Betsy Pittman

About Betsy Pittman

University Archivist at UConn since 1997, Betsy is also responsible for the political, public polling, nursing and Connecticut History collections.

Connecticut History

Connecticut History Online

Connecticut History Online

Launched in 2001, Connecticut History Online has grown in thirteen years and has now evolved into Connecticut History Illustrated (CHI).    CHI is an aggregation of digital primary resources about Connecticut contributed by Libraries, Archives, Museums, Galleries, Historical Societies, and other Cultural Heritage institutions in Connecticut. It contains material as varied as the history of the state, from documents to images, from maps to audio and video covering the entire spectrum of work, play, and life in Connecticut.

CHI currently contains content from three of the original CHO partners (UConn, Connecticut State Library and the Connecticut Historical Society) and migration continues while new partners (Trinity College and Fairfield Museum and History Center) have expanded the content available for research and discovery.  New content and partners are being added regularly

University Resources

University of Connecticut Bulletin

University of Connecticut Bulletin

Archives & Special Collections has been enhancing access to key University resources for several years.  The agendas  and minutes of the Board of Trustees were the first to be made available online, quickly followed by the fact books and Commencement programs.  With the implementation of our digital repository a year ago, the Libraries’ digital capture lab has worked tirelessly to digitize the Bulletin (course catalog), a frequently consulted and authoritative record of courses offered at the University over the years.  As of today, the course listings at the graduate (1942-2010) and undergraduate (1950-1997) level, as well as the School of Social Work catalog  (1976-1984), are available and searchable online–with more being added regularly.   Check back regularly to see what additional resources have been added!

2014 Reunion of the sisters of Delta Pi

Birth of Delta Pi, November 1955

Birth of Delta Pi, November 1955

On July 26, 2014 the sisters of Delta Pi returned to Storrs to visit, reminisce, share stories and remember those who have passed.  In addition to the stories and tours of campus and the Storrs surroundings, a number of the sisters brought with them momentos, photographs, banners, beanies, clippings, notes, patches and other bits of Delta Pi history.  Many of these items have been donated to the University Memorabilia Collection in the University Archives, where they are now securely preserved and available for the future.  In this regard, Delta Pi is now one of the best documented student organizations in the Archives.  Congratulations to the sisters of Delta Pi!


Crowded reunion at the Nathan Hale, July 26, 2014

Crowded reunion at the Nathan Hale, July 26, 2014

Founding sisters

Founding sisters

Welcome to the sisters of Delta Pi

On Saturday July 26, 2014, the sisters of Delta Pi will be gathering for a reunion in Storrs. In addition to sharing stories of experiences since leaving UConn, the sisters have gathered documentation of the sorority and its activities over the years to add to the four scrapbooks, which will be available for viewing during the reunion, currently held in the University Archives.

The University Archives is interested in documenting student activities and organizations at the University.  Anyone interested in donating materials should contact the University Archivist, Betsy Pittman (

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.



What’s in a Name?

A new exhibit opened this week in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.  Drawn primarily from the University of Connecticut Memorabilia Collection housed in Archives & Special Collections, the exhibition highlights the variety of avenues by which the University of Connecticut has represented and identified since is establishment in 1881.  Past logos, letterhead and mascots are represented on pins, buttons, patches, clothing, documents and other materials.  Check out the Husky Hoops game or work on the UConn football puzzle.  A film series of recently digitized historic film is to be scheduled for lunch time viewing on selected Fridays throughout the summer (schedule to be announced soon).  The exhibit is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 – 4:30 in the Dodd Center Gallery through September 26, 2014. 

Articles providing some background about the institution’s colors (and shades of colors), mascot, and memories are available online ( and in the binder located in the Gallery.

An End and a new Beginning

Graduation marks the culmination of years of study, struggle, achievement, disappointment and celebration.  It is the end of the college years and the beginning of something exciting, new and different.  This weekend the University of Connecticut will honor thousands of students for their accomplishments in multiple ceremonies filled with tradition.

Congratulations to the 2014 graduates of the University of Connecticut as you follow in the steps of those who have gone before.

Best wishes in your next adventure from the staff of Archives & Special Collections.

Spring Sports at UConn

In April 1934, Connecticut State College hosted the national archery tournament and archers from all over the country battled it out on the athletic fields.   Over time the campus grew and the athletic fields gave way to construction (Babbidge Library, Dodd Research Center, ITE, School of Business and Connecticut Commons) but the long tradition of archery remains.


Eighty years later in April 2014, on the Depot Campus of UConn, the UConn Archery team hosted the Eastern Regional Intercollegiate Archery Championships.  At least two UConn archers qualified to move on to the US Intercollegiate Archery Championship which will be held 15-18 May 2014 in Long Beach, California.

Congratulations and best wishes to our Husky Archers as they move on to the national competition!



An exciting Spring…62 years ago

Early Spring in northeastern Connecticut can be a time of the unexpected.  Ice, snow, fog, rain, warm breezes and sunshine mark the changing weather patterns; students are preparing for midterm examinations and anticipating spring break, and sixty-two years ago a new organization began.   On March 25, 1952, the Archons were established as the Senior Honorary Society for Men on the UConn campus.  The creation of the organization is described in the 1952 Nutmeg as “hasty and sensational due to the excitement which witnessed the exile of the Druids as a campus organization”.  The members were active leaders on campus until 1970 when the organization dissolved.  More about the Archons and their predecessors can be found in Mark Roy’s 2005 Piece of UConn History article.

The Archons, 1952

The Archons, 1952

Pictured above are the inaugural members of the Archons.

First row: Robert McLeod, Peter Brodigan, Don Ruck (President).

Second row: Robert Miller, Joseph Tooher and Paul Veillette (Secretary)

Congratulations to the 2013 National Champions…

from those who played before.  The University of Connecticut field hockey team defeated Duke by a score of 2-0 to earn the program’s third National Championship at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.  The program also won championships in 1981 and 1985.  Women’s athletic teams in the early years of the institution established the foundation  on which today’s champions have continued to build.  Congratulations to all and Go Huskies!

Winter Wonderland

Winter in Storrs can be quiet and tempestuous, sparkling and drab, fun and dangerous, in turn or all at once.  In all its phases, winter has a beauty all its own, despite the many inconveniences it may bring.  Images from the University Photograph Collection illustrate Winter in Storrs in all its glory.


A hearty welcome to Coach Diaco…

…from the football coaches of 1934!

Football coaching staff, 1934

Football coaching staff, 1934

In 1934, Connecticut State College welcomed J. O. Christian as the new football coach.  The team was small and it’s record unremarkable.  The Nutmeg [yearbook] saw hope for for the struggling team and its new coach which saw a string of losses but still fighting to win with no serious injuries.  The season ended with only one win (against Coast Guard) and the now infamous ram-napping of the Rhody Ram (URI mascot)!  Although unidentified in the photograph, the Nutmeg identifies four coaches and a manager in the team photograph–Coaches Fisher, Christian, Moore, and Heldman and Manager Gilman can be seen on page 190 of the 1935 issue of the Nutmeg (