As a historian, Richard Franklin Donohue presents historical programs throughout the region.  Please scroll down to review his offerings and upcoming presentations.    Fees vary depending on the specific program, perfromance time, and distance travelled.  Mr. Donohue writes an article on Cromwell history called Rosetown Review which appears monthly in the Cromwell Life newspaper.  Links to past installments may be found on this page.  


This forty-minute program features a collection of “New Songs” and Hymns published in Connecticut during the American Revolution.  From the time of the Stamp Act through the British surrender at Yorktown, Connecticut’s seditious colonists used these works to foment rebellion, commemorate victory, and give thanks for preservation.   Richard Franklin Donohue, Tenor & Harpsichord, will explore this fiery repertoire that in the words of John Adams “cultivated the sensations of Freedom.”

This program has been presented at the Granby Public Library ~ 

Upcoming Dates:

Friday, November 8, 2024 at 7:30 - Canterbury Historical Society

This program begins with Gregorian chant from the 10th century and closes with music from the height of the Victorian era.  Mr. Donohue accompanies himself with several musical instruments including a medieval hand drum, baroque recorders, and a spinet harpsichord.  Each carol is introduced and explained and a printed program with translations is provided to the hosting organization for distribution to the audience.  

Cantica Nativitatis has been presented in the following places:

Covenant Living, Cromwell, Connecticut ~ Granby Public Library, Granby, Connecticut ~ Hall Memorial Library, Ellington, Connecticut ~  Manchester Public Library, Manchester, Connecticut ~  Chester Public Library, Chester, Connecticut ~Palmer House, Stonington, Connecticut ~ Naugatuck Historical Society, Naugatuck, Connecticut ~ Creamery Brook, Brooklyn, Connecticut ~ Caterbury Historical Society ~ Addison Place, Glastonbury ~ The Ivy at Ellington ~ Ashlar Village ~ The Residence At Glastonbury ~ The Mystic & Noank Library, Mystic ~ Stonebridge Retirement, Mystic ~ Colebrook Village, Hebron ~ 

2024 Dates:






From a gracious audience member in Manchester last year:

Richard Donohue performed superbly, even transcendently. He presented a beautiful blend of familiar and unfamiliar selections evoking many different times and places, deftly handling half a dozen languages -- Latin, French, German, Middle English, even Basque (!!) -- and introducing several selections beyond what we typically hear at Christmas. His magnificent voice adapted effortlessly to each style of music -- from the rousing "Cantique de Noël" (O Holy Night), to a tender, heart-melting 16th-century lullaby to the Infant Jesus, to two jaunty wassail songs where he invited the audience of join in on the chorus. I think some of this new music is destined to become new favorites in my family. Today (the day after) I can't stop humming and singing the chorus of one of the wassails we heard last night!     

But it wasn't just a fabulous concert. Donohue gave an introduction to each piece that was a perfect blend of erudition and accessibility.   Piece by piece, he wove a narrative of Christmas celebrations throughout the centuries. It was a wide-ranging historical presentation that moved seamlessly across eras and that left you, at the end, with the sense that you understood all of history and all of humanity better. But the history wasn't only intellectually interesting -- it felt deeply personal and invited us to contemplate our own place in history and our connection with all who have gone before us in celebrating Christmas. 

I'm not sure whether to rate Donohue's scholarship, delivery and audience rapport, or musicianship more highly! He did an amazing job blending the highest order of all three, and I hope you'll have him back again and again for more presentations.


The World War One Memorials of Connecticut

This program has been presented throughout Connecticut in the following venues:

Cromwell Historical Society ~ Berlin Historical Society ~ East Lyme Historical Society ~ Andover Public Library ~ Branford Historical Society ~ Bridgewater Public Library ~ Covenant Living of Cromwell ~ Derby Historical Society ~ Derby Public Library ~ East Hartford Public Library ~ Ellington Public Library ~ Essex Meadows ~ Glastonbury Historical Society ~ Goshen Public Library ~ Manchester Public Library ~ Mansfield Public Library ~ Norwalk Historical Society - Southington Historical Society ~ Pomperaug Woods (Southbury) ~ Lutheran Home (Southbury) ~ Watermark East Hill ~ The Village at South Farms, Middletown ~ Granby Public Library ~ Evergreen Woods, North Branford ~ Salmon Brook Historical Society ~ Creamery Brook, Brooklyn ~ Atria, Waterford ~             The Hearth at Glastonbury ~ Old Lyme Historical Society ~ Naugatuck Historical Society ~ Westbrook Historical Society ~    Brooklyn Historical Society ~ Addison Place, Glastonbury ~ 

Upcoming Dates:



The Town of iron toys:

the mechanical banks of the J.&E. Stevens Company


The Town of Iron Toys has been presented throughout the region in the following venues: Cromwell Historical Society ~ Covenant Living of Cromwell ~ Village at South Farms. Middletown ~Atria, Stamford~ Evergreen Woods, North Branford~ Village Gate of Farmington~ River Valley Retirement, Trumbull ~  Willington Historical Society ~ Crescent Point, Niantic ~ Woodbury Public Library ~ Stratford Public Library ~ Manchester Public Library ~ Creamery Brook, Brooklyn ~ Rockville Public Library ~ Granby Public Library  ~Slater Library, Jewett City ~ Canterbury Historical Society ~ Masonicare at Ashlar Village, Wallingford ~ Kent Historical Society ~ Richard Storrs Library, Long Meadow, MA ~ South Hadley Public Library ~ Old Lyme Historical Society ~ Andover Public Library~ Granville Public Library, Granville, MA ~ Simsbury Public Library ~ Addison Place, Glastonbury ~ East Hampton Historical Society ~ Enfield Public Library ~ East Lyme Historical Society ~ East Providence Public Library ~ Derby Public Library ~ Newtown Historical Society ~ Dudley Farm, Guilford ~ Scranton Memorial Library, Madison ~ 

 Upcoming Dates: 



Topics in Cromwell History

Survey Of Cromwell History done in a FAQ fashion 

 Cromwell and the Civil War

 Hallowed Ground- A virtual tour of Cromwell’s Historic Hillside Cemetery with biographies

 Building Cromwell:  a virtual house tour based on a soon to be completed audio tour

 Rosetown Review: a collection of Historic stories

What's In A Name: The origin of the name Cromwell


ROsetown Review

Monthly articles published in the Cromwell Life

CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINKS TO READ THE FOLLOWING ROSETOWN REVIEWS:

AN EPIDEMIC OF IMPORTANCE: THE SPANISH INFLUENZA IN CROMWELL

IN HONOR OF THOSE WHO WENT FORTH: CROMWELL'S WORLD WAR MEMORIAL

THE ROSETOWN: CROMWELL'S SCENTS OF PLACE

MISS PIERSON'S FIGHT FOR SUFFRAGE

THE SAGE MYSTERY: CROMWELL'S TALE OF INTERNATIONAL INFAMY

PATRIOT'S CORNER ON STOCKING'S TRIANGLE

THE WOMEN'S RELIEF CORPS HOME

A GENTLEMAN SAILOR WITH A MIND TO MAKE HIS FORTUNE

THE EDUCATION OF WILLIAM REDFIELD

BUILDING CROMWELL: THE ITALIANATES OF MAIN STREET 

SUCH OBJECTS OF BENEVOLENCE: THE LADIES SEWING SOCIETY OF NORTHWEST CROMWELL

LAYING THE CORNERSTONE: THE ZEBULON CROCKER BUILDINGS

THE TOWN OF IRON TOYS: THE MECHANICAL BANKS OF THE J & E STEVENS COMPANY

BECAUSE THEY PREACHED HELL SO MUCH: THE BAPTIST CHURCH IN CROMWELL

A PARISH BY AND OF THEMSELVES: CROMWELL'S COMMUNITY OF FAITH

A SENSE OF PLACE: GOODRICH HEIGHTS

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE: CROMWELL HIGH SCHOOL

CAPTAIN ABIJAH SAVAGE: CINCINNATUS OF THE UPPER HOUSES

THE BARBER AND THE BLIND TIGER

RATHER PIRATICAL: THE DEVIL'S BLOWHOLE

THE SCHOOLBOY & THE SOLDIER

HAL MCINTYRE: THE CROMWELL BOY WITH BIGTIME TALENT

THE QUARRY HOLE: THE PUTRID PAST OF PIERSON PARK

HALLOWED GROUND: THE CEMETERIES OF HILLSIDE ROAD

BULKLEY EDWARDS: THE ULTIMATE CROMWELLIAN

A SENSE OF PLACE: WHERE THE STREETS HAVE OLD NAMES

A MOST BEAUTIFUL PROSPECT

FOR THE MATERIAL AND MORAL BENEFIT OF THE TOWN

HALLOWED GROUND: THE OLD BURYING GROUND

FROM SAIL TO STEAM: THE GOLDEN AGE OF RAILROAD IN CROMWELL

A BUG FOR FLYING

THE FRIENDS OF TEMPERANCE

JOSEPH SMITH: FIRST NOBILITY OF THE UPPER HOUSES

THE RANNEY MULTIGENITURE