South Africa, Archives and the African National Congress

Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg

Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg

My visit to South Africa on assignment for Global Affairs/UNESCO and Archives & Special Collections began in the first week of June in Johannesburg during an unusually cold winter (for South Africa).  The purpose of the trip was to explore and convene on the archival landscape which had been mapped in 2000 through a partnership between the African National Congress (ANC) and the University of Connecticut.  The initial archives project was funded by the Mellon Foundation to organize, describe and make accessible the ANC archives documenting its activities while in exile under Apartheid.  These archives, located at the National Heritage and Cultural Studies Center (NAHECS) University of Fort Hare (UFH) in Alice, Eastern Cape, have been available in their reading room for public research since 2005.  Between 2000 and 2005, UConn sent faculty, archivists, librarians and oral historians to UFH to hold training sessions and benefit from this skill sharing partnership.  In conjunction, UFH sent archivists and librarians to receive training within the UConn libraries. Continue reading

Hot off the presses!

Archives & Special Collections occasionally shares posts by scholars who have consulted materials found in the collections and the staff has always found it interesting to learn what gems researchers have found.  Recently, A&SC has received copies of publications by these same scholars, the results of research conducted in Storrs (and elsewhere) and we thought we’d share this as well.  Our congratulations to the authors and an invitation to any of our readers to come in and ask to look through any of these that might interest you:

The Hartford Courant at 250 : telling Connecticut’s stories : the moments that make up our state’s richly textured history, Pediment Publishing, 2015 (University Photograph Collection, Southern New England Telephone Company Records, C. H. Dexter Company Records, Leroy Roberts Railroad Collection)

Allison, Raphael. Bodies on the Line: Performance and the Sixties Poetry Reading, University of Iowa Press, 2014 (Charles Olson Papers, Larry Eigner Papers)

Charters, Samuel. Songs of Sorrow: Lucy McKim Garrison and “Slave Songs of the United States, University Press of Mississippi, 2015 (Charters Archive of Blues and Vernacular African American Musical Culture)

Dessner, Bryce (composer). Bang On A Can All Stars (DVD), Field Recordings, 2015 (Charles Olson Papers)

Katko, Justin Katko.  Derelict Air: From Collected Out, Enitharmon Press, 2015 (Ed Dorn Papers)

Lister-Kaye, John.  Gods of Morning: A Bird’s Eye View of a Changing World, Pegasus, 2015 (Edwin Way Teale Papers)

Savage, Sean.  The Senator from New England: The Rise of JFK, Excelsior editions, 2015 (Thomas J. Dodd Papers)

Zack, Ian. Say No to the Devil: the Life and Musical Genius of the Rev. Gary Davis, University of Chicago Press, 2015 (Charters Archive of Blues and Vernacular African American Musical Culture)


Terri J. Goldich to retire


Terri J. Goldich, June 2015

It is with heavy hearts that we will soon bid farewell to our colleague Terri J. Goldich, who currently serves as Curator for the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection, when she retires on July 1.  Terri has greatly contributed to many successes in Archives & Special Collections and the UConn Libraries, where she has been an employee in many different capacities for the last 38 years.

Hired in March 1977 to participate in the Pioneer Valley Union List of Serials cooperative program, the first ever effort for libraries in the region to automate information about serials, Terri soon moved on to other positions in the UConn Libraries, including as the Connecticut List of Serials coordinator and to serve on the reference and information desks.

Terri was among the first staff in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, dedicated in October 1995 by President Bill Clinton, which opened in January 1996 to house Archives & Special Collections.  Her first position in the building was as Events and Facilities Coordinator but she soon became Curator for the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection, and for a time the Alternative Press Collections, working under former Director Tom Wilsted.

Terri’s tenure as Curator for the NCLC was a period of great growth and distinction, as evidenced by an expansion of the archival collections from 30 to its current number of 128 and the acquisition of the papers and illustrations of such well-known authors and artists as Tomie dePaola, Natalie Babbitt, Richard Scarry, and Suse MacDonald.  Terri was also responsible for the great growth of the children’s book research collection from 13,000 to 46,000 under her oversight.

Terri played a pivotal role in the prominence and popularity of the Connecticut Children’s Book Fair, held the second weekend in November every year since 1992.  Terri joined the Book Fair Committee in 1998 and became Co-Chair in 2006, taking on the responsibilities of fundraising and as a primary contact with the authors and illustrators invited to present their books.

Other important contributions undertaken by Terri while at the UConn Libraries was as a judge of the Rabb Prize, a contest for UConn students in the illustration program, and as head of the library’s Exhibits Committee for many years.

When asked for a noteworthy reminiscence of an event that occurred while at the UConn Libraries, Terri told us that in 1996, on her second day of work in Archives & Special Collections, Tom Wilsted asked her to spend a day with a Norwegian gentleman who turned out to be Dr. Francis Sejersted, the Chair of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.  Dr. Sejersted was visiting campus to participate in one of the symposia organized around the closing of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center’s Year of Introspection, in which Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev also played a part.  He had a free day and wanted to see the local sights; Tom was unavailable and so corralled Terri to act as chaperone.  They scared up a limo and driver and went off on a lovely daytrip to Sturbridge Village.  Terri noted that the Dr. Sejersted had a particular fascination with the sawmill operations.

Terri tells us that after a short visit to her daughter Rose, who currently lives and works in Montana, she plans to enroll in the state’s foster parent program.

Terri’s coworkers will sorely miss her deep knowledge of the children’s literature collections, her spirit of collegiality and kindness, her wicked good party planning expertise as well as her infectious laugh and delightful humor.  We wish Terri the best for her retirement and thank her for her hard work and good humor through her years at the UConn Libraries.

Brass City/Grass Roots exhibit highlights Waterbury’s agricultural past

Professor Ruth Glasser and her exhibit Brass City/Grass Roots, on display at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center in June and July, 2015

Professor Ruth Glasser and her exhibit Brass City/Grass Roots, on display at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center in June and July, 2015

Now available in the Dodd Research Center corridor is the exhibit Brass City/Grass Roots, which tells the story of Waterbury, Connecticut’s little known agricultural past.

Created by UConn Assistant Professor in Residence Ruth Glasser, who teaches in the Waterbury campus’s Urban and Community Studies Program, the exhibit boards beautifully detail the rich history of farming in Waterbury, with photographs, quotes from interviews of members of farming families, and historical documents.

The exhibit shows that Waterbury, best known as the “Brass City” due to its wide renown as an industrial center, has had far more farms and farmers than may have been previously supposed. As Dr. Glasser writes in the exhibit: “Farming did not disappear when the first factories started. But farmers have had to constantly reinvent themselves as they faced hilly land, rocky soil, mechanization, and competition in an increasingly tough regional, national, and international market.” Presently the city has a wealth of community gardens and greenhouses, and thousands of vegetables are raised for personal use as well as for soup kitchens.

Dr. Glasser began her research for the project in 2013, when she connected with Sue Pronovost, the Executive Director of Brass City Harvest, a non-profit organization that alleviates food deserts in the city and educates city residents about the legacy of farming and the present opportunities for farming in the city. In her efforts to gather sources for the project Dr. Glasser spoke on local radio programs, gave presentations, and conducted interviews. She conducted extensive research into land records in the town clerk’s office, consulted historical maps, and studied photographs from private collections as well as from such cultural heritage institutions as the Mattatuck Museum, the Connecticut Historical Society, and the Silas Bronson Library. She also was able to access the archive of Waterbury’s local newspaper, the Republican-American.

With funding from the Connecticut Humanities Fund, the Connecticut Community Foundation, and the Waterbury Environmental Benefits Fund, and with the assistance of students in her Historical Methods seminar, Dr. Glasser wrote the exhibit script and captions, chose preferred photographs for the boards, and worked with a designer on the look of the exhibit panels. Last summer the exhibit was shown at local farmers markets, and has been available at UConn’s Torrington and Waterbury campuses.

The exhibit will be up in the corridor until July 31.

UConn Professor Ruth Glasser shows her exhibit Brass City/Grass Roots to UConn Libraries staff member Bill Miller, June 2015

UConn Professor Ruth Glasser shows her exhibit Brass City/Grass Roots to UConn Libraries staff member Bill Miller, June 2015

How would YOU modernize FOIA and strengthen open government? @OpenGov needs your input!


Attaching envelopes to and releasing balloons, 1932. Photograph by Jerauld A. Manter. University Photograph Collection, Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Libraries.

In a few months the United States will publish its third Open Government National Action Plan (NAP) including new and expanded open government initiatives to pursue from 2016 through 2018. The US is part of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a global effort to make governments more open and accountable to the public. Countries that participate in OGP are required to develop and carry out action plans that include concrete commitments to make the government more open.  “These plans are a true team effort — governments work alongside civil society in all 65 OGP countries to develop and implement the efforts within the plans, ” according to the latest blog post from Corinna Zarek, the US rep to the OGP.

How can you contribute?

Share NAP suggestions via email at or tweet @OpenGov.

You can also contribute ideas to a publicly available Hackpad — an open, collaborative platform — that the General Services Administration is helping coordinate. (You will need to create an account on that site before viewing and contributing to content on that platform.)

Add your voice and your input!  According to OpenGov, all suggestions including expanded commitments on topic areas from the first two plans such as public participation, open data, records management, natural resource revenue transparency, the Freedom of Information Act, open innovation, or open educational resources, are welcome.  You may also wish to suggest entirely new initiatives.

Read more about the campaign at The National Archives FOIA Ombudsman blog and the Open Government Initiative site.



Hello From New Graduate Student Intern Nick Hurley

by Nick Hurley, Graduate Summer Intern


Hello! My name is Nick Hurley, and I was lucky enough to be selected as the Archives and Special Collections Graduate Intern for summer 2015. I am currently one semester away from earning a Master’s Degree in History, and received my B.A. in History from UCONN as well. This past Monday marked not only my first day as an archives intern, but my first foray into the field of archival studies and management. For the foreseeable future, my focus will be the Bruce A. Morrison Papers.

Bruce A. Morrison is a former Congressman from Connecticut who served from 1983-1991. While in office he served as Chairman of the House Immigration subcommittee, and authored the now-famous Immigration Act of 1990. After an unsuccessful campaign for Governor of CT in 1990, Morrison became 20150615Nickblog03heavily involved in the quest for peace in Northern Ireland, and was instrumental in paving the way for the eventual IRA ceasefires in 1994 and 1997. During this time he also served as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Board, and as a commissioner on the Commission for Immigration Reform (1992-1997). A lawyer by profession, Morrison founded a lobbying firm after leaving public office in 2000, and continues to remain active in Irish-American advocacy. He lives today in Maryland.

I’ll be looking through Mr. Morrison’s papers and arranging the collection (some 110 boxes!) in preparation for digitization (to include updating the online finding aid.) Once that is complete, the physical documents will go back into the stacks, and the digital copies will be added to
Archives and Special Collections digital repository
. I’m excited to be following the collection through every aspect of the archival process, from start to finish. I think it will be a great way for me to make the best use of my time here, and I can already tell from the work I’ve been doing that I’ll 20150615Nickblog02be learning a lot about archives organization and classification: what belongs, what doesn’t, and how to group certain documents together in a way that makes sense to both an archivist and potential researchers.

But I’m also hoping to become familiar with the more technical aspects of archival work, because I’ve had almost no exposure to them until now. If I can leave here in August with a good understanding of how materials are digitized and loaded into a digital database, and a lot of experience navigating and utilizing collection management systems like the Archivists’ Toolkit, I’ll consider the summer a success! Moreover, I’ll feel much better prepared to apply for jobs at museums and archives that require some level of experience.

In addition to my internship here at the archives, I will be volunteering at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut from June-August. Following graduation, I hope to enter the field of Public History through employment at a museum or similar institution. I am a lifelong resident of CT, born and raised in Glastonbury.

I’ll be posting on here from time to time with updates as the summer—and my project on the Morrison Papers—progresses. Stay tuned!


Black Mountain: An Interdisciplinary Experiment Opens at Nationalgalerie Berlin


The first comprehensive exhibition in Germany devoted to the legendary Black Mountain College opened this weekend at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie in Berlin amid a large crowd and a flurry of interest.  The large exhibition showcases archival materials loaned from a variety of repositories in the United States and Europe, and we are thrilled to have materials produced at Black Mountain College exhibited from collections held here in Archives and Special Collections included in the exhibition.

Black Mountain. An Interdisciplinary Experiment 1933 – 1957 encompasses works of art and craft, photography, performance and literature produced at Black Mountain College.  Live readings, documentary film, and student programming promise to engage visitors throughout the exhibition which runs from June 5 until September 27, 2015.

In cooperation with the Freie Universität Berlin and the Dahlem Humanities Center, the exhibition at the Nationalgalerie in the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum traces the history of the small college founded in 1933 in North Carolina from its early experimental stages through the artists and teachers that shaped it in years following World War II.  “Its influence upon the development of the arts in the second half of the 20th century was enormous; the performatisation of the arts, in particular, that emerged as from the 1950s derived vital impetus from the experimental practice at Black Mountain,” according to the exhibition curators.

Within an architectural environment designed by the architects’ collective raumlabor_berlin, the exhibition at the Hamburger Bahnhof is showing works both by teachers at the college, such as Josef and Anni Albers, Richard Buckminster Fuller, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Shoji Hamada, Franz Kline, Xanti Schawinsky and Jack Tworkov, and by a number of Black Mountain students, including Ruth Asawa, Ray Johnson, Ursula Mamlok, Robert Rauschenberg, Dorothea Rockburne and Cy Twombly. A wealth of photographs and documentary film footage, as well as publications produced by the college, offer an insight into the way in which the institute worked and into life on campus.

In the first few years of its existence, the college was strongly shaped by German and European émigrés – among them several former Bauhaus members such as Josef and Anni Albers, Alexander “Xanti” Schawinsky and Walter Gropius. After the Second World War, the creative impulses issued increasingly from young American artists and academics, who commuted between rural Black Mountain and the urban centres on the East and West Coast. Right up to its closure in 1957, the college remained imbued with the ideas of European modernism, the philosophy of American pragmatism and teaching methods that aimed to encourage personal initiative as well as the social competence of the individual.


Accompanying the exhibition is the artistic project Performing the Black Mountain Archive by Arnold Dreyblatt, a Berlin-based media artist and composer currently teaching as Professor of Media Art at the Muthesius Kunsthochschule in Kiel. The project incorporates the live performance of archival material Dreyblatt collected in the Black Mountain Archives in the United States. Including students from different disciplines like sculpture, painting, media art, sound art, music, dance, theater, typography and literature, the project “investigates the interdisciplinarity of Black Mountain’s pedagogical approach.” Dreyblatt invited students from ten European art academies – amongst them his own class – who present the material in the form of readings, concerts and performances over the entire duration of the exhibition. Dreyblatt was interviewed recently about the project by Verena Kittel of Black Mountain Research, based at the Museum.

Stay tuned for information regarding another exhibition featuring Black Mountain College materials, loaned from Archives and Special Collections, this October at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston.  Details can be found on their forthcoming exhibitions site!

World Conference on Women: Exhibition Marks 25th Anniversary

by Matt Jones, Graduate Student Library Assistant in Archives and Special Collections

uconn_asc_fourth_world_conference_on_women2015 marks the twenty-year anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women held 4-15 September, 1995 in Beijing, China.  The previous world conferences occurred in 1975 (Mexico City), 1980 (Copenhagen), and 1985 (Nairobi). While there do not appear to be concrete plans for a fifth conference, a series of events, colloquia, and reflections are currently taking place around the world under the aegis of Beijing +20.

A new exhibition in Archives and Special Collections’ Reading Room showcases original media programs, uconn_asc_reaching_outREVagendas, and country-specific notes for delegates from the 1995 Conference.  Also on display are materials published in response to or in anticipation of the conference including editorials, news bulletins, fliers, and response booklets. These materials represent a small but helpful glimpse into not only the conference itself but also a number of cultural conflicts that arose when approaching these topics as well as calls for ever greater activity and solidarity from their being brought to international light.

Items featured in the display are from the Human Rights Internet Collection (HRI) housed in the Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. The collection contains thousands of publications and rare pamphlets from around the world collected from 1977 to the present by Human Rights Internet, a non-governmental organization based out of Ottawa, Canada. The collection includes materials not found in any other libraries in North America, and includes publications in a variety of languages including English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Swedish, Chinese and Japanese.  Many publications are cataloged and searchable through HOMER, the library’s online public catalog.

uconn_asc_women_in_the_global_economyMuch of the international response addressed concerns regarding how to interpret the twelve points of the Beijing Plan for Action (listed below).  Some voices, such as that coming from Amnesty International, advocated for more direct action in response to the twelve points.  Others, such as the Members from Developed Countries of the NGO Coalition for Women and the Family, voiced anxieties that the Platform for Action would compromise traditional values.  Others still, such as The Globe and Mail, express concerns stemming from the conference being held in China.  A pamphlet released by Human Rights Watch and directed at delegates attending the conference explains how to effectively navigate China and its “government contrls on freedom of expression, association, assembly and religion” is on display in the exhibition.


1995 World Conference on Women – Beijing Plan for Action:

  • Women and Poverty
  • Education and Training of Women
  • Women and Health
  • Violence against Women
  • Women and Armed Conflict
  • Women and the Economy
  • Women in Power and Decision-making
  • Institutional Mechanism for the Advancement of Women
  • Human Rights of Women
  • Women and the Media
  • Women and the Environment
  • The Girl-child

For more on the 1995 Beijing conference and on current activity relating to its twenty year anniversary you can visit these websites: