Breaking news — 74th anniversary of the “day which will live in infamy”

Andre Schenker, 1930

Andre Schenker, 1930

About 1935, Andre Schenker, Associate Professor of History at UConn, began a regular broadcast series entitled “History in the Headlines” airing on WTIC.  The series provided context and analysis of current events for the listening audience. In a reminiscence, Dr. Schenker’s son remembers attending a performance in Hartford on the evening of December 7, 1941, when an usher came to quietly speak with his father. Immediately leaving the performance, Dr. Schenker went on the air later to share the breaking news. The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States had declared war.

This and other broadcasts are available in the Schenker Papers held by Archives & Special Collections and online.

 

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.

A New Collection — the Somersville Manufacturing Company Records

The Somersville Manufacturing Company, maker of fine heavy woolen cloth, was established in 1879 in Somersville, a village in the town of Somers, Connecticut, by Rockwell Keeney. For the company’s entire 90 year history it was owned and run by Rockwell’s descendents.

Advertisement for woollens made by the Somersville Manufacturing Company in Somersville, Connecticut, ca. 1950s

Advertisement for woollens made by the Somersville Manufacturing Company in Somersville, Connecticut, ca. 1950s

Last year Mr. Timothy R.E. Keeney, Rockwell’s great great-grandson, contacted Archives & Special Collections to discuss the donation of the company’s records, which were stored in his home in Somersville.  We found the records to be unique, accounting for the entire history of the company from its founding in 1979 to the point where it shut its doors in 1969.  The documents themselves were a treasure trove, ranging from administrative and financial files and volumes to marketing material, photographs and scrapbooks, detailing not only the life cycle of the company but also the Keeney family.  Mr. Keeney graciously gave us plenty of details about his family’s extensive and affectionate family; one fascinating aspect of the collection includes hundreds of letters written in the late 1930s and World War II years by his grandfather Leland Keeney to various members of the family.

The records are now open for research and the finding aid is available here: http://doddcenter.uconn.edu/asc/findaids/somersville/MSS20130030.html.  We welcome all interested researchers to explore the legacy of this important Connecticut business.

E. Ingraham Company and war work, part 2 — a source for classroom instruction

The blog post on November 14 showed a photograph and document from the E. Ingraham Company Records.  Here are two more documents and some more questions.

Telegram from the War Department, Hartford Ordinance District, to E. Ingraham Company of Bristol, Connecticut, December 13, 1944

Letter from E. Ingraham Company president to employees, December 15, 1944

What work is the company doing that is so important to the war effort? How has the E. Ingraham Company responded to the command from the government to step up production?  Do you think Edward and Dudley Ingraham were fair to not allow Christmas parties at the company during work time?

These primary sources conform to the Connecticut Social Studies Curriculum Framework for High School students, particularly Strand 1.2 — significant events in local and Connecticut history and their connections to United States history, grade level expectation 15 – describe how major events in U.S. history affected Connecticut citizens.

More information about the E. Ingraham Company can be found with the finding aid to the records at http://doddcenter.uconn.edu/findaids/Ingraham/MSS19800034.html

Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collections

Child labor laws and war work — a source for classroom instruction

Army/Navy E award presented to the E. Ingraham Company, June 16, 1944

The E. Ingraham Company of Bristol, Connecticut, was a maker of clocks and watches from its founding in 1831 by Elias Ingraham, to its demise in 1967.  It was run by descendents of Elias Ingraham for all but the last 15 years of its existence.

Letter to E. Ingraham Company from the U.S. Department of Labor, 1944

Use this photograph and the letter to create a narrative of what was happening at the E. Ingraham Company, and in the United States, at the time.  Some questions to ask include:

What was happening in the country in 1944?  What conditions would have necessitated the need for hiring girls at the company?  What kind of work were the workers doing that was so important to the government? 

More information and some more documents will come in a couple of days.  For now, use the documents, and your own knowledge of the circumstances of the time, to describe what is happening.  Let us know what you think by leaving us a comment!

Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collections