Historic University Films

Archives & Special Collections has recently enhanced access to historic University films through digitization.  In conjunction with the current exhibit, “What’s in a Name?” on display in the Dodd Center Gallery, AS&C is hosting a summer film series.  Selected films will be shown around a theme on Fridays from 12-1 in Room 162 of the Dodd Center.  So bring your lunch and share a brief moment of UConn’s past, memorialized on film!

6/20    Agriculture on Display

  • Title: Eastern States Expo (7m 47s) Film is from the Baby Beef Club auction at the Eastern States Exposition (The Big E) and was taken by Wilifred B. Young, former dean of Agriculture at Connecticut State College. The video begins with beeves being led in the Coliseum. Placards for several beeves are shown, including those for the Storrs, Connecticut 4-H members and the grand champion, reserve champion, highly commended and commended entrants. Placards include the name of the animal, the 4-H Club member who raised them, member’s hometown, beeve’s weight, and auction purchaser. Camera pans over the Connecticut Baby Beef Club’s “Home Grown Feed” exhibit and the fair’s “Buy Your Baby Beef” sign, dairy cows and seconds harness races
  • Title: Chopping 1 (3m 3s) Film documents a wood chopping contest hosted by the Hartford Farm Bureau. The winner recieves a cash prize and runner up participants are awarded new axe heads.
  • Title: Chopping 2 (3m 8s) Film documents a controlled burn demonstration and then cuts to a wood chopping competition in front of the Hawley Armory Building at the Connecticut Agricultural College.
  • Title: Field Day (7m36s) Film depicts a sheep shearing demonstration and competition, possibly the annual field day of the Connecticut Sheep Breeders Association at Avon Old Farms on May 2, 1936. Three methods of shearing are shown: hand shears, a hand crank sheep shearing machine, and a gas-powered, belt driven sheep shearing machine. The video also documents horse jumping. The film was most likely shot by Wilifred B. Young, then head of the sheep program for the Extension Service and faculty member at Connecticut State College.

7/11    Teaching the Land

  • Title: Logging in ME (19m12s) University of Connecticut students in the former town of Davidson, Maine at the location of the Summit Lumber Company. Film documents students involved in surveying, logging, recreation activities and life in camp.
  • Title: Felling Trees (7m5s) Film documents a method for felling trees. A direction cut is made and then a portion of the felling cut. The demonstrator then cuts a notch into the opposite side of the directional cut, inserts a jack and fells the tree using the jack. Film may have been made for classroom or Extension Service work.
  • Title: Tree Planting (10m 10s) Film provides instructions for the planting of conifer seedlings. Two steps are covered, planting seedlings as bunch to allow them to root, and then separating and planting individual seedlings. Camera pans over tools needed at start.
  • Title: Potato Field Tour ( 3m49s)

7/18    Diary of a Student Revolution

  • On-campus industrial recruiting of students at the University of Connecticut resulted in confrontation between student activists and the University president. Two camera crews worked independently to simultaneously show the philosophies and strategies of both sides during the conflict. The students attempt a peaceful protest against recruiters but are met by police who read the riot act and begin making arrests. Elsewhere the president is seen chatting about the action with fellow administrators. The question remains whether the administration’s repressive action in summoning force was an appropriate response to the peaceful demonstrations.

7/25    Yankee Conference Championship game at UConn, 1970

  • UConn vs. URI  (40min) 1970 Yankee Conference Championship between UConn and Rhode Island at Storrs. Final score UConn 35 Rhody 32. Playing for UConn is Doug Melody, Bob Staak, Bob Taylor and Ron Hrubala. Film includes footage of the cheerleaders, crowds, and Jonathan the husky.

8/1      Technology and the Farm

  • Title: Swamp Logging (10m23s) Film depicts the logging of virgin forests of Longleaf Pines throughout the Southeast United States. The exact site is most likely North Carolina or Florida. The Longleaf Pine was valued for lumber and for its resin, which was used in navy stores, and the production of turpentine and rosin. By the time of this film the Longleaf Pine had been almost entirely cleared from North America and replaced with faster growing varieties of pine. The footage includes examples of the use of a steam donkey, or steam driven winch, a geared steam locomotive, a steam skidder, and a variety of hand tools.
  • Title: Sawmill (10m 23s) Film depicts hardwood logging in Connecticut. Several students can be seen in the beginning of the footage measuring tree sizes and taking notes. Trees can be seen being loaded on to a horse-drawn sled.
  • Title: Potato Harvesting, Lee Farm (3m47s) Footage depicts potato harvesting demonstration at the farm of noted jurist Simon S. Cohen in Rockville, Connecticut. Potatoes are unearthed by a digging machine, collected in baskets, and then put in barrels which are picked up by men using small crane mounted to flatbed truck. The film cuts, possibly to Lee Farm, also to potato harvesting.
  • Title: Potato loading machine (3m49s) This short film contains footage of men harvesting potatoes, probably on Lee Farm. The harvester (digger) can be seen, which required twelve men to drive the tractor, sort, bag, and load potatoes on to a second truck. Researchers of the history of agricultural technology may be interested in this video. Albert E. Wilkinson served as the Extension Service’s vegetable gardening specialist as part of his duties in the Horticulture Department at the Connecticut Agricultural College at Storrs starting in 1930. Wilkinson shot over 1000 feet of film documenting vegetable growing and harvesting throughout the country to share with his classes and during community movie nights throughout the Extension Service Program.
  • Title: Machine Plowing (3m47s) Film depicts young men transplanting seedlings and several examples of machine farming at Lee Farm in Coventry, CT.



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