Connecticut Valley Tobacco lecture, book signing

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On Sunday, Nov. 4, 1 p.m., Salmon Brook Historical Society, in conjunction with Historic Sites of Connecticut’s Farmington Valley, will present a lecture and book signing with Brianna Dunlap, author of Connecticut Valley Tobacco. The presentation will be held at the Simsbury Historical Society’s Ellsworth Center at 800 Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury.

Local farmers have grown shade tobacco for cigars since the early 1800s. To this day, shade grown leaf from the valley is recognized as the finest cigar wrapper in the world. In this fascinating lecture, Dunlap will take you through the surprising history of the region’s iconic crop, from early Native American use, through the boom of the Civil War, the labor challenges during WWII and the post-war era, to the decline of the early 1950s, the resurgence in the 1990s and the state of the valley’s tobacco agriculture today.

Dunlap worked at the Connecticut Valley Tobacco Museum from 2013 to 2016. She graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a Masters in Public History in 2016. Connecticut Valley Tobacco is her Master’s project and a work meant for the public to enjoy. The book also features photography by Windsor native and well-known photographer Leonard Hellerman. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing at the lecture.

Admission is $5 per person. Proceeds from the lecture benefit Historic Sites of Connecticut’s Farmington Valley, whose mission is to enhance appreciation of the Farmington Valley’s rich history by promoting communication among heritage groups and offering unusual programs. For more information, contact Nancy Anstey at 860-680-5298 or