May Sunday Series to focus on Kent’s Village life

May Sunday Series to focus on Kent’s Village life

The Kent Historical Society is hosting the third of our series, Our Town: The Village, A Look at “Urban” Life in Kent May 20 at 2 p.m. in Kent Town Hall.

During March, we had a lively, interactive discussion about the once thriving dairy industry in Kent. Many local farmers came to share their memories and swap poignant stories about farming with an intrigued audience, some of whom knew little about the subject. We hope for the same interaction with this next subject.

Do you remember life along Main Street in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s? It was a vibrant place, with a mixture of homes and businesses. Today, many of our unique Main Street businesses struggle for survival, and we want you all to come join in the conversation about The Village – share your own memories and talk about how to keep it healthy and happy. With your help, it will be as fun and exciting as the first two. Join Us!

Kent Town Hall, May 20th at 2:00pm

Award of Merit honors The Founders Exhibit

Award of Merit honors The Founders Exhibit

The Connecticut League of History Organizations (CLHO) bestowed upon the Kent Historical Society an Award of Merit for their exhibition “The Founders of Kent: Starting from Scratch on the Colonial Frontier.”

So often, local histories are told through the lives of just the main players. This exhibit was unusual in that its focus was on the families and their daily lives as they struggled to establish our Town of Kent which was on the edge of a real wilderness.

“The committee was most impressed by the exhibit’s topic of founding families and how Kent has grown since the Colonial era. Its design is easy to follow and understand, while offering content that is engaging. This project is clearly dedicated to sharing the history of Connecticut with the public.”

Marge Smith, the Society’s Curator, said it was gratifying for her to see her personal vision presented and receive honors.

“We were thrilled to have our hard work and creativity in this exhibit achieve this recognition,” Smith said. “This was a personal project of mine, but it came to fruition because of the energetic participation of many people; including NWCT Community Foundation, The Kent Lions Club, The Kent Barns, Guest Curator Susan Shepard of Woodbury, KHS Board Member Jeffrey Morgan, Historical Consultant Sarah Griswold as well as Sue Lopardo and her great KHS Docent Team. Also included in the success are the KHS Board Members who hosted a wonderful preview party, and Stephanie Plunkett and Melanie Marks who wrote enthusiastic letters of support for the Award nomination. Thank you to all who helped make this happen!”

Congratulations Marge and all who worked so hard!

Summer Art Enrichment Registration

Register Below With Payment link

Select session (either member or nonmember) and Click add to cart. Scroll to bottom for checkout.

[wp_eStore_fancy2 id=84][wp_eStore_fancy2 id=85][wp_eStore_fancy2 id=86][wp_eStore_fancy2 id=87][wp_eStore_fancy2 id=99][wp_eStore_fancy2 id=89][wp_eStore_fancy2 id=101][wp_eStore_fancy2 id=100][wp_eStore_fancy2 id=102][wp_eStore_fancy2 id=97][wp_eStore_cart]

Seven Hearths Revealed Party

Seven Hearths Revealed Party Tickets

The Kent Historical Society invites all to an evening celebrating our beloved 18th century home and museum. Please join us for the Seven Hearths Revealed party Saturday, April 21 at 6 pm.

Reserve your tickets to the Seven Hearths Revealed Party, by filling out the form below and selecting which ticket package you prefer. Tickets will be held at the door.

Tour Seven Hearths, view George Laurence Nelson’s artwork and more!  Enjoy wine, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and celebrate spring with fellow KHS supporters, history buffs and friends.

See our Supporters

There will also be a silent auction of original artwork created by local artists. Proceeds go to the George Laurence Nelson Scholarship.

If you have any questions, email Thank you!

[wp_eStore_fancy2 id=71][wp_eStore_fancy2 id=72][wp_eStore_fancy2 id=73][wp_eStore_fancy2 id=74][wp_eStore_fancy2 id=75][wp_eStore_cart]


Thanks to all for their support during 2017!

Thanks to all for their support during 2017!


The Kent Historical Society Board of Trustees welcomes each and every gift in support of the organization’s annual operating costs.

Your support helps protect our past and ensures that future generations will have access to important information about our town.

Take a look at what we’ve accomplished during recent years, thanks to support from people like you:

  • Created a climate-controlled storage area to protect the artwork of 20th century artist George Laurence Nelson
  • Celebrated the founders of Kent with an exhibit that documented the people who started the town and explored life in the 1700s.
  • Explored our town’s historic heritage with a 7-house tour focused on Colonial homes in and around Kent Hollow.
  • Offered educational lectures in our 2017 Sunday Series that explored topics related to the beginning years of the town, including food, religion, land divisions and the first inhabitants of the town.
  • Refurbished the Seven Hearths Museum exterior with new clapboard siding and painting.


In 2018, we are launching a year-long program called A Sense of Community: Kent at mid-20th Centurywhich will explore life in our town, including growing up or moving to Kent, farming and the Village, as described by your neighbors in exhibits, lectures and conversations. We hope you will attend and/or participate.

Thank you to everyone who has already donated or renewed their membership since our fiscal year began Oct. 1, 2017! Your support makes a difference and is deeply appreciated.

For others, please consider supporting the Kent Historical Society through a gift.


SSL site seal - click to verify

A look at ‘Kent Back Then’ in the mid-20th Century

A look at ‘Kent Back Then’ in the mid-20th Century

The award-winning curator of the Kent Historical Society (as well as the Sharon Historical Society), Marge Smith will take a nostalgic look at Kent life in the mid-20th century, including farming, the village, moving to Kent, and the role that three private schools have played in the town’s life.

“Kent Back Then” will be presented by the Kent Historical Society, as part of its Sunday Series lectures in the Kent Town Hall Sunday, January 21, at 2 p.m.

Advertisement from 1956 Kent Good Times Dispatch

The depth and breadth of Ms. Smith’s knowledge of Kent is the backbone of the Kent Historical Society, and in this interactive discussion with the audience, she will link the past with today using a series of images and old advertisements from Kent’s iconic local newspaper – The Kent Good Times Dispatch, known fondly as The GTD. In its heyday, The GTD had its finger firmly on the pulse of the town, with reporters submitting stories from every corner of town. So, search your memory banks and plan to join us for a fun afternoon.


This Sunday Series lecture inaugurates the theme for the Historical Society’s 2018 events, “Our Town: A Sense of Community in the Mid-20th Century.” One goal for the year will be to celebrate the memories of those who lived through the dramatic changes that took place in Kent before and after World War II.

The Kent Historical Society sponsors the Sunday Series in March, May, July, September, and November. Free admission for members; $5 suggested donation for non-members.

For more information please call 860-927-4587.

Holiday House Tour Showcases Historic Homes

Holiday House Tour Showcases Historic Homes

The Kent Historical Society will feature a Historic Holiday House Tour in December to showcase seven historic homes in Kent, CT.

This vintage image of a historic house in South Kent is one of the homes that will be open to the public for the Kent Historical Society’s Holiday Historic House Tour Dec. 10 from noon to 4:30 p.m.

“We are fortunate in Kent to have several Colonial-era buildings (18th Century) that articulate the difference in scale, character and construction that were characteristic of early Connecticut upland vernacular architecture. Many of these houses have been ‘accumulative. as they have seen 19th, 20th and 21st century additions and alterations.  Some retain most of their early fabric and others have evolved over time,” said Bruce Whipple, who is a member of the society’s Board of Trustees and serves as treasurer for the organization.

The tour will take place Sunday, Dec. 10 from noon to 4:30 p.m. Advance tickets are available for $45 online and at the Heron Gallery, Kent Wine & Spirit, and the Kent Town Clerk’s Office. The price jumps to $60 on the day of the tour, so be sure to get your tickets early!

Whipple had the idea for this fundraiser in part due to his own interest in historic architecture and he knew that others would also enjoy seeing what Kent has to offer.

“We knew that patrons would be interested in visiting several homes and seeing them in their current uses.  Each house has a distinct sense of their owner’s tastes and we were pleased that seven families agreed to open their homes for a charitable cause,” Whipple said. “These homes will not disappoint realtors, designers, builders, historians or everyday visitors who come.”

Many of the homes are located in the Kent Hollow section of town. One house is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The fun will begin that day at the Swift House, located at 12 Maple Street (also known as Route 341), where day-of tickets may be purchased and ticket holders will be able to get a map to the homes with a brief description of them. The Swift House will be open from 11 a.m. through the afternoon.

Afterwards, everyone participating is invited to gather back at Swift House to share festive beverages at the wassail bowl.

“The cocktail punch reception that will follow at the Swift House will allow patrons a chance to meet and compare their reactions to what they saw during their visits,” Whipple said.

Proceeds from the event will be used by the Kent Historical Society for its operating budget. Our mission is to collect, preserve, interpret and present the rich history of Kent, as well as to provide educational and research material to enrich the public understanding of Kent’s artistic and cultural heritage.  For more information, call 860-927-4587.


Giving thanks for our volunteers

Giving thanks for our volunteers

The Kent Historical Society would like to acknowledge those who generously helped us with their time and services during the 2017 calendar year. As a small non-profit, we depend on those who share their time with the organization because this allows us to continue to provide events, exhibitions and programming to the community of Kent and the region.

Our thanks to all of you!

Seven Hearths Museum Docents

  • Sue Lopardo, volunteer coordinator
    Curator Marge Smith
    Guest Curator Susan Shepard
    Seven Hearths conservator Jeffrey Morgan
    Catherine Bachrach
    Darlene Brady
    Deb Chabrian
    Karen Chase
    Melissa Cherniske
    Anne and Mike Everett
    Heather Forstmann
    Fran Goodsell
    Lara Hanson
    Rick Levy
    Charlotte Lindsey
    Karina O'Meara
    Linda Palmer
    Ellen Paul
    Jennie Rehnberg
    Jann Tanner
    Lisa Weinblatt
    Bruce Whipple
    Lynn Worthington


  • Austi Brown
  • Melissa Cherniske
  • Mike Everett
  • Deb Chabrian
  • Kent Freeman
  • Roger Gonzales
  • Jeffrey Morgan
  • Chris Naples
  • Guy Peterson
  • Bruce Whipple
  • Lynn Worthington

Seven Hearths in Bloom volunteers

  • Deborah Chabrian, co-chair
  • Jeffrey Morgan, co-chair
  • Melissa Cherniske
  • Mike Everett
  • Kent Freeman
  • Roger Gonzales
  • Adriana Martinez
  • Ed Martinez
  • Marge Smith
  • Lyn Stirnweiss
    Brian Thomas
  • Kate Vick
  • James Vick
  • Michael Ward
    Bruce Whipple
    Lynn Worthington
  • J.P. Gifford Market and Catering Company
  • Kent Greenhouse and Garden Center
  • Kent Wine & Spirit
  • Tepoz Tequila

GLN Art Scholarship contributing artists

  • Scott Bricher
  • Deb Chabrian
  • Mike Everett
  • Susan Grisell
  • Bob Lenz
  • Ed Martinez
  • Richard Stalter

Other Volunteers and Contributors...

  • Ky Anderson
  • Sarah Bacon
  • Michael Benjamin
  • Berkshire Taconic Foundation
  • Diane Blick
  • Darlene Brady
  • Christine Branson
  • Austi Brown
  • Kevin Capobianco
  • Patti Case
  • Michael John Cavallaro
  • Zanne    Charity
  • Aiden Cherniske
  • Darrell Cherniske
  • Bonnie Jo Cheron
  • CT Humanities
  • Bobbie  Davis
  • Davis IGA
  • Caroline DeVita
  • Don DeVita
  • Paul Everett
  • Fife ’n Drum
  • Bill Gawel
  • George-Ann Gowan
  • Dan Greenbaum
  • Linda Hall
  • Heron Gallery
  • Alice and Jim Hicks
  • Housatonic Valley Association
  • House of Books
  • Tony Iovino
  • John Gleason and Gleason Electric
  • Kent Barns
  • Kent Center School Wildlife Habitat Committee
  • Kent Coffee & Chocolate
  • Kent Greenhouse
  • Kent Land Trust
  • Kent Lions Club
  • Kent Memorial Library
  • Kent Wine & Spirits
  • Tom Key
  • Joan Larned
  • Kathi Lee
  • Connie Manes
  • Adriana Martinez
  • Alfred W. McCoy
  • Norm Mosher
  • Wendy Murphy
  • National Society Daughters of the Revolution
  • Northwest CT Community Foundation
  • Joanne Pappano
  • Frank Pierzga
  • Martin Podskoch
  • Christina Purcell
  • Catherine Rawson
  • Marel Rogers
  • Nancy Schaefer
  • Ira Smith/ Kent Wine and Spirit
  • Richard Stalter
  • Students from the Kent School
  • The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
  • The Marvelwood School
  • The Town of Kent
  • Paul Tines
  • Gail Tobin
  • Town Clerk's Office
  • Michael Ward
  • Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust
  • Susi Williams
  • John Worthington

Dwindling Empires “A Housatonic View”

Dwindling Empires
A Housatonic View

By Brian Thomas


Rumors of a possible Kent connection prompted us to get in touch with Alfred W. McCoy, a distinguished historian of US foreign policy and a 1964 graduate of Kent School. His latest book will be out in September 2017. It’s called In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, and it contains several passages highlighting his time in Kent. For example, in the acknowledgements he notes:

“Whenever I write, I am reminded of a deep debt to my high school English teacher, Bob Cluett, who gave a me both a love of this craft and the skills to pursue it.”

McCoy informed us that he returned to Kent for his 50th reunion in 2014, bringing his single shell for three days of rowing on the Housatonic, down to the Bull’s Bridge dam and back, pausing to take in the countryside and think a bit. He said, “Boarding schools in general, and Kent in particular, are transformative experiences. So, yes, Kent has personal meaning for me.”

Indeed, the introduction to his book, “ever-so modestly” titled “US Global Power and Me,” spells out some of that meaning. There, he says, “I was also privileged to attend schools that trained our future leaders, allowing me to observe firsthand the ethos that shaped those at the apex of American power, their character and worldview. For five years in the 1960s, I went to a small boarding school in Kent, Connecticut, that steeled its boys through relentless hazing and rigorous training for service to the state. Admiral Draper Kauffman (class of ’29), founder of the Navy’s underwater demolition teams (forerunner of the SEALs), was the father of a classmate. Cyrus Vance (class of ’35), the future secretary of state, was a commencement speaker. Sir Richard Dearlove (class of ’63), later head of Britain’s MI-6, was a year ahead of me. Countless alumni were known to be in the CIA. Through its defining rituals, this small school tried to socialize us into a grand imperial design of the kind once espoused by East Coast elites back when America was first emerging as a world power.”

Since his time in Kent, his scholarly work has had a significant worldly impact. After earning a Ph.D. in Southeast Asian history at Yale, he focused on Philippine political history and global opium trafficking. His first book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (published in 1972), sparked controversy when the CIA tried to block its publication. But after three English editions and translation into nine foreign languages, this study is now regarded as the “classic” work on the global drug traffic.

His more recent work on covert operations, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror (2006), explores the agency’s half-century history of psychological torture. A film based in part on that book, “Taxi to the Darkside,” won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2008. His 2012 study of this topic, Torture and Impunity, explores the political and cultural dynamics of America’s post 9/11 debate over interrogation.

The Philippines remains the major focus of his research. An investigation of President Marcos’s “fake medals,” published on page one of the New York Times (January 23, 1986) just weeks before the country’s presidential elections, contributed to the country’s transition from authoritarian rule. Analyzing the many coup attempts that followed, his 1999 book Closer Than Brothers (Yale) documents the corrosive impact of torture upon the Philippine military.

In Shadows of the American Century, he says, “Both family and school taught me that criticism was not only a right but a responsibility of citizenship. So it has been my role to observe, analyze, and, when I have something worth sharing, to write and sometimes to criticize.”

The KHS hasn’t escaped his critical eye. McCoy also said in his email, “Your message led me to your KHS website where I spent a profitable, pleasant half-hour learning a great deal about the town’s history… If you will forgive a suggestion, there seem to be two major lacunae on your coverage—the Schaghticoke people and the Kent School. Both, of course, have their complexities, but you might find a way to incorporate them into your website….” It’s a fair point, and this article is an attempt to begin filling in the gaps about the Kent School.