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Danbury Researcher To Open Door Into 18th-Century Humor In Newtown Talk

Fran Hendrickson
Fran Hendrickson Photo Credit: Contributed

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Hundreds of years ago, comedians and writers were crafting entertaining jokes, according to Danbury resident and former longtime Newtown resident Fran Hendrickson.

Hendrickson plans to share her research into humor of centuries ago during her talk, “Oh, How We Laughed – Humor in the 18th Century,” which she plans to deliver at the C.H. Booth Library on March 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Though Hendrickson will deliver her audiovisual presentation in traditional 18th-century garb, she plans to play the role of teacher and not comedian. Her presentation will include a range of anecdotes that were funny in the 1800s and are still entertaining today. “I think there’s something for everyone,” Hendrickson said.

The talk will focus on humor at a time when artists were less concerned with political correctness. Great satirists Hogarth and Gilray published scenes of of debauchery that were widely enjoyed. Since then, humor has become more tame, in some ways, she said.

Hendrickson, who previously served as coordinator of the Danbury Senior Center, has researched the 18th century since 1976. During her time researching other aspects of that time period, she came across humorous anecdotes. She wants others to enjoy them, too.

“I’m mostly an educator, and I like to share what I learned,” Hendrickson said.

She has also delivered talks about 18th-century shopping and dance. She plans to deliver a talk on 18thcentury clothing later this spring.

While those in the 18th century may not have enjoyed modern conveniences, Hendrickson said those who lived during that time enjoyed an enlightened life.

“People wouldn’t believe it, they would say, ‘Oh well, it was back in the olden times,’ but the olden times were pretty amazing,” Hendrickson said.

The C.H. Booth Library is located at 25 Main St. in Newtown.

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