History Lecture Series: Gillette and Holmes: Theatrical Innovation from Connecticut to London and Back Again – Emily Gifford


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In this final lecture of the series, Emily Gifford will explore William Gillette, a colorful Connecticuter whose contributions to global popular culture have persisted for over a century. Gillette, from a prominent family in Hartford’s Nook Farm, enjoyed early success in the theater as an actor, playwright and director. He also made advances in sound effects and pioneered the use of new lighting technologies to enhance storytelling, such as the dramatic use of lighting blackouts. It was “his” Sherlock Holmes, however, which brought him the most recognition, as well as financial rewards. Gillette used some of his income to create a wonderfully eccentric castle overlooking the Connecticut River, a residence as ingenious as any Holmes could have imagined.

Emily Gifford is an independent historian, educated in Connecticut at Trinity College (BA), Yale Divinity School (MA), and Central Connecticut State University (MA).

The moderator is Steve Hudspeth. The program is sponsored by Phil Lauria and Elaine Tai-Lauria. This program is being hosted by Wilton Historical Society. A $10 donation to the hosting institution is suggested.

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The 2021 History Lecture Series

The History Lecture Series is an annual collaboration between the Wilton Library and the Wilton Historical Society. Each year a theme is developed, and respected scholars are engaged to provide a lively, thought-provoking talk on their specialty subject. The lecture is followed by a question and answer period and reception. Generous sponsors make it all possible; each lecture is individually sponsored.

‘Connecticut Creativity: Vision + Imagination + Inspiration’