Our new exhibit — Hard Work: Connecticut’s Laborers in the Industrial Age

Farrel Company workers, undated


This exhibit shows scenes of Connecticut’s workers doing Hard Work. Capital H, Capital W.  The kind of work where you surely need the brains but if you ain’t got the brawn it’s not gonna happen.  And we’ve got plenty of photographs in our business collections showing the men and women in the state in various depictions of work where some of the main job requirements are muscle and sweat.  I’m sure tears were there somewhere but the photographs don’t really show that.

In the late 19th and early 20th century — a time period in America known for big industry — Connecticut was one of the major players, producing brass, iron, steel, tools, textiles and more for the state, the country, and the world.  These products didn’t just happen.  It took a workforce of thousands, many of them new immigrants who flocked to Connecticut for these types of jobs, to produce, to make, to build, and to work.

The exhibit is currently up in the Dodd Research Center Gallery until the end of the year.  I’ll show photographs from the exhibit periodically through the next three months but if you can stop by (the building is open Mondays through Fridays, 8:30a.m. to 4:30p.m.) you’ll see them all in one fell swoop.

Photographs from Archives & Special Collections part of an exhibit at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans


Employee of the New Britain Machine Company during World War II

 Several months ago I worked with Laura Blum, a student at E.O. Smith High School in Mansfield, Connecticut, who needed photographs from the Connecticut Business History Collections for a project she was working on for the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.  Laura was selected, with fifty other high school students in every state in the country and the District of Columbia, to provide images of how their states contributed to the challenges of World War II on the homefront.  Laura chose six photographs from our collections, all depicting Connecticut workers and the efforts they made on behalf of the war effort, and wrote an introduction.

The photographs that Laura chose are available in the Connecticut window of the Salute to Freedom website of the National World War II Museum, at http://salutetofreedom.org/.  We are happy that Laura used photographs from our collection for this national-oriented project and very impressed with the good work she did in highlighting and describing the photographs.

The museum blogged about the exhibit on December 31, 2012, available here: http://www.nww2m.com/2012/12/student-scholars-honor-local-contributions-to-wwii/