in this editor’s opinion, the magazine was at its best in its first decade and a half.”
Gitlin, an authority on the suburbanization of America, is also fascinated by Connecticut Circle’s efforts to promote Connecticut as the perfect escape for world-weary city folk, especially those from New York City. This rebranding of the state as a bucolic wonderland steeped in its colonial past was often at odds with the reality of a Connecticut which had become a highly commercialized and increasingly diverse industrial powerhouse by the time Connecticut Circle began in 1938. Gitlin’s talk on March 9 is free and open to the public. Copies of Country Acres and Cul-De-Sacs will be available for sale.