About Laura Smith

Archivist

Anniversary of Colt Armory fire

Colt Armory, Hartford, Connecticut

On February 4, 1864, the East Armory of the famous Colt Patent Fire Arms Company, built in 1855 in Hartford, Connecticut, was completely destroyed in a fire, incurring $2 million in damages. Elizabeth Colt, Samuel Colt’s widow, had insured the factory buildings and the structures were quickly rebuilt, including the distinctive blue onion dome.  Today the armory is part of a National Historic Landmark District.

Celebrating Black History Month

Did you know that William Henry Johnson, the first African-American from Connecticut who volunteered to serve in the Civil War, enlisted in the all-white Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry in September 1861? Later African-American volunteers from Connecticut generally joined the all-black Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment. It wasn’t until November 1863, as the North’s insatiable need for soldiers intensified, that the Twenty-ninth (Colored) Connecticut Regiment Volunteer Infantry was formed.

Our collections include the publication “Connecticut’s African-American Soldiers in the Civil War, 1861-1865,” written in 2000 by Diana Ross McCain. You can read it in its entirely on our digital repository.

Cover of Connecticut's African-American Soldiers in the Civil War, 1861-1865, by Diana Ross McCain

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!  Our reading room will be closed for the two weeks between December 21 and January 4 but please contact us at archives@uconn.edu if you have questions about our collections.

uconn_asc_clc_boyson_1869_scan_of_boys_0001From Christmas Rhymes and Stories, Original and Selected, including a Visit from Santa Claus, by Kriss Kringle, published in 1887.

 

Happy Hannukah!

The Miracle of the Potato Latkes, by Malka Penn, illiustrated by Giora Carmi

Here is a page from one of the many holiday books that you can find in the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection. The Miracle of the Potato Latkes: A Hanukkah Story, was written in 1994 by Malka Penn and illustrated by Giora Carmi.  This page from the book is shown here courtesy of the author and illustrator.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope everyone enjoys a delicious Thanksgiving!

Illustration from Uncle Wigglily's HolidaysIllustration by Lang Campbell in Uncle Wiggily’s Holidays or How Uncle Wiggily Had a Turkey for Thanksgiving and How He Delivered the Christmas Presents and How He Baked the New Year’s Cake, by Howard R. Garis, published in 1920.

 

Veteran’s Day, UConn style

Veteran's barracks, 1946

More than 2000 UConn alumni served in World War II; 114 of them lost their lives in the conflict. After the war the Veteran’s Administration requested that the university accept between 3000 and 4000 returning soldiers as students. In 1946 the campus had 792 veterans enrolled as students (11 of them were women) with another 300 at the Hartford and Waterbury extension campuses and 154 are enrolled in the Law, Insurance and Pharmacy schools. Eleven temporary barracks, nicknamed “Siberia” because of their distance from the main campus, were built on “the site of the former agronomy plots bordering the main road to Willimantic.” This site is now the Fine Arts Complex and E.O. Smith High School.  As more veterans were accepted to UConn more housing was built or found in nearby Willimantic.

More information about the expansion of the campus for returning World War II veterans can be found in the UConn Chronology at http://doddcenter.uconn.edu/asc/collections/chronology/index.cfm and photographs of scenes such as the one above, of “Agronomy Field” can be found on the Digital Repository.

Bill Clinton back on campus to accept the Dodd Prize

President Bill Clinton came to the University of Connecticut in 1995 to dedicate the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. He returns today, exactly twenty years later, to receive the Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights, along with the international Human Rights Education organization Tostan.  We’re delighted to welcome him back to UConn!  Here he is at the ceremony on October 15, 1995.

Bill Clinton at the dedication of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, October 15, 1995

Bill Clinton at the dedication of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, October 15, 1995