While president of Aetna Life from 1879 to 1922, Morgan Bulkeley served four terms as mayor of Hartford, two terms as Connecticut's governor, and one term as a United States senator. His friends and business and political acquaintances were a who's who of the Gilded Age: Samuel Clemens, J. P. Morgan, Samuel and Elizabeth Colt, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, Albert Spalding, General Sherman, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Katherine Hepburn, as well as every president from Ulysses Grant to Warren Harding. In 1874 Bulkeley formed the Hartford Dark Blues who soon joined the unruly National Association, antecedent of the National League. He served as the league's first president for a year, and was later elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. It was during Bulkeley's controversial "holdover" term as governor that he earned the nickname "Crowbar Governor." He used a crowbar to remove a lock that had been placed on his office door after refusing to vacate the governor's chambers on a technicality. Written in classic storyteller fashion, and augmented by copious research, Crowbar Governor offers readers a privileged glimpse into life and politics in Connecticut during the Gilded Age.
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KEVIN MURPHY is an independent historian who lives in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. He is the author of Water for Hartford: The Story of the Hartford Water Works and the Metropolitan District Commission.
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