Children of the Soil: Generations of South Africans under Apartheid – Exhibition Opening and Keynote

IMG_20160425_Children1revChildren of the Soil is a new and fascinating exhibition that explores the human and cultural impact of Apartheid on generations of South Africans from the 1940s to the 1990s. Featuring archival photographs, oral histories, illustrations, maps, newsprint, and data derived from archival sources including the African National Congress Oral History Transcripts Collection, The Impact Visuals Photograph Collection, and
Aluka, a database of materials on liberation movements, the exhibition is the culmination of months of research, design, and analysis by UConn undergraduates, graduates students, faculty and independent researchers under the direction of Project Director Fiona Vernal, Assistant Professor, Department of History, The Human Rights and Africana Studies Institutes, and staff in the Digital Media and Design Department.  The exhibition is now on view in the west hallway gallery of UConn’s Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.

IMG_20160425_children2rev

From the 1940s to the 1990s, Africans debated the best strategies for defeating the apartheid regime that came to power in South Africa in 1948.  After three centuries of Dutch and British colonialism, apartheid introduced Africans to an unprecedented scale of state-sponsored violence, land dispossession, and segregation.  Successive generations of youth pursued vastly different visions of the role of mass demonstrations, armed revolt, non-racialism, and cultural nationalism in achieving freedom, equality, and human rights.  In the 1990s, the African National Congress revisited the strategy of negotiation and compromise from a non-racial platform that viewed all South Africans as children of the soil, proclaiming: “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white.”

Join us for the Exhibition Opening and Reception tomorrow, Wednesday, April 27 at 4:00pm in Konover Auditorium at the Dodd Research Center.  Dr. Angel Nieves, Associate Professor of African Studies and Digital Humanities at Hamilton College, is the Keynote Speaker for this special event.  The event is free and open to the public.

In a related event, Dr. Nieves is also scheduled to speak at the UConn Humanities Institute on Thursday, April 28, 12:30-2:30pm (Austin Building Room 301).  His talk Building a 3D Human Rights Platform: Witness Testimony and Spatial History in South Africa will engage the question  “How do we map violence, resistance, and freedom across space and time?”  Dr. Nieves will discuss considerations and challenges in the design and development of a digital platform for human rights and historical recovery work for use in communities not only in South Africa but across the African Diaspora.  Dr. Nieves is Co-Director of Hamilton College’s Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi).

Supported by funding from the Department of History; Humanities Institute; The Africana Studies Institute; UNESCO Chair in Comparative Human Rights; Digital Media & Design Department; UCHI; UConn Global Affairs; Archives & Special Collections; and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.

 

Happy Earth Day from Archives & Special Collections!

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than by planting a tree? This particular photograph depicts the planting of a white oak tree (Quercus alba) near Beach Hall on the Storrs campus in 1947. The ceremony was likely in response to Governor James L. McConaughy’s declaration of April 16, 1947 which designated the white oak as the official state tree of Connecticut.

White Oak illustration. From F. Andrew Michaux, "North American Sylva: Forest Trees of America, Vol. I" (Philadelphia: W.M. Rutter & Co. ,1871)

White Oak illustration. From F. Andrew Michaux, “North American Sylva: Forest Trees of America, Vol. I” (Philadelphia: W.M. Rutter & Co. ,1871)

The choice of tree can be attributed to the legend of the Charter Oak, a white oak which stood from around the 12th or 13th century until 1856 in present-day Hartford. It is said that in 1687, Sir Edmund Andros arrived in North America as Governor-General of New England. In order to consolidate his power over Connecticut, he attempted to seize the charter given to the colony in 1662 by King Charles II, which granted them an unusual degree of autonomy. Andros arrived in Hartford with an armed force to seize the document, and it was laid out before him on a table. At some point, however, the lights in the room were doused, and in the ensuing confusion the charter was spirited away by Captain Joseph Wadsworth and hidden in the nearby oak tree.

An interactive map of trees and shrubs on the UConn campus can be found on the website of the UConn Arboretum Committee.

The Same Heart Film Screening

c8d1d1ec-0e61-4abe-89a8-a6547d08c2c5Len & Georgia Morris will be screening their film on child poverty The Same Heart this Wednesday, April 20th 2016 from 4-6pm in the Konover Auditorium at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. The film, screened as part of the Human Rights Institute’s Film Series, follows a growing number of global economists, joining their voices with moral leaders of the world. They agree that an extremely small financial transaction tax, The Robin Hood Tax,” could for the first time, place the needs of children at the heart of the global financial system. Suggesting a sustainable approach,The Same Heart also follows a dynamic Kenyan community organizer who devotes his life to making programs work from the bottom up.

This film connects significantly with our U. Roberto (Robin) Romano Papers in the Archives & Special Collections, recently donated by Len Morris.  Robin Romano, credited as Cameraman in The Same Heart, directed and shot several films on child labor and global income inequality.  Although he passed away in 2013, his creative legacy involves a focus on human rights violations experienced by children around the world. His complete body of work including photos, films, and interviews, is now archived with at the Archives & Special Collections.

Len Morris and Robin Romano

Len Morris and Robin Romano

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016
4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Konover Auditorium 

Thomas J. Dodd Center, Storrs Campus

ROTC TURNS 100: UConn and Military Training, Part Two: The Interwar Years, 1919-1941

At the end of my last post, the Cadet battalion of the Connecticut Agricultural College had made the successful transition to a full-fledged ROTC unit and weathered the trials of the First World War.

The program remained in a state of flux for the first few years following the Armistice. Captain Cranston remained in Storrs less than a year, but between his efforts and those of his successor Captain Benjamin Ferris, the battalion grew to an unprecedented size; a September 1919 edition of the Connecticut Campus stated that enrollment was large enough to form between three and five companies of Cadets. The ROTC band was also reestablished that same November following a brief hiatus during the war.

The training itself also underwent a gradual standardization. By regulation, CAC males completed a mandatory “basic course” in Military Science during their freshman and sophomore years, and then decided whether or not to continue on to the advanced course, which would lead to an officer’s commission following graduation. As members of the advanced course, Cadets were paid a daily stipend during the school year (in 1921, it was 40 cents.) Satisfactory completion of the basic course was a requirement for graduation, regardless of whether or not the student continued his participation past sophomore year. The curriculum amounted to three hours of study and practical exercises per week, and included target practice (both at the lighted indoor range in Hawley Armory and an outdoor range near the New Storrs Cemetery on North Eagleville Road) and instruction on personal hygiene, military organization, and map reading, among other subjects. There was also time allotted in the early morning for drill and ceremony, and overnight campouts and route marches to nearby Coventry and Willimantic were made possible following the issue of individual “pup” tents to the Cadets.

Cadets undergo marksmanship instruction inside Hawley Armory, 1920

Cadets receive marksmanship instruction inside Hawley Armory, 1920.

For all the progress, however, there were issues. Cranston’s sudden departure and the arrival of a new commander at the beginning of the 1919-1920 school year caused some confusion and fostered what one student later called the “disease” of “indifference in the cadet personnel of the battalion.” The turnover rate for Professors of Military Science would remain high; Captain Ferris departed in the fall of 1920, and his successor Captain Boyer spent just two years at Storrs. Moreover, instructions from the War Department necessitated frequent changes to the training schedule, and cadre struggled to maintain a sense of continuity between school years. As a result, few upperclassmen were enticed to move on to the advanced course once their obligation was fulfilled, and morale suffered.

CAC Cadet Battalion, 1924, with Koons Hall and Hawley Armory in the background

CAC Cadet Battalion, 1924, with Koons Hall and Hawley Armory in the background.

It wasn’t until early 1921 that progress began to be made through the establishment of a permanent command structure for the battalion, and the appointing of juniors and seniors as Cadet officers. This organizational change was supported by the arrival of new equipment, including modern Springfield 1903 rifles and one of the new M1918 Browning Automatic Rifles. That fall, a group of returning seniors vowed to continue improvements, stating that “as much college spirit should be shown in the conduct of the battalion as in the conduct of our athletic teams, or any one of our activities.” By 1922, attempts were being made to reestablish traditions like the annual military ball, and the following year it was reported that some twenty juniors would be continuing on to the advanced course.

These changes within ROTC were mirrored by significant transformations to the campus as a whole. The old wooden buildings of the nineteenth-century—many of which had burned down or been demolished by the 1920s—were gradually replaced by the more fireproof red brick structures that are so well known today. A new dining hall, known as the “Beanery” (namesake of the café currently in the Benton Museum), opened in the spring of 1920. Holcomb Hall, a women’s dormitory, was completed in 1922 to replace Grove Cottage, which had been destroyed by fire in 1919, and construction of the William Henry Hall dormitory (the future home of UConn ROTC) was completed in 1927. (Photographs of these and other early campus buildings can be found in our digital collections.)

CAC Student Handbook, 1916 edition

CAC Student Handbook, 1916 edition

Then, as now, Cadet life had its benefits and hardships. A system of demerits for student infractions had been in place on campus for years, as indicated by a 1916 edition of the CAC Handbook. Accumulating too many would result in extra duty on Saturdays. For a time, dormitories were inspected each weekday morning and in the afternoon on Saturday, and failure to keep things in good order resulted in demerits or monetary fines: floor not swept, 10 demerits; paper cans not emptied, fifty cent fine; and so on. There were also regulations which governed everyday activities. Among the more interesting punishments:

Any cadet who plays a musical instrument during class or study hours will be punished by a minimum of 10 demerits. 

Any cadet who practices football or baseball or who throws snowballs, apples, stones, dirt, etc. within 100 feet of a dormitory will be punished by a minimum of 25 demerits.

These rules evidently didn’t stop some Cadets from occasionally letting off steam. Captain Ferris penned a letter to President Beach in 1920 concerning the possession of firearms on campus, complaining that “[the students] are constantly firing from the windows in the dormitories.” Beach subsequently reiterated in a bulletin part of the CAC Student Regulations, which stated that “students are not allowed to keep in their possession firearms of any description other than the service rifle.” The punishment for discharging a firearm on campus? A minimum of 50 demerits.

There was, of course, the requirement to wear a uniform, but by 1923 training was organized in such a way that students were required to do so only one day a week (not including the occasional parade, field exercise, or social function.) The off-campus hikes and campouts were seen not only as training exercises, but as opportunities to escape the tedium of campus life; upon announcing one such excursion in May of 1919, Commandant Cranston noted that he intended “to give the men as good a picnic as is possible without interfering with the instruction which they are to receive,” and extended an invitation to all faculty members wishing to join in on the activities.

Cadets on the machine gun range at Camp Devens, summer 1925

Cadets on the machine gun range at Camp Devens, summer 1925

Even the six-week summer training camp required of advanced course Cadets after their junior year, which might have been seen as arduous by those used to the pace of on-campus training, was far from miserable. Those attending the training in 1924 at Camp Devens, for example, found time for “baseball, swimming, riding, movies and exploring” once work ceased for the day at 3:30pm. The following year, in addition to qualifying on the range with their service rifles, Cadets had the opportunity to conduct familiarization fire with automatic rifles, machine guns, and pistols. A howitzer demonstration had been planned, but was cancelled due to lack of facilities.

For all its ups and downs, military training remained mandatory for male students at CAC, even if it only consisted of a few hours a week for the first two years of their college career. This fact was the cause of considerable debate during the interwar period; many pointed out that under the terms of the Morrill Act, courses in Military Science need only be offered by land-grant colleges, not required. As early as 1926, some CAC students protested the idea of a male student being forced onto the parade field every Friday morning, “prancing around for two hours, laboring under the weight of a baby cannon perched on his shoulder.” In the 1930s, Psychology Professor Florien Heiser claimed that “a large number of students dislike the requirement because it is boring, of little or no educational or physical value, interferes with other work and because of opposition to all war and militarism.”

These sentiments reached a boiling point in 1935. In April of that year, responding to agitation against ROTC at a number of colleges across the nation, the Board of Trustees of the Connecticut State College (the name had again been changed in 1933) passed legislation forbidding public debate over military training on the Storrs campus. Quickly dubbed the “gag rule” by those opposed to it, the act garnered significant criticism from students, faculty, and outside groups. On May 15th, just a few days after a large on-campus protest, Charles McCracken resigned as President of CSC, though he maintained that he had made the decision to leave before the Trustees had issued their ruling. Shortly after, on May 17th, CSC’s Social Problems Club organized an off-campus discussion on the gag rule featuring a guest speaker from Columbia University. This was interrupted by a mob of pro-ROTC supporters, who threatened members of the Social Problems Club and forced another student, who had reportedly spoken against the gag rule, to jump into Swan Lake.

While this marked the end of major protests, tensions remained high throughout the summer of 1935, with the Trustees refusing to rescind the gag rule. It was only after Albert Nels Jorgensen was appointed as CSC President in September that the Board at last felt secure enough in the abilities of the college’s administration to repeal the motion. Jorgensen’s appointment seemed to bring a measure of calm to campus, and his arrival signaled another period of growth for the college. Within the first five years of his administration, no less than four new campus buildings were built using funds from the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA), including Manchester Hall, a women’s dorm, the F.L. Castleman (Engineering) building, and Wood Hall, a men’s dorm completed in 1940 (now home to the History Department and other offices.)  There was also a fifth and final name change: in 1939, Connecticut State College became the University of Connecticut.

The calm would not last long, however, as events overseas would soon make themselves felt in Storrs. Beginning in October of 1939, the Connecticut Campus ran a column entitled “History in the Headlines,” in which History Professor Andre Schenker offered commentary on the war which had begun that September in Europe. The following May, as students prepared to leave campus for the summer, Germany invaded France and the Low Countries. By the time they returned in September, nearly all of Western Europe had fallen to the Nazis, and England stood alone. To bolster America’s defenses, FDR signed the Selective Service Act into law on September 16th, and as a result those UConn students 21 years of age and older were required to register for the draft (unless they were seniors enrolled in the advanced ROTC course.) As worrisome as these developments were, America remained neutral, and so for the next year or so it was enough to simply note, in the words of the Connecticut Campus’s editor, “that the average college student stands ready to ‘do his part’.”

On the evening of December 7th, 1941, Professor Schenker was attending a performance in Hartford when an usher approached him with an urgent message. After speaking with him, Schenker immediately set off for radio station WTIC, where he served as a world affairs commentator. Later that night, he began his broadcast with the following words:

“It has happened. Japan has decided to commit suicide by attacking the strongest power on earth, the United States…As you all know by now, this morning in the Far East, which means this afternoon our time, a Japanese force suddenly attacked Manila, in the Philippines, and another force attacked the Gibraltar of the Pacific, our base at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands.”

(The complete recording of Professor Schenker’s broadcast can be found here.)

War had at last come to the United States, and to Storrs. Next time, we’ll look at the role played by the men and women of UConn—and the Cadets of its ROTC program—in the deadliest conflict in human history.

 

Sources

*Unless otherwise noted, all sources courtesy of Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

The Connecticut Campus, 1919-1940
Nutmeg (University of Connecticut Yearbook), 1919-1935
University Archive Subject file, “ROTC”
University of Connecticut Photograph Collection, Record Group 1, Series VI, Boxes 93-95
Walter Landauer Collection, Series I, Box 1
Office of the President Records [Charles Lewis Beach, 1908-1928], Box 9

Civil War Diaries and Letters Now Available Digitally

alonzosmithdiaryOn this day, April 12, in 1861, the first shots were fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina in the Battle of Fort Sumter, effectively beginning the US Civil War.

Students and researchers interested in the experiences of Civil War soldiers and their families can now access the diaries, letters, family papers, and photographs from Archives and Special Collections’ Connecticut Soldiers Collection digitally in the digital repository.    The following collections are currently available:

 

To explore related collections, browse the list of collection guides or contact an archivist for more information.

Cuban Bricolage: The Artists Books of Ediciones Vigia

 

Cuban Bricolage takes place within an exceptional context. Since December 2014 –when U.S. and Cuban Presidents, Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, announced their mutual intentions of reactivating the relationship between the two nations—the general interest in Cuba has unexpectedly increased.  This exhibition, about one of Cuba’s most innovative fine art publishing houses, sheds light on this often misunderstood country.  While showcasing pieces of remarkable aesthetic value, the exhibition also exposes the entire UConn community to a little known aspect of Cuba’s cultural production. –Marisol Ramos

borges72dpi1234_00321-1024x497An exhibition of handcrafted books by members of the world-renowned Ediciones Vigía, an artist collective and publishing house in Cuba, is on display in UConn’s Homer Babbidge Library through May 2, 2016.

Since its creation in 1985 in the city of Matanzas, Ediciones Vigía has been internationally recognized as a unique artist’s collaborative, whose work is produced in limited editions and housed in private and public libraries, such as the British National Library, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), the Library of Congress, and universities throughout the world. Ediciones Vigía’s catalog encompasses works by authors such as Baudelaire, Emily Dickinson, Pasternak, Tolstoy, Tagore, and Verlaine, Spanish-language authors such as Borges, Federico García Lorca, and Gabriela Mistral, and renowned Cuban writers such as José Martí, Lezama Lima, and Nancy Morejón.

According to the exhibition co-curator Marisol Ramos, Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Latino Studies, Spanish & Anthropology Librarian at the University, “each entirely handmade volume is a genuine piece of art, as well as a powerful testimony of struggle and artistic survival and sustainability, showing its creators’ ‘advocacy of the aesthetics of the poor, of what’s ugly, and inexpensive’, as Ediciones Vigía’s co-founder and chief designer, Rolando Estévez said in a recent online interview.”

Read more…

 

 

ROTC TURNS 100: UConn and Military Training, Part One: The Early Years, 1893-1920

This is the first of a series of blog posts by Nick Hurley, who recently completed his M.A. in History at UConn and now works as Research Services Assistant here at Archives & Special Collections.

How time flies!

Since its founding in 1916, the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (better known as ROTC) has become a fixture on many U.S. college campuses, and UConn is no exception. More than two hundred Huskies are currently serving as Cadets in either the Nathan Hale Battalion, the Army’s only ROTC unit in Connecticut, or Air Force ROTC Detachment 115, “Snake Eyes Five”.

I spent four years in the Nathan Hale Battalion, from 2009-2013, reaching the rank of Cadet Captain and eventually commissioning as a Field Artillery officer. Given my personal connection to UConn and the military (not to mention my love of all things history), I thought it would be appropriate, especially because ROTC is turning 100 this year, to examine the long and fascinating story of military training at UConn.

Cadets conducting a "mock battle" on campus, WWI era.

Cadets conducting a “mock battle” on campus, WWI era.

To do so, there was no better starting point than the holdings here at Archives and Special Collections. Series VI of the University of Connecticut Photograph Collection contains three boxes of photographic prints which document all aspects of Cadet life from the early 1900’s to the present, including training exercises, social events, and inspections. There are also numerous portraits of Cadets, Instructors, the Cadet Band, and the Color Guard. A small number of these photographs have been uploaded to our digital repository. Physical artifacts are contained in the UConn Memorabilia Collection, including a dress uniform jacket from the late 1930’s and a unit patch dated 1918, and general administrative files from both Army and Air Force ROTC can be found in the UConn Office of Public Information (OPI) Records.

CAC Cadet Band, circa 1907. Note the blue uniforms and collar insignia marked “C.A.C”. These would be replaced by Army green uniforms and ROTC insignia beginning in 1917.

Though this year marks the centenary of ROTC, UConn’s affiliation with military training in general dates back to 1893, when the Storrs Agricultural School was renamed the Storrs Agricultural College. Along with the name change came the conferral of land-grant status to the university. Under the terms of the Morrill Act of 1862, land-grant colleges received federal land and assistance in return for offering academic programs in agriculture, engineering, and military tactics. The administration at Storrs deemed it appropriate to not only offer military classes, but make them mandatory, and thereafter every male student who enrolled at the school received instruction under the direction of a newly-hired Professor of Military Science. This training was not intended to produce commissioned officers, however, and students incurred no military obligation upon graduating from Storrs Agricultural College, which in 1899 became the Connecticut Agricultural College (CAC).

Members of the CAC Cadet Battalion, 1905. The officer in the second row, fourth from left is Lieutenant E. R. Bennett, Commandant of Cadets

Members of the CAC Cadet Battalion, 1905. The officer in the second row, fourth from left is Lieutenant E. R. Bennett, Commandant of Cadets

The roots of what we now know as ROTC can be traced back to the National Defense Act of 1916. Among its other provisions, it provided federal assistance for the establishment of officer training programs at a number of universities. UConn was one such institution, and on November 1st, 1916, War Department Bulletin No. 48 announced the creation of “an Infantry unit of the Senior Division, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps” at Storrs.

The introduction of ROTC brought both change and continuity. Activities like the Cadet Band and Color Guard remained integral components of ROTC life, and drill continued to be held in Hawley

Rifle range, Hawley Armory basement, circa 1920

Rifle range, Hawley Armory basement, circa 1920

Armory, named for SAC graduate Willis Nichols Hawley following his death during the Spanish-American War. Completed in 1915, the facility also housed facilities for athletics, an auditorium, and even a rifle range in the basement. (Today, the armory continues to serve as a supply room and exercise area for UConn Cadets—but, not surprisingly, the rifle range is no more!)

Still, no one could deny that a significant shift in military training at Storrs had occurred. An article in the April 30, 1917 edition of the Connecticut Campus noted that:

A young man now entering the Connecticut Agricultural College, if a citizen of the United States and physically fit, becomes a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. Without cost he is furnished with rifle, uniform and necessary equipment. For two years he devotes three hours a week to military training under the prescribed course. At the end of the two years, if he so elects, and if he is recommended by the President of the college and the Commandant he may sign an agreement to devote five hours a week to the advanced course in Military Training for the remaining two years of the college course…a graduate of the college who has completed the advance course is eligible for appointment by the President of the United States as Second Lieutenant in the regular army for a period of six months with pay at $100 per month and to a commission in the Officers’ Reserve Corps.

Calisthenics in Hawley Armory, 1920

Calisthenics in Hawley Armory, 1920

There were more visible changes as well; students no longer wore the Cadet blue uniform, exchanging them for Army greens with an olive drab cuff insignia emblazoned with the letters “U.S.” and “R.O.T.C.” In addition, new rifles and other equipment were soon delivered to campus courtesy of the War Department, and Lieutenant Frank R. Sessions arrived in October of 1917 to replace Captain Charles Amory as Commandant. The arrival of Lieutenant Sessions was not a moment too soon. War had been declared that April, and many male students had already left campus for the battlefields of France and Belgium. Of the nearly six hundred CAC students and alumni who would ultimately serve in the Great War, at least seven would not live to see the armistice declared in November of 1918.

Those who remained in Storrs trained with a new sense of purpose and urgency. By the summer of 1918, however, the Cadet contingent at CAC was overshadowed by a new government-initiated program: the Students’ Army Training Corps (SATC). The Corps essentially placed participating universities on a war footing; students and staff alike were inducted into the military, and remained on campus for instruction in trades and skills deemed vital to the war effort. At the completion of such courses, the intent was to assign graduates to officers’ school, regular duty as enlisted men, or further technical training. Some four hundred CAC men had signed up by the time the short-lived program was disbanded in December of 1918. Following a brief lull, ROTC was reinstated the following January with the arrival of Captain Claude E. Cranston as the new Professor of Military Science. By the end of that year, Cadet training had more or less returned to what it had been before the introduction of the SATC.

ROTC Cadets standby for inspection of their encampments and equipment, 1919. Hawley Armory is in the background. Laurel Hall now stands on the site of the parade field

ROTC Cadets standby for inspection of their encampments and equipment, 1919. Hawley Armory and Koons Hall are in the background. Oak Hall now stands on the site of the parade field

Notwithstanding a brief suspension during the First World War, then, ROTC had by 1920 established itself as a fixture on the Storrs campus. The future of the program would be anything but tranquil, however, as the remainder of the twentieth century would prove eventful, both on campus and abroad. In my next post, we’ll look at the debates over compulsory participation in ROTC. Stay tuned!

–Nick Hurley

Looking Back at The Humble Beginnings of UConn Women’s Basketball

By Nick Hurley, Research Services Assistant

Team photo, CAC Women’s Basketball, 1902 Season. Pictured are Coach Steve Crowell and chaperone Mrs. Stimson. Players included Grace Koons and team captain Marjorie Monteith

With March Madness in full swing, and UConn’s top-ranked, undefeated women’s basketball team set to take on Mississippi State tomorrow in Bridgeport, it seems appropriate to share this photograph of their predecessors, who enjoyed similar success during their first season in 1902.

Basketball came to UConn (then known as the Connecticut Agricultural College) in 1901, with the formation of a provisional men’s team under the direction of Athletics Professor T.D. Knowles. After winning their first game against Willimantic High School, a permanent team was organized for the following 1901-02 season. Many female students, according to the school newspaper (The Lookout, predecessor to the Daily Campus), “took enough interest in the boys in the blue and white jerseys to accompany them to Willimantic and to cheer lustily during the entire game,” though they wouldn’t remain on the sidelines for long. By March 1902 The Lookout reported that “there has appeared a new feature in our athletics, a basketball team, made up and well made up from the young ladies of Grove Cottage.”

Under the supervision of Mrs. Stimson (then-President Stimson’s wife), the girls played their first game on March 8th, 1902 against Willimantic High School in the College Hall on campus (presumably the building referred to as “Old Main”, which held administrative offices, classrooms, and the library, along with other meeting and recreation spaces.) The game kicked off at 2:30pm, with the first basket made soon after by Grace Koons—the daughter of CAC’s former president Benjamin Koons, for whom Koons Hall is named. This was followed soon after by another from Marjorie Montheith, daughter of popular professor Henry R. Monteith, the namesake for the Monteith Building. The final score? CAC: 15, WHS: 6.

The team went on to win their second game as well, also against Willimantic, making them undefeated in their first season. Like the men’s team, the experiment had been a success, and the women returned the next year alongside their male counterparts. From these humble beginnings came the powerhouse teams we know today, who have racked up countless NCAA Championship wins and other accolades.

More information on the history of basketball at UConn can be found in the holdings here at Archives & Special Collections. The University of Connecticut Photograph Collection contains numerous images of both teams throughout the years (as well as other sports), and the University of Connecticut, Women’s Basketball Perfect Season Collection includes publications, posters, and memorabilia related to the perfect seasons enjoyed by the Women’s team between 1994 and 2003. A number of basketball-specific images can also be found in our digital repository. 

 

Human Rights in the Former Yugoslavia

–This is a guest post by UConn Senior Matthew Kosior (Political Science and French/Francophone Studies Major and a Human Rights, Spanish and International Studies Minor), currently interning at the Archives & Special Collections, focusing his work on the Laurie S. Wiseberg and Harry Scoble Human Rights Internet Collection.  

Violence and Terror in Kosovo, SOS-Kosovo Committee, Geneva, Switzerland. Human Rights Internet, box 99.

With ever normalizing relations between the Balkan states, especially with the recent Serbia-Kosovo talks as well as Montenegro’s invitation to join NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), from an outsider’s perspective the progress made in the region seems ordinary. One cannot however ignore the fact that the former Yugoslavia has endured violent waves of wars that would permanently strain relations between the various ethnic groups and nation-states that would emerge from the chain of conflicts. The complicated history of the region and its path towards stabilization can be found through the Laurie S. Wiseberg and Harry Scoble Human Rights Internet Collection (HRIC) found in the Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, which contains a plethora of articles, resolutions, and books relating to the former Yugoslavia. Continue reading

Commemorating the Flood of 1936

1936 Flood in Hartford

In March 1936, after experiencing heavy storms that swept from Ohio to Maine and as far south as Virginia, the Connecticut River, swollen beyond its banks, spilled over into Hartford, Connecticut, flooding over one-fifth of the city.  Adding to that was the late winter melting of snow and ice, causing the river to crest at 8 1/2 feet, the highest ever recorded at that time. Other cities and towns along the Connecticut River were equally affected — in Springfield, Massachusetts, 20,000 townspeople lost their homes.

You can find photographs of the devastation of the Flood of 1936 on our digital repository, mostly from the Southern New England Telephone Company Records.

Introducing Our New Website

We have a new website! There you’ll find links to the digital repository, our finding aids, and to information for researchers about our collections and services. It all begins at http://lib.uconn.edu/libraries/asc/

We’re also moving our finding aids into the digital repository so they will look a bit different from what you’re used to. A search in the digital repository on any name or keyword can bring up a photograph, an audio file, or a document, as well as a finding aid.

We also have online forms for our Application for Use of Materials and for Reproduction Requests, to make it easier to let us know when you’re coming to visit the reading room or to tell us about reproductions you may want from the collections. Whenever there is any doubt about our collections or services you can always contact us at archives@uconn.edu.

Let us know what you think of the new website! and have a great time exploring Archives & Special Collections.

http://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A199701587

http://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A199701587

 

 

TODAY! Archives Reveal, Archives Inspire, Archives OPEN

SeeingDon’t miss the grand opening event today March 10 between 4:00 and 6:00 PM – a special Open-House to mark the opening of Spring exhibitions in Archives and Special Collections, located in the McDonald Reading Room at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. The event is free and open to the public.  Follow the event at #ArchivesReveal

Hear talks and commentary by exhibition curators, browse collection materials first-hand, and catch up on news happening behind the scenes with the archivists.  Spring 2016 exhibitions include:

Seeing Comes Before Words: Artists’ Use of the Male Nude

Elizabeth Barbeau (curator)

Inspired by the collection of artist and teacher Roger Crossgrove, and drawing from materials across the Archives’ holdings, this exhibition explores collaboration and the creative process through the lens of the male nude.  Featuring photography, artists’s books, broadsides, and posters from Archives and Special Collections, materials on display emphasize the relationships between (and among) artists and their models, and art and its audiences, and illustrate ways “the male nude” is used in different mediums for a variety of political, social, and cultural purposes.

Woman a Machine: Gender, Automation, and Created Beings

Giorgina S. Paiella (curator)

Featuring a variety of materials sourced from Archives and Special Collections, and archives external to the University of Connecticut, Woman a Machine will explore the intersection of gender and automation from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century. This exhibition will explore the intertwined history of female created beings and human female embodiment, including representations of eighteenth and nineteenth century female android automata, the twentieth-century mechanized housewife, and cyborg imagery in twentieth and twenty-first century visual culture.

We’ll see you in the Archives!

Sponsored by the UConn Libraries and the Office of Undergraduate Research IDEA Grants Program.